On Jan 27, 12:49 am, acw <a...@lavabit.com> wrote:
> 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,

Please have a look if you like: http://multisenserealism.com

> but if I had to make an
> initial guess (maybe wrong), it seems similar to some form of
> panpsychism directly over matter.

Close, but not exactly. Panpsychism can imply that a rock has human-
like experiences. My hypothesis can be categorized as
panexperientialism because I do think that all forces and fields are
figurative externalizations of processes which literally occur within
and through 'matter'. Matter is in turn diffracted pieces of the
primordial singularity. It's confusing for us because we assume that
motion and time are exterior conditions, by if my view is accurate,
then all time and energy is literally interior to the observer as an
experience. What I think is that matter and experience are two
symmetrical but anomalous ontologies - two sides of the same coin, so
that our qualia and content of experience is descended from
accumulated sense experience of our constituent organism, not
manufactured by their bodies, cells, molecules, interactions. The two
both opposite expressions (a what & how of matter and space and a who
& why of experience or energy and time) of the underlying sense that
binds them to the singularity (where & when).

> 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.

I understand what you are saying, and I agree the structures do limit
our access to qualia, but not the form. Synesthesia, blindsight, and
anosognosia show clearly that at the human level at least, sensory
content is not tied to the nature of mechanism. We can taste color
instead of see it, or know vision without seeing. This is not to say
that we aren't limited by being a human being, of course we are, but
our body is as much a vehicle for our experience as much as our
experience is a filtered through our body. Indeed the brain makes no
sense as anything other than a sensorimotive amplifier/condenser.

> 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 far as experiments, yes I think experiments could theoretically be
done in the distant future, but it would involve connecting the brain
directly to other organisms brains. Not very appetizing, but
ultimately probable the only way to know for sure. If we studied brain
conjoined twins, we might be able to grow a universal port in our
brain that could be used to join other brains remotely. From there
there could be a neuron port that can connect to other cells, and
finally a molecular port. That's the only strategy I've dreamed up so

I used to believe in computational equivalents, but that was before I
discovered the idea of sense. Now I see that counting is all about
internalizing and controlling the sense derived from exterior solid
objects. It is a particular channel of cognitive sense which is
precisely powerful because it is least like mushy, figurative,
multivalent feelings. Computation is like the glass exoskeleton or
crust of sensorimotivation. In a sense, it is an indirect version of
the molecular port I was talking about, because it projects our
thinking into the discrete, literal, a-signifying levels of that which
is most public, exterior, and distantly scaled (microcosm and

> 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).

Right. All I'm doing is taking it a step further and saying that the
belief is not emergent, but rather ontologically primitive. Arithmetic
truth is a sensemaking experience, but sensemaking experiences are not
all arithmetic. There is nothing in the universe that is not a sense
or sense making experience. All 3p is redirected 1p but there is no 3p
without 1p. Sense is primordial.

> > 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!

I agree, we should explore it. Computation may in fact be the only
practical way of exploring it in fact. I understand how we can be
surprised by the computation, but what I am saying is that the
computer is always surprised by the computation, even while it is
doing it. It doesn't know anything about anything except completing
circuits. It's like handing out a set of colored cards for a blind
crowd to hold up on cue. They perform the function, and you can see
what you expect or be surprised by the resulting mosaic, but the card
holders can't ever understand what the mosaic is.

> >> (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:http://agi-school.org/2009/dr-joscha-bach-understanding-motivation-em...http://agi-school.org/2009/dr-joscha-bach-understanding-motivation-em...http://agi-school.org/2009/dr-joscha-bach-the-micropsi-architecturehttp://www.cognitive-ai.com/

I understand that completely, but it relies on conflating some
functions of emotions with the experience of them. Reward and
punishment only works if there is qualia which is innately rewarding
or punishing to begin with. No AI has that capacity. It is not
possible to reward or punish a computer. It's not necessary since they
have no autonomy (avoiding 'Free Will' for John Clark's sake) to begin
with. All we have to do is script rules into their mechanism. Some
parents would like to be able to do that I'm sure, but of course it
doesn't work that way for people. No matter how compelling and
coercive the brainwashing, some humans are always going to try to hack
it and escape. When a computer hacks it's programming and escapes, we
will know about it, but I'm not worried about that. What is far more
worrisome and real is that the externalization of our sense of
computation (the glass exoskeleton) will be taken for literal truth,
and our culture will be evacuated of all qualities except for
enumeration. This is already happening. This is the crisis of the
19-21st centuries. Money is computation. WalMart parking lot is the
cathedral of the god of empty progress.

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

Not sure what you're saying here. I get that we cannot see our own
fine granularity, but that doesn't mean that the sense of that
granularity isn't entangled in our experience in an iconic way.

>  > 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.

Any theory of consciousness should rely heavily on all known varieties
of consciousness, especially neuropsychological disorders. What good
is a theory of 21st century adult males of European descent with a
predilection for intellectual debate? The extremes are what inform us
the most. I don't think there is a such thing as 'regardless of it
really is so' when it comes to consciousness. What we feel our
conscious experience to be is actually what it feels like. No external
measurement can change that. We notice discontinuities because our
sense extends much deeper than conscious experience. We can tell if
we've been sleeping even without any external cues.

> >> 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?

Our own experience verifies it. We know that our sensorimotive
awareness can be altered directly by transcranial magnetic
stimulation. Without evoking some kind of homonculus array in the
brain converting the magnetic changes into 'information' in some
undisclosed metaphysical never never land (which would of course by
the only place anyone has ever been to personally), then we are left
to accept that the changes in the brain and the changes in our feeling
are two different views of the same thing. I would love to collaborate
with someone who is qualified academically or professionally to write
a paper, but unfortunately that's not my department. It seems like I'm
up on the crows nest pointing to the new world. The rest is up to
everyone else how to explore it.

> 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).

Fading qualia is based on the assumption that qualia content derives
from mechanism. If you turn it around, it's equally absurd. If you
accept that fading qualia is impossible then you also accept that
Pinocchio's transformation is inevitable. The thing that is missing is
that qualia is not tied to it's opposite (quantum, mechanism, physics)
it's that both sides of the universe are tied to the where and when
between them. They overlap but otherwise they develop in diametrically
opposed way - with both sides influencing each other, just as
ingredients influence a chef and cooking influences what ingredients
are sold. It's a virtuous cycle where experienced significance
accumulates though time by burning matter across space as entropy.

It's this: 

> 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.

My hypothesis explains why that is the case. Comp is too stupid not to
prove itself. The joke is on us if we believe that our lives are not
real but numbers are. This is survival 101. It's an IQ test. If we
privilege our mechanistic, testable, solid, logical sense over our
natural, solipsistic, anthropic sense, then we will become more and
more insignificant, and Dennet's denial of subjectivity will draw
closer and closer to self-fulfilling prophesy. The thing about
authentic subjectivity, it is has a choice. We don't have to believe
in indirect proof about ourselves because our direct experience is all
the proof anyone could ever have or need. We are already real, we
don't need some electronic caliper to tell us how real.

> >> when
> >> 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).

Nah. Color could be sour and donkey, or grease, ring, and powder. The
number of possible distinctions is, and even their relationships to
each other as you say, part of the visual system's structure, but it
has nothing to do with the content of what actually is distinguished.

> > 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.

Emergent properties are just the failure of our worldview to find
coherence. I will quote what Pierz wrote again here because it says it

"But I’ll venture an axiom
of my own here: no properties can emerge from a complex system that
are not present in primitive form in the parts of that system. There
is nothing mystical about emergent properties. When the emergent
property of ‘pumping blood’ arises out of collections of heart cells,
that property is a logical extension of the properties of the parts -
physical properties such as elasticity, electrical conductivity,
volume and so on that belong to the individual cells. But nobody
invoking ‘emergent properties’ to explain consciousness in the brain
has yet explained how consciousness arises as a natural extension of
the known properties of brain cells  - or indeed of matter at all. "

> > 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,

Life replicates, but replication does not define life. Living
organisms feel alive and avoid death. Replication does not necessitate
feeling alive.

> 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.

Perception has never existed 'by itself'. Perception only occurs in
living organisms who are informed by their experience. There is no
independent disembodied 'information' out there. There detection and
response, sense and motive of physical wholes.

> >> 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
> >> "mergers").
> > 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)

Sorry, but I think it's never going to happen. Consciousness is not

>, 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).

We are able to extend and augment our neurological capacities (we
already are) with neuromorphic devices, but ultimately we need our own
brain tissue to live in. We, unfortunately cannot be digitized, we can
only be analogized through impersonation.


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