On Tuesday, October 8, 2013 12:41:26 PM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>>> I agree with you that there is some "building up" required to create a
>>> full and rich human experience, which cannot happen in a single instance or
>>> with a single CPU instruction being executed. However, where I disagree
>>> with you is in how long it takes for all the particulars of the experience
>>> to be generated from the computation. I don't think it requires
>>> re-calculating the entire history of the human race, or life itself on some
>>> planet. I think it can be done by comparing relations to memories and data
>>> stored entirely within the brain itself; say within 0.1 to 0.5 seconds of
>>> computation by the brain, not the eons of life's evolution.
>> That could be true in theory but it does not seem to be supported by
>> nature. In reality, there is no way to watch a movie in less time than the
>> movie takes to be watched without sacrificing some qualities of the
> But when you watch the last 5 seconds of the movie, your brain has the
> context/memories of all the previous parts of the movie. If you
> instantiated a brain from scratch with all the same memories of someone who
> watched the first 2 hours of the movie,
That's what I am saying is not necessarily possible. A brain is not a
receptacle of memories any more than a body is a person's autobiography. We
are not a brain - the brain mostly does things that have nothing to do with
our awareness, and we do things which have mostly nothing to do with our
brains. Filling someone's library with books they have never read does not
give them the experience of having read them. You are assuming that
experience is in fact unnecessary and can be transplanted out of context
into another life. If that could happen, I think that no living organism
would ever forget anything, and there would never be any desire to repeat
any experience. Why eat an apple when you can remember eating one in the
past? Why have any experiences at all if we can just compute data? What is
the benefit of experience?
> and then showed them the last 5 seconds, they would understand the ending
> as well as anyone made to sit through the whole thing.
You wouldn't need to show them anything, just implant the memory of having
seen the whole thing. That would work if the universe was based on
mechanism instead of experience, but a universe based on mechanism makes
experience redundant and superfluous.
>> Experience is nothing like data, as data is compressible since it has no
>> qualitative content to be lost in translation. In all cases, calculation is
>> used to eliminate experience - to automate and anesthetize.
> For you to make such a claim, you would have to experience life as one of
> those automatons. But you have not, so I don't see where you get this
> knowledge about what entities are or or are not conscious.
It's knowledge, it's an understanding about what data can be used for and
what it can't be. There are no entities which are not conscious.
Consciousness is what defines an entity. We have only to look at our uses
of computations and machines - how they relieve us of our conscious burdens
with automatic and impersonal service. We have to look at our confirmation
bias in the desire to animate puppets, in pareidolia, apophenia, and the
pathetic fallacy. I like science fiction and technology as much as anyone,
but if we are serious about turning a program into a person, we would have
a lot of absurdities to overcome. Why is anything presented instead of just
computed invisibly? Why do we care about individuality or authenticity? Why
do we care about anything? So many dead ends with Comp.
>> It cannot imitate experience, any more than an HSV coordinate can look
>> like a particular color.
> I believe it is the machine's interpretation of the input (however it is
> represented), and in the context of the rest of its mind, which manifests
> as the experience of color. You could say an HSV coordinate is not a
> color, but neither is the electrical signaling of the optic nerve a color.
Right, but I would never say that the electrical signaling of the optic
nerve is a color any more than I would say that the Eiffel Tower has a
French accent. We can't look assume that a brain is a complete description
of a human life, otherwise the human life would be redundant. The brain
would simply be there, running computations, measuring acoustic and optical
vibrations, analyzing aerosol chemistry, etc - all in complete blind
silence. Memories would simply be logs of previous computations, not
If you start from the perspective that what is outside of your personal
experience must be the only reality, then you are taking a description of
yourself from something that knows almost nothing about you. Trying to
recreate yourself from that description, from the outside in, is like
trying to resurrect Jim Morrison by encoding The Doors in nucleic acids.
The outside world is just a lowest common denominator description. It's
signs are meaningless because they are universal. It's a stage, or a
vehicle. You can't make an actor out of props, but if you are an actor, you
can make another actor look like a prop or a prop look like an actor (for a
>> We cannot separate the experience of a living person from their history
>> going back to the beginning of time any more than we can take out the last
>> chapter of War and Peace and glue it to the end of a manual for a digital
>> thermostat. It might look like a book to us, but the story doesn't make
>> sense. We can't sum up the meaning of the absent chapters without having
>> ourselves lived in a world that Tolstoy once lived in. That world is not
>> accessible to digits or thermostats.
> We have to go back to the beginning of time?
> Is that when the person was conceived, when the first conscious life form
> opened its eyes, when the first life form on Earth emerged, when the
> formation of the solar system, the Big Bang, a Brane Collision, or maybe
> something even further back?
Yes, all of the above. We are an unbroken link in eternity. A machine is
made of parts which are scattered throughout the earliest miles of the
chain, billions of uncompressable years away from anything that can feel
like a living organism can feel.
>> >So perhaps we are on the same page, but merely disagree on how detailed
>> the details of the computation need to be. i.e., what is the substitution
>> layer (atomic interactions, or the history of atomic interactions on a
>> global scale?).
>> That would make sense if computation were the same as experience rather
>> than the representation of its opposite. In reality though, I think that
>> substitution is an illusion of computation itself. There is no such thing
>> as emulation or approximation. Awareness is absolute non-emulable because
>> it is the manifestation of uniqueness itself.
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