On 24 Jul 2010, at 23:02, Allen wrote:

On 7/23/2010 1:55 PM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
I think this has nothing to do with technology. It is just that consciousness is not related to the activity of the physical machine, but to the logic which makes the person supported by the computation integrating that information.

     Thank you for your reply.

You are welcome.




I mention technology because, as of now, we don't seem to have any conscious artifacts. Do you agree?


Yes I disagree. But this may be not important, especially at the beginning of the argument. I can argue that all universal purpose computer are conscious artifact. But I agree that they have no means to manifest their consciousness relatively to us. So it is only through theoretical computer science that you could eventually understand what I mean by that.
So I don't intend to insist on this point at all.



If so, what do we need to construct conscious artifacts?

We need only to open our own mind. It is difficult because we are ourselves not really programmed to do that. With this respect I think that the Greek theologians, and many mystics (from East and West), and perhaps Salvia divinorum smoker can get some glimpse of what it could mean to be conscious, yet completely disconnected from our fives senses, and from time and space. Some yogic introspection technic can also leads to such an understanding. Some sleep experience too. But I don't expect most people to get the point without much more theorizing.



If you don't agree, what has man constructed that is or may be conscious?

Any concrete or abstract Löbian machine or theory. Such entities can reflex themselves entirely. Those are universal machine (thus conscious, but once Löbian, I would say that they are as conscious as ourselves).




Or is my question nonsensical?

It is juts a very difficult question, where we are deluded, by years of evolution together with 1500 years of Aristotelian brainwashing. The subject is really taboo. You have to be able to doubt about physicalism or materialism. It is better if your doubt are based on logic and observation, so that you can share them with others.




In a sense it is just false to relate consciousness to any third person describable activity, and in fine, if we are machine, our consciousness, which is a first person notion, is related (not even defined by) all the possible computations going through the logical state of the machine. This entails that any machine looking at itself below its substitution level (the level at which it feels surviving an artificial digital substitution) will discover that the apparent material reality is multiple: matter relies on infinity of computations. This is retrospectively confirmed by quantum mechanics.

In fine, matter is a construction of the mind, in the case we are digital machine. The brain does not makes consciousness, it filters it from infinities of first person histories. Tononi is a bit naïve, like many, on the mind-body (consciousness-reality) relationship. The integration does not rely on what a machine do, but on what an infinity of possible machines can do, and how consistent environment reacts to what the machine (person) decides.
I don't want to ignore this portion, it's just more advanced than I am, I don't have a comfortable grasp on the concepts, so I can't make even an attempt at a response.

Your honesty honor you. Note that I was summing up many years of solitary work in a highly counterintuive field, so it is not astonishing you have difficulties. My fault. Sorry.


I want to ask a question about "The Origin of Physical Laws and Sensations". I don't understand it yet, I'll need to re-read the seventh step multiple times more before I figure it out comfortably. The fault is certainly my own ignorance, not your explanations. I'll be returning to it, and taking your advice on reading the List's archives.

As to my question: At the third step, you wrote "Giving that Moscow and Washington are permutable without any noticeable changes for the experiencer, it is reasonable to ascribe a probability of ½ to the event 'I will be in Moscow (resp. Washington).'" I don't understand the probability here. If I am duplicated, won't there just be two Allens, AllenM (for Moscow) and AllenW (Washington)?


To understand this it is useful to grasp the difference between third person description and first person description.

In those thought experiment some simple definition can be used (without preventing a more thorough treatment later).

Consider the self-duplication experiment. I suppose you have a diary, in which you write the result of some personal testing, like "where do I feel to be"?. So if you feel yourself to be in Brussels, you write "I am in Brussels" in your diary. An external observer can agree with you, here. Now you are scanned *together with your diary* (at the right substitution level, which exists by the digital mechanist hypothesis) and the (third person) digital information retrieved from the scanning is duplicated and sent respectively to Washington and Moscow. And in each city, your body, *including the diary*, is reconstituted. Now, the external observer can indeed say that you are both in Washington and Moscow. There are two Allens, indeed. But the AllenM will not write "I feel myself to be in two cities at once": he will write in his diary: "I look around and discover that I am in just one city (M), and I have only an intellectual belief that I have a doppelganger reconstituted in W, and, actually I cannot even know that "he" has been reconstituted". Similarly, the AllenW will write in his diary ""I look around and discover that I am in just one city (W). I have only an intellectual belief that I have a doppelganger reconstituted in M. Actually I cannot even know that he has been reconstituted".

None of them could have predicted in advance where they will feel to be. If you have predicted (in Brussels) that you will feel yourself to be in W, the one in M would have correctly thought "oh gosh, I was wrong".

The indeterminacy bears on the first person feeling, not on the third person description. There is nothing indeterminate in the third person description. yet the first person experience cannot be predicted with certainty. In this case, a symmetry argument can be used that there is as much chance to end up in W than in M (although this not necessary to get the last point of the reasoning).

Suppose you "both" come back in Brussels, and reiterate the experience again and again, 64 times to fix the thing. You will end up in, well many (2^64) exemplars, all with a description, in their respective diaries, similar to BWWWMMWMWMMMMW ... of length 64 (B is for I feel to be in Brussels, M is for I feel to be in W, and W is for I feel to be in W). A combinatorial argument can show that most will agree that they cannot predict where they will *feel* to be if they reiterate once again the experience.

Note that later, I drop out the idea that such an indeterminacy is really a probability. It is more a degree of plausibility or degree of belief (but I use probability to make it simple). What is important in the reasoning, is that whatever means you are using to quantify this *first person indeterminacy*, it will remain unchanged for a series of changes, like introducing delays for the reconstitution, or substituting a "real environment" (like the city of Moscow) by a sufficiently precise virtual environment, etc.





When a probability becomes involved, doesn't it seem like you're saying that there is an entity "I" who is the real Allen, and that "I" may be AllenM or AllenW, but "I" will not be the other one.

Not really. The point is just that one "I" will feel to be in one city, and the other will feel to be in the other city. On the contrary, such thought experience can help to understand that "I" is a relative concept. But we have to acknowledge that each person will continue to use the term "I", in a sense which gives meaning to the probability/credibility. The "I" will appears to be absolute from its own point of view, and relative, in any third person descriptioN. This will very well fit the mathematical treatment which follows.


The other one has some "other I". Am I misunderstanding, and - since it's very likely - to what extent? I don't believe in I's, I think, for lack of a better phrase, that consciousness is all one. How do you feel about this?

If you have grasped that consciousness is all one, I may have nothing more to explain to you. But by taking seriously both the existence of consciousness *and* the mechanist hypothesis, the idea that consciousness is one, can appear to be 99% describable in a theory which has observable consequences in physics, and so it can be tested. Usually "consciousness is one" is considered as a mystical insight. Here it is made into a theory with observable consequences in physics. Indeed, as confirmed by quantum mechanics, the theory predicts that we are already multiplied all the times and are following many differentiating paths at once, and that this is detectable if we look at ourselves below our computationalist level of substitution. Digital mechanism explains easily the qualitative quantum indeterminacy, quantum non locality, and even quantum non cloning of "matter". The math is needed to see how to extract the quantitative part of physics. Eventually the whole of physics is shown derivable from number theory, and the assumption (in the background) that I can survive a digital brain substitution. The theory of everything may be just elementary arithmetic (+ some "I am conscious", but this is not an hypothesis, it is an experience).



P.S. For anyone to answer: Is this acceptable to reply to three separate posts with three separate posts of my own, all within such a short time? I figured one would be quite lengthy, and maybe more confusing. So I split them into replies according to who I was replying to.

No problem at all. I hope I have been able to clarify a little bit. Don't hesitate to ask for further information.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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