On Dec 22, 11:21 pm, Joseph Knight <joseph.9...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Craig, no one would ever claim that the brain is a perfectly discrete
> system (at the neuronal level at least) such as the sort represented in
> Boolean models. But continuous neural networks can still be modeled (with
> varying degrees of error) by discrete ones, without much loss of insight.
> (Researchers study both continuous and discrete networks all the time!)

Where subjectivity is concerned, *all* insights are lost through such
a model. It is to model a TV show in terms of horizontal/vertical
synch computations on the screen and presume to understand comedy and

> Moreover, continuous functions can be represented in computers just like
> discrete ones can, without even using rational approximations. For example,
> sqrt(2) can be represented and manipulated as the number 2 with the square
> root operation next to it, and not just as 1.414 (say).

Only because we have a subjective understanding of the underlying
sense through which the two relate. If the computer could do that, we
wouldn't need to re-present it at all. If computers could do that we
wouldn't need programming languages, we could just dope the silicon to
understand English. Since we cannot do that, and in fact need many
levels of logical encoding and physical engineering to get from our
native expressions to anything which a computer can process as
instruction, it seems absurd to make any claims of equivalence between
semiconductor computation and biological awareness.

> You will soon learn not to take on faith everything you read in university
> press releases, which are not different in kind from fast food
> advertisements on TV :)

Sorry, but when people tell me what I will do or what I should do, it
just looks like an ego defense to me. Know what I'm saying, boss? Your
answer to this academic challenge to your computational assumptions is
'don't believe everything that you read'? It's fine to be skeptical,
but on what do you base your skepticism other than a general distrust
for university press releases?

> Also, modularity in this context does not refer to the discreteness of
> neuron states, or synapse firing, etc., it rather refers to the (not total,
> obviously) relative isolation of certain subsystems in performing certain
> tasks.

Right. I wasn't thinking of modularity in terms of neuron states. They
are talking about results being sent back and forth between different
regions of the brain, representing different threads/processes/
applications. I agree with their opinion that this metaphor for
consciousness fails, as the reality seems to be a symbiotic,
consensual dynamic reflecting biological continuity rather than
computational modularity.

If you are interested, take a look at my post debunking Dennett's
lecture: http://s33light.org/post/14618926856. It may explain my views


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