On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 02:16:06PM -0700, Jason wrote:
> 
> A common theme on the everything list is the idea of an Observer
> moment, which is a snapshot of an observer's mind in a point of time,
> or the smallest amount of time a single conscious moment can be
> experienced in.  However I think this overlooks the notion that
> information can be embedded across dimensions of both time and space.
> There are cases when information exists in space only, such as on a
> phonograph or CD, but there are also cases when information exists
> temporally, when the record is played the information is copied from a
> 3 dimensional space to the dimension of time.  Also consider data
> transmitted over the Internet, its information pattern exists in its
> entirety within a 4-dimensional block view of the universe.  Einstein
> showed how the distinction between the dimension of time and the
> dimensions of space are human imposed.
> 
> So if information patterns/structures can span distances of time and
> space, perhaps the concept of an Observer "Moment" isn't the way it
> should be thought of.  Perhaps we should think of it as an "Observer's
> Information Space".  The fact that the human brain is sees individual
> pictures flashed at 10-15 frames per second as motion, and the fact
> that we hear individual vibrations as sound if above 10-15 Hz may be
> ancillary evidence that the human brain's information space
> encompasses the past 0.1 seconds of sensory input in generating a
> model of the environment.
> 
> If we consider a computational view for consciousness, the "state" of
> the computation which might be represented as a single Planck Time in
> this universe likely doesn't contain all the information necessary to
> create an observer moment, rather it is processing of information over
> dimensions of space and time that build a minimal information pattern
> necessary for a conscious experience.  This reasoning implies that
> OM's can be different lengths of times for different observers, and no
> OM can be instantaneous.  Simpler brained organisms such as flies
> might have an OM that spans much less time than a human brian's OM.
> 
> Jason

An OM is a state of a machine. In as far as the machine is embedded
in space, the the OM is spread across space. Successive OMs involve
state change, ie must differ by at least a bit. Therefore, OMs must
also be extended in time by some finite amount, rather than be of
infinitesimal direction. Of course this finite amount of time will be
observer dependent, so it may well be that a fly's OM is of shorter
duration than a human's, if a fly is capable of OMs at all (have you
read my ant consciousness paper yet?).

One interesting aspect of all of this is what is the neurophysiological
trick used by the human brain to pull a distributed (in both space and
time) process into a single coherent here and now experienced by
consciousness. This was once used to argue for substance dualism, but
more recent people (eg Dennett) think that we're close to solving the
neurological mechanism involved.

Cheers

-- 

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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics                              
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]
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