Hi all,
This is a response to all the vigor my comp/COMP decision has caused. First: Go Evgenii! That weirdest of weird substances, money, nothing more than a calibrated belief system in humans, gets us all in the end! You may be the only person in this list hooked into reality. :-)
==== back to issues.
We've all been through the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment. The recent questions raised in the discussion suggest to me that it may not be apparent to all that this experiment has actually been done. It's you. Me. Everyone. Already.

Our brains are suspended in a bath of cerebral spinal fluid. One of the layers between the brain meninges. If you mentally expanded then to vat-sizes and took the outer layers off...you have a brain in a vat.

We _are_ brains in a vat.

This means we are hooked into the external world in ways that are not present in the peripheral nerves. Looking at the (nerves pulses) signals, it is impossible to tell if they are vision, smell, touch or anything else. Those that think that a computer can add this extra bit of connectivity to the external world, believe in comp/COMP. When you replace the brain with a model of a brain using a computer, that "extra" bit, the connection with the outside world we get from our qualia,...the qualia created by the brain matter itself, is replaced by the qualia you get by 'being' the computer.

If you believe comp/COMP, then you believe that the computer's model -or - the computer hardware itself - somehow replaces the function of the qualia, by analysing the sensory signalling, which is fundamentally degenerately related to the external world. Only a human with qualia can, from sensory signals, provide any sort of model for our 'computer-in-a-vat' that might stand-in for an external world. Having done that, the world being explored by our computer-in-a-vat is the world of the human model generated from the sensory signals, not the world itself. When an encounter with the unknown happens, then the unknown will be chacterized by a human model's response to the unknown, not the (unknown) actual world. The extent to which these things are different is the key.

Neuroscience is beginning to progress from NCC (Neural correlates of consciousness) to EMCC (electromagnetic correlates of consciousness). Researchers are slowly discovering that certain aspects of cognition and behaviour correlate better with the LFP (local field potential/extracellular field) than mere action potentials.

If the EM fields are the difference, then in replacing the fields of the brain with the fields of the computer running a model...and your qualia/cognition go with it.

So when you think of the 'input/output' relations for a computer, the sensory signalling is only part of it. There is another complete set of 'input' relations, qualia, that together with the sensory signals, form our real connection to the outside world. So the old black-box replacement idea is right - but only if the black box has a whole other set of 'input' signals, from the qualia. The only way you can computationally replace these signals is to already know everything about the external world already. Your alternative? Keep the qualia in your 'black box'. To me that means generating the fields as well.

Don't get me wrong. Lots of really nifty AI can result from the 'computer-in-a-vat'. However, that's not what I am aiming at. I want AGI. G for General.

I am an engineer. Well not quite. I think I am some kind of neuroscientist now. Just handing my PhD in...I will build an AGI based on choices. My research suggests that replacing the fields, emulating the brain, is the way to go. That's why my PhD is all about how neurons originate the endogenous field system measured by scalp EEG/MEG. Having nutted it out, time to make hardware to do it.

Gotta go.

Colin Hales

Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
on 02.02.2011 11:00 Stathis Papaioannou said the following:
On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com>

I think it very likely that the brain can be so modeled.  But the
meaning that simulated brain, as expressed in it's output decisions
relative to inputs is dependent on the rest of the world, or at
least of it with which the brain will interact - including the past
evoutionary history which led up to the brain.  Its computations
have no canonical interpretation in themselves.

You can connect the simulated brain to transducers which convert
environmental inputs into electrical signals. But then, what would
happen if the same electrical signals were input from data on disk
rather than the environment? Would the brain's experience be
different? If so, how would it know where the data was coming from?

I believe that at this point the Chalmers' paper

David Chalmers, The Matrix as Metaphysics

could be useful. We can assume MAT or we can assume MEC, but this brings no changes in my personal life. I have to do the same things, for example I have to earn money to be able further to try to understand what comp is. If money are over than I am in trouble, either I am in the Matrix or not.



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