Why Can't The World's Greatest Minds Solve The Mystery of Consciousness

Chalice Yao

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I find it stretches credibility to seriously argue that an entity could act as if it were conscious in an unscripted extended test where it interacts with known conscious beings without it actually having the self-analysis and introspection loops that manifest as self-awareness.
You are presuming that it is such loops - thoughts of thoughts as you called them - are what actually manifests the consciousness. Yet such things could just as easily happen in an automated fashion. After all, if we are really blunt about it, we still live in a deterministic universe where an action causes a reaction according to strict rules - be they newtonian or quantum (or one emerging from the other, really.)
...although I am not sure I want to get into that one. It opens another whole can of worms that tends to be even more uncomfortable to consider too deeply.
 
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Not sure why consciousness happening in an automated fashion means it's not consciousness. We are conscious automata therefore such a thing is possible.

Consciousness is not some deep mystery that we need to try and solve without having yet created the tools to reproduce the process... unless you choose to make it such. I file this whole category of problems in the same box as "if there is no god who created the big bang".
 
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Chalice Yao

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If you define it like *that* (And I fully agree, by the way), then yes, the Philosophical Zombie falls apart when it comes to a meat-and-bones example.
But then we move into the realm of computer simulations and things get a loooooot more trickier; More tricky..more trickie...nevermind.
Anyways, the question wether a consciousness even can arise in a digital simulation is probably useless at this point - because we've come full circle and need to understand how consciousness works in the first place, and the former highly depends on the latter.
 
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Why does a computer simulation become trickier? This is just resurrecting the 'Conciousness is more than matter!' argument pushed down one level. Instead of a magical soul you're assuming magical meat.
 
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Chalice Yao

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Why does a computer simulation become trickier? This is just resurrecting the 'Conciousness is more than matter!' argument pushed down one level. Instead of a magical soul you're assuming magical meat.
Yes, I am. Because our magical brainmeats work quite differently than a computer simulation. Actually, simulation here is the key. You can run a hundred simulations of a nuclear explosion, but it sure won't irradiate your face, no matter how hard you try. Because they work fundamentally different in physics and actual execution. Likewise the logic that a simulation of the brain would produce an actual consciousness is flawed in exactly the same way.
 

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Because our magical brainmeats work quite differently than a computer simulation.
How do you figure that? They are computational systems producing the same basic results. INDISTINGUISHABLE results in the case of the philosophical zombies, since if they're distibguishable they fail the basic requirements of being a PZ.

You can run a hundred simulations of a nuclear explosion, but it sure won't irradiate your face, no matter how hard you try.
Consciousness, unlike a nuclear explosion, is entirely subjective. It has no objective existence. It can only be inferred by observing the outputs of the computational process... and the fact that we each assume that the meat process contains a consciousness is no more than anecdotal evidence.

After all... I can imagine all the nuclear weapons that I want to, but they won't set a straw on fire.
 
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Agreed. Consciousness isn't even continuous. When you're performing a routine rote process consciousness can just cut out for an extended period. That's what the various meditative states independently discovered by various traditions are... being able to enter this state on demand.
Also when you are asleep.
 
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So, that's an interesting point. Dreams, and especially lucid dreams, engage something like consciousness. So can you actually be conscious while you're technically unconscious?

Of course the term here is being applied in two completely unrelated ways. A meditating zen monk is not unconscious in the "you're asleep" sense, but I think it's at least arguable that they're not conscious in the self-awareness sense.
 

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When I totally gigged out on studying the mind and brain 30 some years back (to understand myself, ... yeah, not all parts were included in the box), one thing I learned was that the brain reuses everything and builds upon existing structures. Without any current knowledge though, I can only make a reasonable guess that there's a hella lot of existing components that it's bootstraped from. I could easily imagine consciousness evolving from basic things like hunting, avoiding the tiger, and making out with the girl in the cave next door.
 

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When I totally gigged out on studying the mind and brain 30 some years back (to understand myself, ... yeah, not all parts were included in the box), one thing I learned was that the brain reuses everything and builds upon existing structures. Without any current knowledge though, I can only make a reasonable guess that there's a hella lot of existing components that it's bootstraped from. I could easily imagine consciousness evolving from basic things like hunting, avoiding the tiger, and making out with the girl in the cave next door.
in my research, i've always boil it down to instincts

fire=hurt =make us feel bad.... we make decision not to touch...tell others it's bad. some people tried themselves and others just agreed it was bad...

at our basic instincts we observed, judged, label and defined everything and over time built up a database of information and passed it on to others... we've become really efficient at doing that.

but at what point did we evolve to start memorizing, labeling and storing information?

how did we know the girl in the cave next door was good for making out vs the other girl in the other cave who was bad?

good and bad could be broken down to how it makes us feel at the end of the day.

one of my theories is that maybe we didn't have nerves before to let us know what pain was... maybe we were a bunch of zombies that just happen to evolve enough to be able to sense stuff as a survival tactic..
 
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Ashiri

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Yes, I am. Because our magical brainmeats work quite differently than a computer simulation.
Are our magical brainmeats a Turing Machine?.
I am of the opinion that both the neurons and their interconnections could be simulated if we had a sufficiently powerful computer. And by sufficiently powerful I mean way bigger than anything presently in existence. Teracore machines, anyone?
 

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It’s also why time seems to fly by when you are not doing anything interesting and are just in routine behavior. You aren’t very conscious during autopilot, so you don’t really notice the flow of time happening, which makes you feel like time was skipped.

The best way to slow time down is to do new interesting things. People say time goes faster as you get older, but that’s only because lives tend to become more routine with age. You are litterally being less conscious simply because you don’t need to be. It automated your day for you.
 
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People say time goes faster as you get older, but that’s only because lives tend to become more routine with age.
Indeed, you have more and more details of your life compiled and can run efficiently on autopilot and less and less has to be handled manually.
 
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Are our magical brainmeats a Turing Machine?.
I am of the opinion that both the neurons and their interconnections could be simulated if we had a sufficiently powerful computer. And by sufficiently powerful I mean way bigger than anything presently in existence. Teracore machines, anyone?
Sure I don’t see why not. But there’s a big difference from having a brain made of neurons vs a brain made of bits. Humans consciousness exists on a level that is “closer to the metal” of the universe. The difference being there isn’t some higher level entity that can poke around our brains, control what we can or can’t experince, stop, rewrite or duplicate our minds, or change the state of the universe as we experience it itself.

At least as far as we would know.
 
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Consciousness, unlike a nuclear explosion, is entirely subjective. It has no objective existence. It can only be inferred by observing the outputs of the computational process... and the fact that we each assume that the meat process contains a consciousness is no more than anecdotal evidence.
So what you're saying is you're not conscious and therefore wonder what the hell us meat sacks are talking about? haha.

I'm kidding you, but strongly disagree that it's subjective. consciousness is the one thing where feeling we have it, proves we have it. I am more certain that I'm conscious than the fact that this message board exists. If our ability to feel our consciousness is subjective, than our ability to know anything and trust our brains exist at all is subjective.

I'm honestly kind of surprised that so many here are so dismissive of consciousness. We know a lot about computing, and even a bit about biological computers, but no idea what makes one conscious.
 
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Soen Eber

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Are our magical brainmeats a Turing Machine?.
I am of the opinion that both the neurons and their interconnections could be simulated if we had a sufficiently powerful computer. And by sufficiently powerful I mean way bigger than anything presently in existence. Teracore machines, anyone?
No, it's a radiator and a heat sink, no, it's a balance of humors no, it's the spark of God, no, it is distinct and separate from the body, no it's a hydrolic pump and a system of tubes, no It's clockwork, no It's a finely crafted watch, no it's a switchboard, no, it's a chemical reaction, yes after all it IS a part of the body, no, it perfectly embodies survival of the fittest and we have a "law of the jungle natural duty" to weed out the weak and stupid so mankind can evolve, no, it's a system of relays.and vacuum tubes but at least it's logical, no, it is NOT logical, no, it'a community of minds working together and against each other, no, it is the perfect economic man, no, [by study] only economists and psychotics think like economic man, no, it's a bell curve and here'-s "proof" that white people are smarter, no it's...

I'm going to ban the word "is" from anything I say about the brain and the mind from now on, unless it comes from medical science. I swear, defining the brain has caused more trouble for the world than group of European drawing mlines and borders ever has.

The future is going to laugh at us and at our hubris.[
 
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Ashiri

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I'm going to ban the word "is" from anything I say about the brain and the mind from now on, unless it comes from medical science.

The future is going to laugh at us and at our hubris.
It is probably best to rely on neuroscience for information on the way brains work. Neurons are really quite amazing.
As for that question of mine about Turing machine, I just threw it out there because I don't know.

One hopes there is such a future.