From: meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net>
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com 
Sent: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:22 PM
Subject: Re: When will a computer pass the Turing Test?

On 9/4/2013 10:00 AM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

>From: meekerdb mailto:meeke...@verizon.net
>To: everything-list@googlegroups.com 
>Sent: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 4:43 PM
>Subject: Re: When will a computer pass the Turing Test?
>On 9/3/2013 3:43 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:
>By the way the brain produces high fidelity illusions for us most of our 
>waking lives. For example the way we perceive our sight is very different from 
>the intermittent stream of neural signals that begin their journey from our 
>retinas. Did you know that every time you shift your eyes from one focus point 
>to another that during the period of time the eyeball is in movement from one 
>focus to the next no visual signals are being sent down the optic nerve. That 
>if the brain was not producing an illusion for us the world we see should 
>vanish each time we move our eyes (or blink them) Does the world disappear 
>each time you blink or move your eyes? Of course it doesn't. Your mind 
>maintains a steady and beautifully rendered illusion of the world in your mind 
>that is seamlessly stitched into the new stream of optic signals as they 
>arrive. There is no discontinuity.    
>>> That seems to look at it the wrong way
                  around.  Our model of the world is one in which
                  objects are persistent even when we don't look at
                  them.  That's a better model than one in which they
                  only exist when we look at them.  So our brain is
                  creating the better model instead of the worse.  I see
                  no reason to call that an "illusion".

First note that I only wrote the three lines above - which is hard
    to tell from your reply.

>It is an illusion in the sense that it is manufactured by the brain. The brain 
>fills in the gaps in the stream of visual signals with a manufactured world 
>that does not in fact exist -- as a stream of in-coming sense data. But you 
>are correct that it is a better way to model the world; I am not arguing that 
>it isn't. I agree that evolution would favor a "vision" that did not suddenly 
>switch off every time the eye stopped sending signals. My point is that the 
>world we see is in many ways a manufactured illusion -- and model (we agree on 
>that term) -- of the world. 
>The same is true for how when we turn our heads the world does not spin but 
>rather our brain cleverly re-renders our visual world by changing our own 
>inner viewpoint from which we perceive our sight -- as our brains have served 
>it up to us. This is also a better way to model a change in the direction of 
>vision. Instead of spinning the world as would be the case if the brain had 
>not re-interpreted the visual data stream and re-rendered it in this alternate 
>manner; we perceive our visual field as being stable and our perception of 
>this stable field being the factor that shifts instead. This brain illusion -- 
>after all, it is manufactured internally by the brain itself and is a 
>different and highly interpretive rendition of the raw data going into the 
>brain -- also seems a clearly superior way to model vision than the 
>alternative of staying true to reality, which would have the world radically 
>spin each time you shifted your gaze from here to there or
 turned your head... imagine how disorienting that would be. 
>We both agree that it makes evolutionary sense for the brain to model reality 
>like it does -- in terms of these visual tricks the mind is doing. My point 
>was that the mind is clearly capable of producing masterful illusions and does 
>so each and every single day in healthy individuals. We depend on our minds 
>innate ability to produce high fidelity illusions -- or models if you will -- 
>of the underlying world that we are perceiving via our senses, and we depend 
>on our conjuring mental acrobats each and every day of our lives. 
>In general, we need on our brains to filter out by far most of what impinges 
>on our senses, and if it did not, we would suffer under a cacophony of 
>sensorial overload. Our brains however are masters of illusion (or if you 
>prefer of models that while tied to and dependent on reality are also 
>fundamentally divergent form how reality would present to us if it were not 
>reified by our brains into the way we sense it).

>>You're still looking at it backwards, as though there were some
    alternative that would be *really real* and not an illusion; as
    though a video camera just recording "everything" would capture the
    reall real and the would really would spin around when the camera
    turned and there would be no illusion.  My point is that neither one
    is "reality" but the model your brain (via evolution) is closer
    approximation to what we denominate "reality".  We want reality to
    have point-of-view invariance, i.e. to be something that is the same
    from different points of view and as viewed by different people. 
    That's what we mean by "reality", and the brain automatically
    produces a good approximation of that form middle sized things not
    moving to fast.  For atomic size things or things moving near the
    speed of light - not so good.

I agree -- the single point of view model our brain's adopt when rendering 
sensorial input is a better model for allowing us to make rapid interpretations 
of our current environment and be able to decide on courses of action -- even 
though by the time it gets to the rendition of experience it seems that often 
the brain has already decided and our "decision" has already been made (whether 
that is for us or by us I do not pretend to know.. and that depends on what is 
meant by "I".
So clearly the brain is modeling reality in the manner that makes sense from an 
evolutionary point of view for us... in fact much of what the brain is doing is 
tossing out  -- e.g. suppressing the experience of -- information that it 
decides is relatively less important for our immediate survival than the 
sub-set that we actually experience as what we saw, or what we heard, smelled, 
tasted or felt (and our inner balance/directional  (e.g. orientation) and 
temporal senses as well)

Many experiments have born this out with people being functionally blind to the 
guy walking across their field of vision wearing the gorilla suit when their 
minds are focused on a complex multi-variant visual task for example. The brain 
has -- quite correctly in most cases -- decided that that visual information 
was just a distraction and so suppresses it. One form of meditation I practice 
is to stop filtering sound - -to relax and let the soundscape I am in impinge 
on my senses and not be pre-processed through the reification in which our 
brains connect a sound with a symbolic inner representation of its origin -- 
for example when we hear a car our brain silently connects the sonic wave 
patterns coming from that particular location in our 3-D aural landscape mental 
model with the associated symbolic construct we have constructed over time on 
our brains for "car"... and then almost invariably (unless you are for example 
about to cross a street)
 suppresses that sound. In fact most of the time we never will actually hear 
that car -- or the million other sounds that our brains helpfully filter out of 
our sensorial stream.

I am not making the argument that there must be some external real world that 
our senses are perceiving -- though I very much suspect that there is a real 
world that exists whether or not I am there to observe it.. .maybe not for me, 
but then if I am not there I would not know that. What instead I was trying to 
point out is that the realities our individual mind's perceive are highly 
interpreted renditions -- models of you will -- that have evolved the way they 
did because they have proven to be the best balance of interpretive rendering 
of the raw data stream -- and interpolation of missing data to fill in any gaps 
in the stream. And it is not just at the level of rendering for our single 
point of view model and tossing out what the brain decides is less relevant or 
a distraction from what is most immediately important to bring to our 
"executive" attention. Our perception is very much also colored by our memories 
and the experiences we have had in our
 lives. The manner in which say someone perceives a crashing ocean wave will 
depend in an often profound way on any potential traumatic memory -- say almost 
drowning in an ocean wave -- associated with that sensory in-coming data 
stream.... or for example how some individual may view a large black male 
walking towards them on the street after dark with few people around -- that 
entire perceptive experience is highly colored (no pun intended) by the 
subjective associations that the individual doing the perceiving has formed in 
their brains... and whether the resulting rendered image seems normal or 
threatening for the individual involved will in large measure depend on their 
views on race and past experiences (or lack of experiences) with black males. 
In this case a racial unconscious bias can kick in and people will not even see 
the actual person walking towards them, but rather a more generic and often 
less well rendered (with the blackness of the
 skin and mental memories manufacturing in the actual man's place a more or 
less menacing figure that their minds supply them to a startling degree.

Our brain's are supplying us with our reality and two people immersed in the 
same environment will often come away with different descriptions of that 
environment and will experience different realities when immersed in that 
environmental stream of sense data. Even though the raw sense stream is the 
same in both cases; the inner mental experience that is "lived" can be very 
different indeed. 

Is this bad.. no... nor is it good per se, except in so far as the interpretive 
model our species has adopted makes good evolutionary sense/ Not trying to 
apply a value to this; just trying to recognize that this is going on and that 
our experience of reality is removed from reality by the many layers of our 
brain's interpretive engines -- working without our conscious knowledge all the 
time to generate within us our experience of reality. 

Thus it seems clear to me that "reality" for us at least is conditioned and 
re-rendered by our inner interpretive layers and that "reality" will and does 
vary considerably from person/perspective to person/perspective. 



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