I was watching the Brain Games show last week and noticed that whenever
peripheral vision is explained, an image which is focused in the center and
blurred at the periphery is used. The curious part though is that that
isn't really what peripheral vision looks like. While it is true that I
can't resolve details or count objects in my peripheral vision, it is not
because it is blurry. Indeed, it is not difficult to count the blurry blobs
in the image above, and no matter how I play with comparing these kinds of
images, it is always easy to tell which is blurred and which is not even in
far peripheral vision. The blurry blobs, for instance, do not get blurrier
in peripheral range, they just get 'less available' to my awareness.
This is significant as it marks a testable difference between visual
experience and optical data. I don't think that the experience of
peripheral vision can be reproduced objectively. As long as you can look at
something directly, even if it is blurred, you have a kind of command over
the image which is elusive in the periphery. If you stare at a point on the
wall and watch TV with your peripheral vision, you will notice that you can
watch it and recognize what is going on, but it has a dream-like quality,
similar to trying to make out a shape being drawn with a finger on your
back. The data is not absent, not blurry or obscured in any literal way,
but it is more like we cannot remember what we see is supposed to look
like. I think that this is a different kind of information entropy than we
see in a Turing emulation. It suggests a clear distinction between
computationally interpreted formations and informed subjective experiences.
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