On Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 11:55 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> a bar of gold discovered in a dream is not bankable when you wake up.

Sure, but that's because a gold bar is a noun and I'm talking about
adjectives, in fact one of the definitions of adjectives could be something
that IS bankable when you wake up.  I'm not talking about nouns, I'm
talking about adjectives, adjectives like the color gold, the number 79,
hard, shiny, and Craig Weinberg.

> > Computers don't learn to recognize optical characters by themselves
> though.

Einstein didn't learn physics by himself, he needed books and teachers.

>The brain does.

It's true that if there is going to be a AI then humans are going to have
to build it, that's why it's called ARTIFICIAL intelligence.

> An OCR program just translates one meaningless set of data into another.
> It has no understanding of the significance of the process.

A synapse just translates one meaningless set of data into another neuron.
A synapse has no understanding of the significance of the process.

>There is no plausible evolutionary purpose for subjective awareness.

I agree completely and yet subjective awareness exists nevertheless. Thus
unless the Theory of Evolution is wrong (and I don't think it is) then
subjective awareness MUST be a spandrel, consciousness MUST be a byproduct
of something else and the most likely candidate is intelligence.

> >> it's very hard to avoid concluding that Process X itself is not simple.
> > Not for me. What could be simpler than "I"? Qualia is much simpler than
> quanta

Regardless of whether that is true or not Process X must also produce
intelligence and that is the most complicated thing in the known universe.

> >  If it's complex then it can't be made of only one thing, it must be
>> made of parts.
> > No, it doesn't work like that. Blue or pain is not made of parts.

If you're talking about the qualia blue and not electromagnetic radiation
of a wavelength of 460 nanometers then blue is most certainly made of
parts, and a huge number of them too; I don't know how all those parts work
but I know where they are, inside your head.

> It is everything, anything, and nothing. That is all that can that can be
> without any external sense relations.It's not a 3D object topology. It's an
> experiential semantic fugue. It can sort of tie itself in knots and
> consider those knots information but it is not information itself. It is
> that which informs and is informed.  [...]  the simplest possible sub part
> is still a hologram of the entire cosmos. It's a sub self. Information
> processing is the opposite - it's all bottom up architecture with a binary
> bottom. Sensorimotive experience is subtractive, like the hues of the
> spectrum are extracted figuratively from whiteness.

I have nothing personally against avant-garde poetry but to tell you the
truth I really don't have a poetic mind, I'm more in tune with science and
mathematics so I probably shouldn't comment on the above and leave that to

> > Something primitive like an atom is still capable of many more
> participatory modes than just on or off.

Yes, and that means you can pack lots of bits of information into something
even as small as a atom, that would work great as a computer memory and is
yet another advantage electronic intelligence will have over the meat

> The way I think of it, it is possible that if you could destroy
> everything in the universe except a single atom, that atom would still
> contain the entire universe. It sounds cannabis inspired, I know, but I
> think that it works."

Actually that is not an entirely crazy idea, and maybe just maybe you
wouldn't even need that single atom, according to quantum mechanics a
vacuum is not entirely empty but is filled with virtual particles.

"You just have to understand that subjective phenomena is opposite to
> objective phenomena in every way. "

Not in every way, your subjective self can cause your objective finger to
move and moving your objective finger into a fire can cause your subjective
state to become unhappy.

>you can have as many miniature reflections of the sun that you want just
> by breaking a mirror into
> more pieces in the sunlight.


> >This is how quantum entanglement works too btw.

No. Changing one macroscopic mirror will not effect the others, but if they
were quantum entangled then if you turn just one of those millions of
mirrors away from the sun then none of them reflect the sun anymore. There
just aren't any good macroscopic analogies for what happens at the quantum
level, it doesn't make any sense but it happens nevertheless.

>No, you and your organizing and your 'right ways' can't exist in the
> thought experiment. You just have one septillion ping pong balls by
> themselves and eternity and that's it.

Eternity? Not just an astronomically long time but a INFINITE number of
years? Well you've made the task easy, in that time the atoms in the ping
pong balls will evaporate and reform by pure chance into you, me, a duck, a
umbrella, anything you care to name. Infinite does not mean very very large
and is in fact a completely different concept and a hundred thousand
million billion trillion is no closer to infinity than the number 1 is.

> > How could the ping pong balls make anything except random collisions?

Danny Hillis is a professional computer designer, for fun in his spare time
he made a mechanical computer out of Tinkertoys that could play a perfect
game of tic-tac-toe.  If you can do it with Tinkertoys why not beer
cans or ping
pong balls or neurons or microchips or anything if it was organized


And somebody has actually designed a ping pong ball computer although
unlike Hillis he did not actually build it.


> It's weird that a bunch of ping pong balls could potentially be conscious
> because it isn't possible. It doesn't make sense. It's a reductio ad
> absurdum of machinemorphism.

Before you use a reductio ad absurdum proof you'd better be certain that
the results are logically contradictory and not just odd. I see no reason
to believe that thinking goo is fundamentally less contradictory than
thinking balls.

> The brain is only 3 pounds of grey goo on the outside. It's how it looks
> to our naked eyeball. When we look through more powerful lens it looks more
> interesting, but still nowhere near as interesting as it looks from the
> inside.

But you don't know what the subjective experience of a ping pong ball
computer is from the inside, you don't even know what it's like to be me
and we're of the same species. At least I assume we are, I assume (but can
not prove) that you're not a experimental AI allowed to interact on the net
to see how you react.

> My point is that there is nothing golden about the number 79 to cause
> atoms to generate the quality of gold based upon their computational
> identity alone.

Actually there is. Through Quantum Mechanical calculations even if you'd
never seen gold you could determine that a nucleus with 79 protons and 118
neutrons is going to be made in large stars, and you can calculate that the
nucleus is going to be stable so you'll still be able to see it today even
if it was made billions of years ago. You can also find from calculations
that when 79 electrons join the nucleus forming a atom the resulting
material is going to be shiny and be a good conductor of electricity. You
can even calculate that it will reflect red light better than blue light
hence its golden color, so I would say there is indeed something golden
about the number 79.

> I can understand the Taj Mahal as an image

Images are made of information.

> > and an idea

Ideas are made of information.

> It need not be a literal physical structure to be understood

It cannot be a literal physical structure because information is the only
thing that can be understood.

 > I'm not saying that bricks don't exist, I'm just saying that their
> existence is not significant to the identity of the Taj Mahal.

In other words information about things other than bricks is more important
if you're interested in the Taj Mahal.

> We don't need to care about awareness for AGI

I hate that term, I always think of the American Gunsmithing Institute or
Adjusted Gross Income, and so does Google.

> A lack of consciousness is exactly what you need for systems like that,
> otherwise it would be immoral to enslave them.

It doesn't matter if we think it's moral to enslave a AI or not, of far
greater importance is whether the AI thinks it's moral to enslave us or
not. Probably it would consider humans more trouble than they're worth.

> If you were the way that atoms behave in a Johnkclarkian sort of way,
> then you would not need a
> name.

Other adjectives have names why not me?

> Your life would be interchangeable and generic.

Yes, that is a completely logical deduction. Right now there is only one
chunk of matter in the universe that behaves in a Johnkclarkian sort of way
but the laws of physics do not demand that always be the case. If there
were other such chunks then obviously I would no longer be unique and then,
yes, I would be interchangeable and even generic if there were enough of
those Johnkclarkian chunks.

> Nothing can be turned into anything literally.

Nonsense, hydrogen can literally be turned into gold and numbers into
pictures, what you're looking at right now is a number, or at least it was
a nanosecond ago before it was turned into something else by your computer.

> > If a brain weren't the critical organ of human life, it would just be an
> interesting sponge, even with it's trillion synapses. No more interesting
> than a bag of dirt teeming with organisms or a dead moon
> full of interesting geology.

So if a brain didn't work then..., ah, ... it wouldn't work. OK no argument.

> > Brain needs mind to matter

Racing car needs fast to matter. Mind is just what a brain does.

> A computer never does the exact same thing as a human does. It just does
> things that seem to us that way when we program them to simulate our own
> expectations.

Please don't give me any more of that silly computers aren't "really"
intelligent stuff, I'm not buying it. If computers couldn't do many of the
things our minds do and do many of them better then the machines wouldn't
have spawned a multitrillion dollar industry.

>>  I still don't understand what exactly "the point" is that you're so
>> worried about, but whatever it is would a universe where some events have
>> no cause and things can happen for no reason ease your fears over this
>> "point"?
> > So you are admitting that it makes no sense for there to be a such thing
> as opinion in a deterministic universe

I'm admitting nothing of the sort. I'm saying I still don't know what your
talking about but presumably you do, so whatever it is about determinism
that's got you so worried I'm asking you how randomness will make this
concern go away.

"The capacity to direct your body to make changes to the world around it
> intentionally and to feel
> satisfied with the results."

Fine, I can do that, not as often as I'd like but I can do that; and that
would be true if the world was deterministic and it would be true if it
were not.

> Without free will, this conversation could not exist.

First explain to me what the noise "free will" is supposed to mean, and
after that we can debate if human beings have this property or not.

>I am choosing these words and you are choosing to read them.

And the reason I'm reading this is that I want to, and determinism wins

> we do X rather than Y because we FEEL that there is a reason.

The feeling of a reason is a perfectly legitimate cause, the reason you did
it is that you wanted to, and determinism wins again.

> There need not be any rational reason for our behavior.

Absolutely true, but rational or not there is always a cause, unless of
course it's random. I did it because 2+2=3, or rather I did it because I
thought 2+2=3.

>Free will is the single most obvious feature of existence for all 7
> billion people who are alive.

And a large fraction of them do insist on making that annoying "free will"
noise with their mouth from time to time.

>I t is preposterous sophistry to convince yourself - to choose freely of
> your own free will that you have no free will.

Not true, I don't say we have no free will, that would be a silly thing to
say, it would be like saying we have no klognee. I try to avoid talking
gibberish if I can help it.

> It requires a universe as seen by an immaculate hyper-transparent voyeur.

Even a immaculate hyper-transparent voyeur in a 100% deterministic universe
could not always know what you or I are going to do next, there is no
shortcut so he'd just have to watch us and see what we do; and often that's
the only way we ourselves have of knowing what we are going to do, wait and

>> I see, so its not cause and effect and its not not cause and effect, so
> there is only one possibility remaining, it must be gibberish.
> > Is that sentence cause and effect, random, or gibberish? Pick one.
Cause and effect.

> It would not be possible for either of us to convince the other of
> anything if we were deterministic.

Input can change the state of a Turing Machine and they're deterministic
and as a good Turing Machine you're trying to change my state and I'm
trying to change yours, and so far neither of us is having much luck.

"The part where you admit that if you thought you were the only conscious
> person on the planet you couldn't function is the important part. It seems
> important to function, don't you think."

Very important yes, in fact subjectivity is the most important thing in the
universe, or at least it is in my opinion.

" Might not there be some significant truth in any fiction or inference
> which disables completely if you were you to act on your disbelief in it?

I never said consciousness didn't exist and in fact I am more certain of
its existence than I am certain about anything else.

>You define intelligence as puzzle solving

Do you have a better definition?

> solving which would be meaningless without consciousness

Not meaningless to me. If a computer tells me how to solve a puzzle then I
know how to solve it and it doesn't matter if the machine is conscious or

"and then claim that consciousness must not be very good if it can't beat a
> puzzle solving electronic cuckoo clock at cuckoo clock puzzles."

I never said that! I said that if you are very smart then you are almost
certainly conscious, but something could be conscious as hell and still be
dumb as dog shit and be unable to pour the water out of a boot if the
instructions were printed on the heel.

> Speech synthesis is no more convincing than it was in 1982.

Speech synthesis on my Mac is a little better than the state of the art in
1982, but I know what you mean and there is some truth in what you say. I
suppose it's a question of effort, there isn't a lot of money in speech
synthesis so few spend much time on it, but there is money in speech
recognition, that is probably why there has been enormous progress in it
even though it's a harder problem than speech synthesis.

Happy New Year.

  John K Clark


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to