On 15 Jun 2011, at 21:20, benjayk wrote:
Bruno Marchal wrote:
What could "maximally conscious" mean? My intuition says quite
consciousness is a dynamic open-ended process and that there is no
thing as maximally conscious (exept maybe in the trivial sense of
I think that comp might imply that simple virgin (non programmed)
universal (and immaterial) machine are already conscious. Perhaps
conscious at all").
I tend to think that consciousness is the same for all conscious
being, except that prejudices coming from competence can make it more
sleepy. So, paradoxically, consciousness might be maximal in the case
of absence of knowledge and beliefs.
I can't even conceive what this could be like.
Well, some drugs can help with that respect. Some thought experiences
also, but they are not of the type I have allowed in publications,
because they need you to imagine some amnesia, or coming back to the
state of a baby. It is not easy.
Bruno Marchal wrote:
Why do you think it could be a delusion? This would be a bit
buddhism. For me it sounds like quite a terrible thought. After all
mean all progress is in a way illusory and maybe not even desirable,
I really wish (and pragmatically believe) that eternal progress is
that can fullfill our ideals of truth, conscious insight and
Then adding induction gives them Löbianity, and
this makes them self-conscious (which might already be a delusion of
I am no more sure on this. I can understand the appeal of the idea of
progress, but progress might just make pain more painful, frustation
more frustrating, etc. Truth is simply not fulfillable, and happiness
is more in equilibrium and balances than in the pursuit of bigger
satisfaction. But then comp might be wrong, and I might miss the
point. But, yes, comp leads close to buddhism, and to ethical
Bruno Marchal wrote:
I oppose intelligence/consciousness and competence/
ingenuity. The first is needed to develop the later, but the later
a negative feedback on the first.
Can you explain this?
It seems to me that there is no clear line between intelligence and
competence and that some kind of competences (like aligning yourself
the beliefs of society) can limit intelligence, but some help to
more intelligence (like doing science).
Let me remind you my smallest theory of Intelligence/consciousness. I
have already given years ago, and also recently on the FOR list, I
A machine is intelligent if and only if it is not stupid.
A machine is stupid when one of the following clause is satisfied:
- the machine believes that she is intelligent
- the machine believes that she is stupid
Now that theory admits a transparent arithmetical interpretation.
Replace "intelligent" by consistent (Dt), and stupid by not consistent
(~Dt, that is Bf). Then the theory is just Gödel's second
incompleteness theorem, and is a sub-theory of G* (BDt -> Bf).
An obvious defect of that theory is that it makes pebbles intelligent.
But then, why not? Who has ever heard a pebble saying that it is
intelligent, or stupid, or said any kind stupidities. Like with the
taoists, the wise person keep silent.
Concerning the learning competence of a machine, I measure it by the
classes of computable functions that the machine is able to identify
from finite samples of input-outputs. This leads to the "computational
learning theory" or "inductive inference" theory, which shows that the
possible competences form a complex lattice with a lot of incomparable
competences, and with a lot of necessarily non constructive gaps
existing among them.
Roughly speaking a machine becomes stupid when it confuses
intelligence and competence and begin to feel superior, or inferior,
and begin to lack some amount of respect for his living being fellows.
Some of those fellows can believe in the superiority of those
machines, and believe that they are inferior, and this leads to a
coupling of dominant/dominated, which unfortunately can be very stable
and profit to the emergence of new entities.
"Science" per se, does not lead to intelligence, as I think it is
sadly illustrated by those last centuries. Science can kill
intelligence, and science without intelligence can lead to hell,
especially if science is confused with a sort of theology, instead of
being used to genuinely tackle, interrogate, the (theological)
fundamental questions. Humans cannot yet accept their ignorance.
I have already argued that science, well understood, is born with
Pythagorus, and is ended with the apparition of the roman empire.
Fundamental questions are still complete taboo, for most scientists.
There is no question to rise any doubt on the theology of Aristotle.
Neither atheists nor Christians can accept that. Postmodernity exists
in occident since about 500 after JC, and should be called
obscurantism. Free thinking is a myth. You are not even burned alive
for your ideas, today, which is a mark of acknowledging the existence
of you and your ideas. Today, obscurantism has developed more
efficacious means. This results in an impoverishment of ideas, and in
powerful mediatic propaganda. A good example is the politics of health
and prohibition, which destroys lives and minds more efficaciously
than atomic bombs.
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