On 22 Apr 2013, at 16:51, Telmo Menezes wrote:

On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 5:55 AM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
On Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 8:14 PM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com >
wrote:

There is an entire field of physics, for example, dedicated to studying
emergence in a rigorous fashion


True, and the key word is " rigorous" and that means knowing the details.



Cellular automata show how simple local rules can give rise to
complexity,


Yes, but saying something worked by cellular automation wouldn't be of any help it you didn't know what those simple local rules were, and to figure them out that you need reductionism. In talking about art there are 2 buzz words that, whatever their original meaning, now just mean "it sucks"; the words are "derivative" and "bourgeois". Something similar has happened in the world of science to the word "reductive", it now also means "it sucks". Not long ago I read a article about the Blue Brain Project, it said it was a example of science getting away from reductionism, and yet under the old meaning of the word nothing could be more reductive than trying to simulate
a brain down to the level of neurons.

I don't know how to say this without resorting to a cliché: "the whole
is more than the sum of the parts". Yes, you have to understand the
details, but when you stick the neurons together, something happens
that is not obvious from the description of the operation of a single
neuron. Let's take a reductionist example, Newton's second law:

F = ma

If I plug in the values of two of the variables I can get the value of
the third one. If mass doubles, force doubles. Nothing new ever
happens.

Yet, with F brought by three bodies (or some more), this is already Turing universal.




It's great for explaining motion. But with brains, if I plug
in a new neuron, something radically new can happen. There is no
reductionist law of motion for neurons if you want to understand how
intelligence emerges from their interactions.

OK. Once we have universal machine, we get autonomous universal layer.
To understand the working of a program good at chess, the understanding of the working of the lower gates will not help, except for suggesting a universal level at play.






Some of our most powerful emotions like pleasure, pain, and lust come from the oldest parts of our brain that evolved about 500 million years ago.

Emotions are two things at the same time: a bunch of signals in the
brain that help with learning, morphogenesis and so on (for a survival
advantage, as you suggest) and the first person feeling of these
emotions. The 1p feeling of the emotions is the greatest mystery of
all, in my view, and neuroscience has no theory that explains it.
Maybe the 1p experience arrises from brain activity, but at the moment
it requires a magic step.

But comp explains why there is a magic step, and where the magic comes from. The price is that we have to explain the brain from that "magic".






About 400 million years ago Evolution figured out how to make the spinal cord, the medulla and the pons, we have these brain structures just like fish and amphibians do and they deal in aggressive behavior, territoriality and social hierarchies. The Limbic System is about 150 million years old and
ours is similar to that
found in other mammals. Some think the Limbic system is the source of awe and exhilaration because it is the active site of many psychotropic drugs, and there's little doubt that the amygdala, a part of the Limbic system, has much to do with fear. After some animals developed a Limbic system they started to spend much more time taking care of their young, so it probably
has something to do with love too.

Again, this is all fine but the 1p/3p bridge is the mystery. I suspect
this mystery falls outside of what science can address, as has been
discuseed ad nausea in this mailing list.


That's a dangerous move. Science can address the question, and in this case provides perhaps the best solution, in the sense that it explains how and why machines looking inward can know some truth, and can know that such truth are not communicable or justifiable. This can be done without more magic than addition and multiplication.





It is our grossly enlarged neocortex that makes the human brain so unusual and so recent, it only started to get large about 3 million years ago and only started to get ridiculously large less than one million years ago. It deals in deliberation, spatial perception, speaking, reading, writing and mathematics; in other words everything that makes humans so very different
from other animals. The only new emotion we got out of it was worry,
probably because the neocortex is also the place where we plan for the
future.

I'm fine with all that, but what is the "you" that feels the worry?

The true and consistent believer. It has no name, nor any identity card, yet you know him very well. In arithmetic it will be the Bp & Dt & p, seen by the divine intellect (G*).

This is what make the relative numbers into developing feelings, and those feeling obeys some logical laws which can explain why you feel that those kinds of things is not amenable to science.

Yet science can explain why some truth exists and can't be amenable to science, notably when the mechanist hypothesis is made.

That last sentence *is* amenable to science, and actually is already amenable to machine's science. Comp provides a meta-solution by explaining "scientifically" how machines can encounter (and if honest enough, cannot not encounter) a big thing which is such that science can only be a lantern on that big thing (the qualia and the quanta appearing as some aspects of it).





If nature came up with feeling first and high level intelligence much much later I don't see why the opposite would be true for our computers. It's probably a hell of a lot easier to make something that feels but doesn't
think than
something that thinks but doesn't feel.

I would love to know how to make something that feels.


Strictly speaking it is not that difficult.

In a sense it is already done, by Babbage, but also bacteria.

You need two things:
1) a local Turing universal machine. (brain, computer, DNA, arithmetic, etc.)
2) patience.

Another solution would consist in meeting a woman, or vice versa, and get children. It is a bit the same.

We don't build intelligent machines, we fish them in the abysses of the arithmetical ocean.




I know how to
make things that think.

Really? Then ask to that thing which thinks how does it thinks when not thinking and just waiting for awhile. Be polite and ask to that thinking entity how it feels to be a thinking being.

That's what I did in a way for any sound and consistent extension of any machines believing in Robinson arithmetic ( the ontology) and Peano Arithmetic (the observer and/or the dreamer).

You are right, it is easy to do a thinking machine. But incompleteness suggests, and shows (accepting standard definition of knowledge and observation) that feelings are just unavoidable. And doubly so if you give them universal goal, like "help yourself" or "get closer to <whatever non nameable>.







People like António Damásio (my compatriot) and other neuroscientists
confuse a machine's ability to recognise itself with consciousness.


I see no evidence of confusion in that.

Imagine a computer connected to a camera pointed at itself, running an
algorithm that can identify its own boundaries in any background. Is
it suddenly conscious?

Not necessarily. It might take time to bet on an identification.








This makes me wonder if some people are zombies.


Without the axiom that intelligent behavior implies consciousness it would be entirely reasonable to conclude that you are the only conscious being in
the universe.

Now we're getting to the heart of it. That axiom is a religious
belief. Unlike other scientific axioms, it doesn't help us in building
new gadgets, so not even useful in that sense.



John is right. Except that intelligence -> consciousness is not entirely a comp axiom, and is more a comp theorem, with consciousness defined for example by the fixed point of the doubt (what is true for some machine, but non justifiable for such machine).

So it is not a religious belief. It is a theorem in computer science once you accept the definition of consciousness above, and the classical theory of knowledge (the modal logic S4).

And this + the FPI, leads to a notion of observable which can be compared to the empirically observable. So it is a theory of consciousness with testable consequence, even if indirect.






Computers are what they have always been, Turing machines with finite
tapes.


Human brains are what they have always been, a finite number of
interconnected neurons imbedded in 3 pounds of grey jello.

Yes.


The tapes are getting bigger, that's all.


Yes, but the grey jello is not getting any bigger and that is exactly why
computers are going to win.

I agree.

The expression "computer will win" is very ambiguous. In a sense they have already won with the bacteria, in many sense, even. *we* will get artificial brain long before we fish anything as clever as a spider, in that sense we will be virtualized before we get non controllable machines. For economical reason, non controllable machine will grow, but it will take some time before they get the right to vote (it is more a human problem than a machine problem, or it is the eternal problem of recognizing oneself in the other). There are ethical problem. Tomorrow planes will get limbic systems, and we will copy a lot nature, with a larger space of hybridizations possible, together with the catastrophies and disasters.









Measuring conscious by intelligent behaviour is mysticism,


Call it any bad name you like but the fact is that both you and I have been measuring consciousness by intelligent behavior every minute of every hour
of our waking life from the moment we were born;

Here I don't follow Clark. Consciousness is not intelligent behavior, as it is not the amount of information which counts for consciousness, nor a way to interpret them rapidly, it is more like an instinctive admission or confirmation of an instinctive (unconscious) bet. It is an oscillation between Dt and Dt & t, somehow.




but now if we're confronted
with a intelligent computer for some unspecified reason you say we're
supposed to suddenly stop doing that. Why?

Oh I wouldn't. I might very well suspect the computer is conscious,
but I wouldn't claim to be sure or know why. One of my dreams is to
create a program that would generate that doubt.

Peano Arithmetic, ZF, ... they have that doubt.
They already believe that if they don't believe in 0=1, then they don't believe that they don't believe in 0=1.












The only consciousness I have direct experience with is my own and I note that when I'm sleepy my consciousness is reduced and so is my
intelligence,  when I'm alert the reverse is true.


I agree on intelligence, but I don't feel less conscious when I'm
sleepy.


If so and consciousness is a all or nothing matter and is not on a continuum then you should vividly remember the very instant you went to sleep last
night. Do you?

I subscribe to Russell's remark here.


Can we be sure we have been unconscious at any time?

Are you OK that "I am not conscious" is meaningless? It is obviously true ... for the zombie. It is obviously false when asked to conscious people. But "I have been unconscious" is already a theory, a conscious belief, more easily doubted than "I am conscious".

There is a sort of "non consciousness", or "subconsciousness" the night, in sleep, but that is more like an altered state of consciousness that an absence of consciousness. It is apparently "programmed" to not easing the remembering of that state, but people interested in consciousness can explore.






I'm a bit sleepy right now.


Wow what a temptation, with that opening if I was in a bad mood I'd make
some petty remark like "that explains a lot", but I'm not so I won't.

Yeah, I'd definitely like to watch the reality show.

Yes. This, we can enjoy the exploration too. Note that the inside is sometimes related to the outside :)

Bruno





Telmo.

 John K Clark




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