On 25 Aug 2011, at 12:12, Alberto G.Corona wrote:

On Jul 5, 1:07 pm, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
On 05 Jul 2011, at 11:42, Alberto G.Corona wrote:

Are you sure you don't confuse consciousness and conscience. I think
that solitary primitive animals felt pain, and are thus consciouss
(although not necessarily self-conscious).

Hi again


Consicence may be a less sophisticated version of self-consciousness..
I think honestly that all attemps of explaining conscience in terms of
a certain degree of complexity or as a certain property of neurons or
tissues goes the wrong path.

I agree. Those are implementation. Conscience and consciousness are attribute of first person, soul; etc.

Broadly speaking, this is like a medieval
scientist trying to explain  a video game console in terms of the
complexity and colourfulness of the printed circuits. These views
ignores the work of the hardware designer that creates the machine and
the programmer that make the algorithms.

But little program with simple instruction (like help yourself) can go very far if you give them the time. We can already have "conversations" with simple introspective machine, albeit abstract and mathematical.

In living beings the work of the hardware designer and the programmer
are done by a guy called Natural Selection. and this guy builds things
for a purpose: Survival. What is conscience for? A self preserving
being  with a central nervous system (an animal) must stablish a clear
distinction between its body and the environment in order to preserve
itself.  If he do not know the status of each of its parts in relation
to the environment, he can not determine the priorities for self
preservation: does he must avoid a predator? does he must eat
something? etc. The effect of the activity set of all these central
nervous systems is the conscience in the most basic manifestation.

OK. The effect. Not the activity itself, but what the activity can represent.
Consciousness is belief in a reality.
The role of self-consciousness is self-acceleration with respect to that probable and possible reality.

No degree of "complexity" or neuronal-like machinery will manifest
conscience without the proper  algorithms (and the sensors-actuators
too). As Theodosius Dobzhansky said: Nothing in Biology (and i
suspect, nothing in anything) Makes Sense Except in the Light of

Evolution itself is a speeding up process. It build layers and layers of universal level, a process mimicked by life, and then by thought, and then by languages, and then (now) by machines.

Brain, computer, genome, universal machine, programming languages, what I call the universal numbers or machines (UMs) are basically dynamical mirror, and anticipator, and it allows and enlarge the spectrum of further explorations, it augment the relative degrees of freedom.

Evolution is driven by simple ideas, not unlike the Mandelbrot set. It is not just mutation and selection, it is also meta-level evolution and efficacious self-perturbation, and who knows, some reflexive layers. A four dimensional view of humanity illustrates humanity and life is a fractal. They are known to be locally rather complex, but generated by powerful little idea (like try to eat, to f. and avoid to be eaten).

The difference between natural and artificial is artificial. And thus natural when selves develop. Machines, from the stick of wood to the computers are natural extension of our life and thought and the evolution of thought.

The universal machine is a terrible child. It is the little God. The one you can give it a name, and then he got the ten thousand names (Java, c++, prolog, algol, cobol, LISP, game of life, modular functor of type 5, topological computer, ..., your brain, your cells, and many parts of the physical universe, apparently).

If you give to those UMs, the ability of mathematical induction, they seem to me as clever as you and me. They are just highly handicapped and disconnected relatively to our probable histories. But they universal incarnation is 50 years old, ours is billion of years old, yet, they develop very quickly. Computer science is mostly used to control them, not to let them controlling themselves, except timidly in AI research.

Complexity is not the answer to deep questions. It is the consequence of simple answer to deep questions.

Anyway, the comp consequences are independent of the substitution level chose. Physics has to be justified.



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