On Dec 28, 12:39 pm, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 28, 2011  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> "So will hallucinations, dreams, and delusions surprise you. That
> > doesn't make them real.
> it seems to me you're throwing around the word "real" with reckless
> abandon. Are you saying that hallucinations, dreams, and delusions don't
> exist? I for one am certain that they do exist.

They don't exist, they insist. Their realism supervenes upon the
interpretation of the subject so that they have no independent ex-
istence. If I hallucinate Fred Flintstone sitting in my kitchen, that
experience may be real for me, I'm not contesting that, but Fred
Flintstone himself has no reality in the context of my actual kitchen.

> "I think that view anthropomorphizes machines"
> Yes, certainly it anthropomorphizes machines, but you almost make that
> sound like a bad thing. Anthropomorphizing is a perfectly valid tool of
> thought, it helps us understand what our fellow creatures are likely to do
> next; like any tool it can be misused but I don't see why using it to
> understand a smart computers actions is misusing it.

It's fine to use it as long as you know that you don't lose sight of
the fact that it's figurative. There's no harm in anthropomorphizing a
stuffed animal or emoticon or whatever, but if you want to understand
consciousness or emotion and look to something inanimate, you'll be
fooling yourself into an epistemological loop. It is to look at the
word THANK YOU on the lid of a trash can in McDonalds and presuming
that the trash can is being polite. Computers can be thought of as
billions of little plastic THANK YOUs ornamenting the microelectronic
gears of a logical clock. Sentient beings are the exact opposite of
that. We can keep time and understand logic, but those things are
neither necessary nor sufficient to our animal awareness.

> "and mechanemorphizes consciousness."
> And that is a huge advance, consciousness is the way information feels like
> when it is being processed,

Information doesn't feel like anything. No more than fashion feels
like something when styles change. It's an inversion to consider
information genuinely real. Information is an epiphenomenon of that
which is informing and being informed.

> and there is probably not much more that can be
> said about the subject that is meaningful. On the other hand intelligence
> is enormously complex and there is much to learn, that's why consciousness
> research never goes anywhere but intelligence research is extremely
> fruitful.

Consciousness research doesn't go anywhere because it's being
approached in the wrong way - either as materialism or mechanism, but
it is neither and both. The study of consciousness is currently in a
pre-Copernican state and stands before science as a vast uncharted
hemisphere of the universe. I have no patience for arguments that lean
on the success of conventional wisdom to disqualify the opportunities
for discovery. That is the opposite of science.

> "Machines aren't surprised by anything because they aren't expecting
> > anything."
> I don't understand why so many people just assume that a machine might be
> intelligent but it could never be conscious, when its likely the exact
> opposite is true.

Whether or not a machine could be conscious is the wrong question to
ask. Every physical thing is 'conscious' to the extent that it has the
capacity to detect and respond to events on it's perceptual-
relativistic inertial frame. A machine isn't an actual thing, it's
just a design that we can use to embody our motive sense in any number
of physical forms and not at all in other physical forms (like vapor
or fluid). The computer isn't conscious at all as a whole, but through
the very limited 'consciousness' of each semiconductor, we are able to
project patterns which seem like other things to us, even conscious
things. They aren't literally conscious though.

> According to Evolution consciousness is easy to make but
> intelligence is hard; it took far longer to evolve one than the other. The
> parts of our brain responsible for the most intense emotions like pain fear
> anger and even love are many hundreds of millions of years old, but the
> parts responsible for higher intelligence of which we are so proud and
> which make our species unique are only about one million years old, perhaps
> less, perhaps much less. Consciousness is easy but intelligence is hard.

Intelligence can't evolve without consciousness. They aren't different
things, real intelligence is just a specialized sensorimotive
awareness. Simulated intelligence is theory being pursued through
inorganic mechanism.

> > "In a 100% deterministic universe there would be no purpose in our
> > caring[...]"
> That is self contradictory, caring is my purposing in doing things, I care
> that things are arranged in ways that I consider less than ideal and that
> is the reason I seek to do stuff and change things. And if the universe
> disagrees and insists I have no purpose, well, the universe has its opinion
> and I have mine.

Determinism cannot have opinions. What would be the point? Why should
you have any preference in how things are arranged if they have always
been and will always be arranged in the way that they are determined
to be?
> > "whether or not we knew what we were going to do next. What difference
> > would it make?"
> It would give us a feeling of freedom and if that feeling is important to
> you then it makes a difference.

That's circular reasoning. You can't justify the existence of feeling
or meaning by saying that meaning makes things feel meaningful.

> > "We would always just be doing what we are determined to do."
> Let's make the (incorrect) assumption that Newtonian physics rules the
> entire universe: If there is no shortcut, if the only way to know, even
> theoretically, what something is going to do next is to just watch it and
> see, is that really deterministic?

What does our ability to determine something personally have to do
with whether or not it something actually is deterministic?

> Such would be the case of a Turing
> Machine that is programed to look for an even number that is not the sum of
> two primes greater than 2 and then stop. There is no shortcut, if you want
> to know what the machine will do you just have to watch it and see.
> > "The literal reality of the machine begins and ends with
> > it's physical enactment - whether it's neurological, electronic
> > semiconductor, steam engine and gears, etc."
> Yes, and exactly the same is true for human beings.
> "What these things know and expect are presumably much different than our
> > projection of our own
> > knowledge and expectation on them."
> Why are our projections fundamentally different from computers? We both
> work the same way, the only difference is they use transistors and we use
> neurons.

Not at all. That's factually incorrect. The neuron doctrine is just
one model of consciousness, one which has failed to have any
explanatory power in reality. A human being doesn't use neurons, it is
the collective life experience of neurons. They are living organisms,
not machines.

> "I can't be exported to other matter though."
> That has been experimentally proven to be untrue. You are quite literally
> not the man you were one year ago, all your atoms have been changed.

Yet I am also the same man as I was when I was born in another sense.
It's not the literal sense that matters when we are talking about

> I can
> only conceive of 3 things existing in the universe, matter, energy, and
> information. Atoms are interchangeable, energy is generic, so it must be
> information that makes you be you.

Information doesn't exist. It's matter and energy that have a
proprietary, signifying interiority. They make sense together.

> "Organization by itself isn't real."
> As I said you're throwing around the word "real" with reckless abandon.

No, I'm being quite straightforward. It's the delusion that
information is literally real that is confusing things for you.

> "Adjectives are information and information can be processed. I'd even go
> >> so far as to say that although there are differences information is as
> >> close as you can get to the traditional concept of the soul and still
> >> remain within the scientific method."
> > "I used to see information that way, and it is true in a sense, but that
> > third person sense in which it can be true is incompatible with
> > subjectivity."
> It's true not only in the third person sense but the first person also, I
> see incompatible with subjectivity whatsoever.
> >   "Information is like soul only in that they are both mistakenly
> > conceived as a pseudosubstance."
> As I said information is as close as you can get to the traditional concept
> of the soul and still remain  within the scientific method. Consider the
> similarities:
> The soul is non material and so is information. It's difficult to pin down
> a unique physical location for the soul, and the same is true for
> information. The soul is the essential, must have, part of consciousness,
> exactly the same situation is true for information. The soul is immortal
> and so, potentially, is information.
> But there are also important differences:
> A soul is unique but information can be duplicated. The soul is and will
> always remain unfathomable, but information is understandable, in fact
> information is the ONLY thing that is understandable. Information
> unambiguously exists, I don't think anyone would deny that, but if the soul
> exists it will never be proven scientifically.

I do deny that. Information does not literally exist any more than the
soul does. It insists.

> > "The great truth of both soul and information is that they are the
> > perceptions and experiences of matter. Matter is ultimately not
> > information seemingly materialized, information an abstracted way of
> > modeling certain aspects of the energy"
> Energy is fungible and so are atoms, the things matter is composed of
> (atoms) are identical, they have no scratches on them, so if atoms have no
> individuality themselves I don't see how they can confer this interesting
> property to us.

Because we can only make sense of the exterior of atoms. What is
interesting about us is conferred by the cumulative entanglement of
the interior of atoms (and molecules, cells, bodies, etc).

>  "Mickey Mouse does not live in a Disney universe. He cannot have
> > adventures on his own.
> That's because computers are not yet powerful enough, but there is no
> reason to think that will always be the case. Mickey Mouse lives and so
> does Moore's Law!

I've been using computers through 30 years of Moore's law and I am not
impressed. What's on the screen looks prettier but the experience of
using them has not improved. To the contrary, for most people they are
mere portals for gossip, trivia, and porn now. Micky Mouse lives only

> " When I use my hand calculator I expect it to perform real arithmetic, I>> 
> don't even know what simulated arithmetic is."
> "You expect it to perform in a certain way and your expectations are
> > met. That is all that happens."
> Yes, I expect the calculator to perform real arithmetic and it does, I get
> the exact same result that I'd get if I asked a friend to perform the
> calculation for me, assuming he was good at real arithmetic. Unreal
> arithmetic is just bad arithmetic.

If you make a mistake though, your friend might catch it, but the
calculator cannot.

> "The calculator doesn't know anything about arithmetic, it's just a fancy
> > abacus that opens and closes microelectronic switches when your finger
> > triggers a button contact."
> A neuron doesn't know anything about arithmetic, it's just a fancy abacus
> that fires or doesn't fire neurotransmitter molecules across a synapse
> triggered by potassium and sodium ion concentrations.

You are looking at the exterior behavior of the neuron only. Our
entire lives are literally created through neurons and we know that
they are filled with human feeling and experiences so we need not
indulge in the sophistry that neurology isn't related to
consciousness. Since we can't say the same thing about a computer, we
can only go by the facts that computers don't seem to ever do anything
that suggests that they can feel or choose to do something beyond
their programming.

> "You are using a trivial concept of intelligence."
> I'm saying that something is intelligent if it acts intelligently; that
> statement is not very profound but it does at least have the virtue of
> being true.

It's not profound and it's not true. Any puppet can be made to 'act
intelligently' and any super intelligent entity can act stupidly.
Intelligence is not a behavior, it's a  elaboration of the capacity to
interpret sense and motive.

> "Real intelligence is the cognitive tip of the iceberg of a billion years
> > of sensorimotive evolution. It arises out of sensation, feeling,
> > perception, emotion, awareness, and identity. Simulated 'intelligence' is
> > the truncated tip of the iceberg with no semantic significance. It's a
> > facade. To believe that such a facade must be genuine is wishful thinking,
> > propped up by the tautological examination of its own methodology."
> All that can be summed up more concisely, if a human does it then its a
> wonderful example of intelligence but if a computer does the exact same
> thing it has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence.

What humans do is an example of human intelligence. What computers do
is an example of human intelligence at programming semiconductors. The
semiconductors know all about voltage and current but nothing about
the messages and pictures being traded through those systems.

> In 1960 solving
> complicated equations required intelligence but not today, in 1980 beating
> a Chess Grandmaster required intelligence but not today, in 1995 being a
> great research Librarian required intelligence but not today, and in 2010
> beating the two best Jeopardy champions on planet Earth required
> intelligence but not today. Computers are still not very good at image
> recognition so that requires intelligence but on the day they do become
> good at it the laws of the universe will change and image recognition will
> no longer require intelligence. Intelligence is whatever a computer isn't
> good at. Yet.

Computation is not intelligence. It's really just organized patience.
A computer doesn't look at a chess game and feel that it wants to win,
it just blasts out every possible permutation and selects the move
which satisfies the script it's executing. It doesn't care if it wins
or not or even know it's playing a game. The computer is an infinitely
patient and accurate moron with a well trained muscle instead of a

> > "Real intelligence is in the eye of the beholder"
> Real intelligence can behave in ways you don't like and were not expecting,
> real intelligence can outsmart you. You can say it was not really "real"
> intelligence if it makes you feel better, but it won't change the fact that
> you've been outsmarted.

When a computer kills its programmer intentionally, then and only then
will you will know it is intelligent.


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