On 1/27/2012 05:55, Craig Weinberg wrote:
On Jan 26, 9:32 pm, acw<a...@lavabit.com>  wrote:

There is nothing on the display except transitions of pixels. There is
nothing in the universe, except transitions of states

Only if you assume that our experience of the universe is not part of
the universe. If you understand that pixels are generated by equipment
we have designed specifically to generate optical perceptions for
ourselves, then it is no surprise that it exploits our visual
perception. To say that there is nothing in the universe except the
transitions of states is a generalization presumably based on quantum
theory, but there is nothing in quantum theory which explains how
states scale up qualitatively so it doesn't apply to anything except
quantum. If you're talking about 'states' in some other sense, then
it's not much more explanatory than saying there is nothing except for
things doing things.

I'm not entirely sure what your theory is, but if I had to make an initial guess (maybe wrong), it seems similar to some form of panpsychism directly over matter. Such theories are testable and falsifiable, although only in the 1p sense. A thing that should be worth keeping in mind is that whatever our experience is, it has to be consistent with our structure (or, if we admit, our computational equivalent) - it might be more than it, but it cannot be less than it. We wouldn't see in color if our eyes' photoreceptor cells didn't absorb overlapping ranges of light wavelengths and then processed it throughout the visual system (in some parts, in not-so-general ways, while in others, in more general ways). The structures that we are greatly limit the nature of our possible qualia. Your theory would have to at least take structural properties into account or likely risk being shown wrong in experiments that would be possible in the more distant future (of course, since all such experiments discuss the 1p, you can always reject them, because you can only vouch for your own 1p experiences and you seem to be inclined to disbelieve any computational equivalents merely on the ground that you refuse to assign qualia to abstract structures). As for 'the universe', in COMP - the universe is a matter of epistemology (machine's beliefs), and all that is, is just arithmetical truth reflecting on itself (so with a very relaxed definition of 'universe', there's really nothing that isn't part of it; but with the classical definition, it's not something ontologically primitive, but an emergent shared belief).

What I'm talking about is something different. We don't have to guess
what the pixels of Conway's game of life are doing because, we are the
ones who are displaying the game in an animated sequences. The game
could be displayed as a single pixel instead and be no different to
the computer.

I have no idea how a randomly chosen computation will evolve over time, except in cases where one carefully designed the computation to be very predictable, but even then we can be surprised. Your view of computation seems to be that it's just something people write to try to model some process or to achieve some particular behavior - that's the local engineer view. In practice computation is unpredictable, unless we can rigorously prove what it can do, and it's also trivially easy to make machines which we cannot know a damn thing about what they will do without running them for enough steps. After seeing how some computation behaves over time, we may form some beliefs about it by induction, but unless we can prove that it will only behave in some particular way, we can still be surprised by it. Computation can do a lot of things, and we should explore its limits and possibilities!

(unless a time
continuum (as in real numbers) is assumed, but that's a very strong
assumption). (One can also apply a form of MGA with this assumption
(+the digital subst. one) to show that consciousness has to be something
more "abstract" than merely matter.)

It doesn't change the fact that either a human or an AI capable of some
types of pattern recognition would form the internal beliefs that there
is a glider moving in a particular direction.

Yes, it does. A computer gets no benefit at all from seeing the pixels
arrayed in a matrix. It doesn't even need to run the game, it can just
load each frame of the game in memory and not have any 'internal
beliefs' about gliders moving.

Benefit? I only considered a form of narrow AI which is capable of recognizing patterns in its sense data without doing anything about them, but merely classifying it and possibly doing some inferences from them. Both of this is possible using various current AI research. However, if we're talking about "benefit" here, I invite you to think about what 'emotions', 'urges' and 'goals' are - we have a reward/emotional system and its behavior isn't undefined, it can be reasoned about, not only that, one can model structures like it computationally: imagine a virtual world with virtual physics with virtual entities living in it, some entities might be programmed to replicate themselves and acquire resources to do so or merely to survive, they might even have social interactions which result in various emotional responses within their virtual society. One of the best explanations for emotions that I've ever seen was given by a researcher that was trying to build such emotional machines, he did it by programming his agents with simpler urges and the emotions were an emergent property of the system:

regardless of how sensing (indirectly accessing data) is done, emergent
digital movement patterns would look like (continuous) movement to the

I don't think that sensing is indirect accessed data, data is
indirectly experienced sense. Data supervenes on sense, but not all
sense is data (you can have feelings that you don't understand or even
be sure that you have them).

It is indirect in the example that I gave because there is an objective state that we can compute, but none of the agents have any direct access to it - only to approximations of it - if the agent is external, he is limited to how he can access by the interface, if the agent is itself part of the structure, then the limitation lies within itself - sort of like how we are part of the environment and thus we cannot know exactly what the environment's granularity is (if one exists, and it's not a continuum or merely some sort of rational geometry or many other possibilities).

> I'm not sure why you say that continuous
> movement patterns emerge to the observer, that is factually incorrect.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akinetopsia
Most people tend to feel their conscious experience being continuous, regardless of if it really is so, we do however notice large discontinuities, like if we slept or got knocked out. Of course most bets are off if neuropsychological disorders are involved.

Also, it would not be very wise to assume humans are capable of sensing
such a magical continuum directly (even if it existed), the evidence
that says that humans' sense visual information through their eyes:

I don't think that what humans sense visually is information. It can
and does inform us but it is not information. Perception is primitive.
It's the sensorimotive view of electromagnetism. It is not a message
about an event, it is the event.

I'm not sure how to understand that. Try writing a paper on your theory and see if it's testable or verifiable in any way?

A small sidenote: a few years ago I've considered various consciousness theories and various possible ontologies. Some of them, especially some of the panpsychic kinds sure sound amazing and simple - they may even lead to some religious experiences in some, but if you think about what expectations to derive from them, or in general, what predictions or how to test them, they tend to either fall short or worse, lead to inconsistent beliefs when faced by even simple thought experiments (such as the Fading qualia one). COMP on the other hand, offers very solid testable predictions and doesn't fail most though experiments or observational data that you can put it through (at least so far). I wish other consciousness theories were as solid, understandable and testable as COMP.

a photon hits a photoreceptor cell, that *binary* piece of information
is transmitted through neurons connected to that cell and so on
throughout the visual system(...->V1->...->V4->IT->...) and eventually
up to the prefrontal cortex.

That's a 3p view. It doesn't explain the only important part -
perception itself. The prefrontal cortex is no more or less likely to
generate visual awareness than the retina cells or neurons or
molecules themselves.

In COMP, you can blame the whole system for the awareness, however you can blame the structure of the visual system for the way colors are differentiated - it places great constraints on what the color qualia can be - certainly not only black and white (given proper functioning/structure).

The 1p experience of vision is not dependent upon external photons (we
can dream and visualize) and it is not solipsistic either (our
perceptions of the world are generally reliable). If I had to make a
copy of the universe from scratch, I would need to know that what
vision is all about is feeling that you are looking out through your
eyes at a world of illuminated and illuminating objects. Vision is a
channel of sensitivity for the human being as a whole, and it has as
more to do with our psychological immersion in the narrative of our
biography than it does photons and microbiology. That biology,
chemistry, or physics does not explain this at all is not a small
problem, it is an enormous deal breaker.

You're right that our internal beliefs do affect how we perceive things. It's not biology's or chemistry's job to explain that to you. Emergent properties from the brain's structure should explain those parts to you. Cognitive sciences as well as some related fields do aim to solve such problems. It's like asking why an atom doesn't explain the computations involved in processing this email. Different emergent structures at different levels, sure one arises from the other, but in many cases, one level can be fully abstracted from the other level.

My solution is that both views are correct on their own terms in their
own sense and that we should not arbitrarily privilege one view over
the other. Our vision is human vision. It is based on retina vision,
which is based on cellular and molecular visual sense. It is not just
a mechanism which pushes information around from one place to another,
each place is a living organism which actively contributes to the top
level experience - it isn't a passive system.

Living organisms - replicators, are fine things, but I don't see why must one confuse replicators with perception. Perception can exist by itself merely on the virtue of passing information around and processing it. Replicators can also exist due similar reasons, but on a different level.

Neurons are also rather slow, they can only
spike about once per 5ms (~200Hz), although they rarely do so often.
(Note that I'm not saying that conscious experience is only the current
brain state in a single universe with only one timeline and nothing
more, in COMP, the (infinite amount of) counterfactuals are also
important, for example for selecting the next state, or for "splits" and

Yes, organisms are slower than electronic measuring instruments, but
it doesn't matter because our universe is not an electronic measuring
instrument. It makes sense to us just fine at it's native anthropic
rate of change (except for the technologies we have designed to defeat
that sense).
Sure, the speed is not the most important thing, except when it leads to us wanting some things to be faster and with our current biological bodies, we cannot make them go faster or slower, we can only build faster and faster devices, but we'll eventually hit the limit (we're nearly there already). With COMP, this is even a greater problem locally: if you get a digital brain (sometime in the not too near future), some neuromorphic hardware is predicted to be a few orders of magnitude faster(such as some 1000-4000 times our current rate), which would mean that if someone wanted to function at realtime speed, they might experience some insanely slow Internet speeds, for anything that isn't locally accessible (for example, between US and Europe or Asia), which mind lead to certain negative social effects (such as groups of SIMs(Substrate Independent Minds) that prefer running at realtime speed congregating and locally accessible hubs as opposed to the much slower Internet). However, such a problem is only locally relevant (here in this Universe, on this Earth), and is solvable if one is fine with slowing themselves down relatively to some other program, and a system can be designed which allows unbounded speedup (I did write more on this in my other thread).


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