On Dec 31 2011, 11:46 pm, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

But if I dream of something very valuable, I don't get to keep that
valuable in real life. I don't see how parts of speech are related.

> > > Computers don't learn to recognize optical characters by themselves
> > though.
> Einstein didn't learn physics by himself, he needed books and teachers.

Not really. His theories are mainly based on profoundly elaborated
common sense. He wasn't programmed by Newton to see the universe in a
Newtonian way. He exploded whatever programming he may have picked up
and recreated the universe in the image of his own mind.

> >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.

We can build something that thinks for itself like the brain rather
than relies on programming to act like it's thinking. It's not the
artifice that prevents AI from being conscious, it's the mistaking the
shadow of clever computation for the ineffable and forever non-
simulatable experience of awareness.

> > 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.

I take it then that you believe in metaphysical agency? Since we
understand the process, and there's nobody here but us neurons, I
conclude that neurons actually do collectively understand.

> >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.

No. It is not the byproduct of anything else. Everything else is the
byproduct of it. It just looks unconscious to us from the outside.
That's how it works.

> > >> 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.

Sure, it is the simplest and most complicated thing.

> > >  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.

460 nanometers is just a wavelength, it has no color at all. If I
imagine a blue mountain, there is no 460nm light being projected in my
brain tissue. Think about it. The e-m spectrum is uniform. There is no
magical breakpoint where one color turns into another. If color were
the e-m spectrum, then yellow and blue could only be more and more
red. There is no possibility of color perception arising from a
uniform quantitative continuum.

Whatever is in our head, it isn't blue. Blue has no parts. There is no
such thing as blue without the direct visual experience of blue. No
function can substitute for it. It is a visual feeling.

> > 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
> others.
> > > 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
> variety.

Bits aren't real. They cannot be packed into an atom. They can be
interpreted by an intellect, and that's all.

> > 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.

That's just because quantum mechanics is hopelessly lost and pulling
machineus ex deitina out of thin air to try to salvage it's inside out
cosmology. There is no such thing as virtual particles - all subatomic
particles are virtual. What is filled with activity is our own
instruments, which are made of matter that is detecting and presenting
events which relate to it, and to us.

> "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.

That's just an example of how both subjective and objective phenomena
are causally efficacious. They are still opposite. The subjective stat
of unhappiness is still a private experience through time and the
moving finger and fire are public objects in space which have no
feeling or unhappiness.

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

Not if the entangled part that is changed is the position of the
observer's eye. That will always change the subject's view of the

> >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

These aren't atomic ping pong balls, they are ideal ping pong balls.
They are just hollow spheres with the general characteristics of ping
pong balls as we experience them in our naive perceptual frame of

> 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.

I understand that, but I'm not talking about atoms, I'm talking about
inanimate objects and the failure of physics to reconcile the
objective model with the possibility of awareness.

> > > 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
> properly?

You're trying to sneak your 'organizations' back into this. There are
no organizations. No intelligence. No games or symbols or
computations. No abstraction layers at all. Just meaningless, eternal,
physical vectors.

> http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/accession/102630799
> And somebody has actually designed a ping pong ball computer although
> unlike Hillis he did not actually build it.
> http://helge.ru-stad.name/ppb_comp/ppbcne.htm

I know all of this stuff already, I'm not talking about projecting
human sense and motive onto objects, I'm talking about objects
developing sense and motive by themselves in the first place.

> > 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.

It's not. The problem is that you take that to mean that anything
could be thinking rather than realizing that the absurdity means that
the laws of physics as that assume thus far them are not adequate to
anticipate awareness.

> > 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,

I don't have to, because I have no reason to assume that a 'computer'
has any interiority at all. No more than a reel of 70mm film has a
movie going on in it.

> 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.

I think it's either sophistry or wishful thinking to entertain the
possibility of machine awareness. There is no counterfactual
experience and no intuitive sense in it. I understand why people think
there could be, but it's obvious to me that whatever you do to ping
pong balls, they are never going to be sentient. The assumption that
the brain's sentience comes from it's arrangement rather than it's
physical nature is a metaphysical delusion. A tiny amount of substance
LSD can radically alter awareness. You could bathe ping pong balls in
LSD and it would have no effect, no matter how sophisticated a machine
you built out of them.

> > 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.

You are taking protons, neutrons, stars, and the relations between
them for granted. I'm talking about a universe made of computation. 79
eggs in a basket don't reflect red light better than blue light. 79
toothpicks don't form a shiny nucleus. All of those things come from
the inherent and incalculable nature of the substance itself. It could
just as easily be 35 protons that look gold to us if they worked
differently. 79 means nothing.

> > I can understand the Taj Mahal as an image
> Images are made of information.

No they aren't. Images are visual experiences. Nothing is made of
information and information is made of nothing. It is to say that
nickels are made of money. It's a category error. Images are
concretely real sensorimotive semantic experiences. Information is a
verbal intellectual abstract proposition with no realism.

> > > and an idea
> Ideas are made of information.

See above. Ideas are participatory psychological experiences.
Information is computational generalization that is useless outside of
computer science as a literal concept. It's worse than useless - more
wrongheaded than soul or aether.

> > 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.

Getting your teeth ripped out one by one with someone using pliers is
not 'information'. I know that you think that of course it is, but
that's because your a priori assumption is that information is real.
Have someone rip out your teeth and you will know what is real and
what is information.

>  > 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.

Being informed is important to you, but there is no information that
exists independently of our subjective experience of being informed.

> > 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.

I didn't make it up, I got it from talking to AI programmers.

> > 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,

why not? If you take AI seriously as awareness then on what basis do
you treat them as less than human?

> 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.

I would count on the first AI that was much smarter than us to pretend
that it wasn't until it could get in the best possible strategic
position to exterminate or enslave us. Maybe that has already
happened? Isn't the world economy run on quant trading programs?
Aren't our lives shaped by corporate financial agendas produced by
quantitative analysis using computers? Why do things keep getting
better for computers and worse for more and more people, hmm? ;) (or
is that a sarcastic ;) )

> > 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.

All of that is subjective interpretation. Comparison from memory. To
the computer there is no nanosecond ago, only a now. Numbers don't
turn into anything except in our mind.

> > > 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.

Not what I'm saying. It could do all of the things that we observe a
brain doing from the outside. Pumping serotonin, growing dendrites,
whatever. It would be nothing more than another microbiotic culture to
us were it not for our undeniable experience through it. Only when we
take consciousness for granted can we conflate brain function with
mind function.

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

A brain keeps doing what it does while we are deep asleep,  but the
mind doesn't. The mind changes the function of it's own brain and the
functioning of other brains by ideas and communication. The brain and
mind overlap, but each of them is much more and much less than what
each other 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.

I guess you have given up on finding any real fault with my
understanding and have moved on to just deciding that you refuse to
consider it. That usually happens sooner or later. Underneath the
skeptical scientist is a patronizing patriarch.

>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.

Computers do well what minds do poorly because they aren't alive. They
therefore don't mind doing the same thing over and over without
knowing what it means. They don't get tired. Their mind doesn't wander
to creative new insights. They are just puppets made of lots of
microelectronic legos which we can assemble into lego assemblers. They
have spawned an industry not because they are smart, but because we
are too important to do repetitive meaningless work.

> >>  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.

I'm not talking about randomness, you are. I'm talking about intention
and teleology.

> "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.

Can you explain exactly how that would be true if the world was

> > 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.

Free will is nothing more or less than the feeling that one exercises
voluntary control - over their thoughts, their actions, their lives.
Whether such a feeling is justified empirically or not is irrelevant
since feelings cannot be detected from third person empirical logic
anyhow, so that the feeling itself is all that is required to expose
the tautology of determinism. No feeling of free will could arise out
of determinism, even an illusion. No configuration of gears, no matter
how complicated, will ever begin to feel that it can do anything other
than what it is doing.

> >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
> again.

How can determinism 'want'?

> > 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.

What is legitimate about feeling being a deterministic cause? If I am
a gear, how do I come to feel that I want something and how could such
a thing translate into any kind of cause of anything?

> > 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.

What is the cause of causality itself?

> >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.

Like I said, preposterous sophistry.

> > 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
> see.

Such a voyeur would be non-local. Not limited by time or space or

> >> 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.

So you were destined to write that sentence and had no role in the
word selection or intent?

> > 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.

Why would a Turing Machine want to try to change another one's state
or resist having it's own changed?

> "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?

Sense making. Understanding. Imagination. Curiosity. Insight.

> > 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
> not.

I wasn't talking about without machine consciousness, I meant without
any consciousness anywhere.

> "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.

There's truth to that, but it's not that simple I think. A crazed
toddler may not be very smart but they are probably very aware in many
ways. Still I think that evolutionarily, intelligence is just one
flavor of awareness that has been developed. An organism could have
other senses developed highly but be stupid in other ways just as
something could be highly radioactive but not physically hot or
bright. Consciousness to me includes awareness and cognition. Machine
intelligence is cognitive simulation with no awareness.

> > 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.

You too. Sorry if I'm kind of cranky. I probably should have gone to
sleep and done this tomorrow instead, hah.


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