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Old 21st March 2012, 08:35 AM   #3481
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
I never said that you said that it's "impossible for the brain to produce a reference". What I said was that I can apply your argument to the brain, knowing that it does in fact produce reference, and I have no way to stop it from getting that conclusion save special pleading.

This is called a "sanity check", Piggy, not putting words in your mouth. The test of your theory about the impossibility of computers to do X is how well that theory explains an actual impossibility; the way this sanity check works is to apply the argument to something that does in fact do X and see if it concludes that it, too, is impossible. The problem occurs because there's no stopping point in the argument... it plows right through the brain and reaches that conclusion. Unless we add special pleading, of course.


...snip...
Or we recognise that what we thought we were looking at isn't actually what we thought it was.
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Old 21st March 2012, 09:03 AM   #3482
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
If you feel all life has a degree of consciousness and intelligence, you might as well say it directly. I think that attenuates the utility of the words to an extreme, but I do like the sound of 'personal chemical integrity' - something we should all maintain
I do consider that all life has a rudimentary consciousness and intelligence, using my definition of consciousness.

However there is no agreed definition in use here. So I am pointing to what we can deduce about the one form of consciousness that we can examine.
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Old 21st March 2012, 09:03 AM   #3483
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Or we recognise that what we thought we were looking at isn't actually what we thought it was.
Well, if I know how the brain does it, I have an explanation. If I have an explanation, it's going to be in terms of the only things I can use to explain things--conceptual entities that have particular behaviors. But once I get there, I can talk about the entity representing a particular intension as if it can map to anything I'd like to map it to. And thus the argument applies, and I conclude it impossible, because it can map to more than one thing.

The problem is that even the intensions we in practice use can be mapped to anything by an observer. The observer's mappings, however, should be a non-sequitur--but for Piggy, it kills the explanation--which means the brain doesn't work this way (where "this way" is whichever way this theory, wlg, explains it).

In practice, though, it's not the guy looking at my brain that performs the association between the cup and the thing I reach out and touch. It's me. So the fact that that guy's brain can assign those symbols however it wants to is irrelevant.

What saves Piggy is that he cannot reach this absurdity, because he doesn't have an explanation for how the brain performs a reference. But what kills Piggy's argument is that it doesn't matter what the explanation ultimately will be--his argument applies and concludes the mappings impossible. I know it necessarily applies because I can actually map any person's intensions to anything in precisely the same way he can map any physical symbol in his android to anything.

So it doesn't really matter if it works how we thought it was, or some other way. We get Piggy's argument applying simply from the fact that some third party knows how it works. Once we get there, to be consistent, we're forced to appeal to how that third party associates symbols.

The fact that I'm declaring that this cup I'm touching is what I mean by my cup doesn't even play into it. In order to get that sort of thing into play, you have to recognize that the android's declaring that the cup it is touching is what it means by cup plays into it.

Incidentally, this entire piece of discussion is about semantics, not consciousness per se. So punshhh in this case is right; we can perform these semantic associations between a sign and a particular extension without conscious awareness.

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Old 21st March 2012, 09:19 AM   #3484
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
I never said that you said that it's "impossible for the brain to produce a reference". What I said was that I can apply your argument to the brain, knowing that it does in fact produce reference, and I have no way to stop it from getting that conclusion save special pleading.

This is called a "sanity check", Piggy, not putting words in your mouth. The test of your theory about the impossibility of computers to do X is how well that theory explains an actual impossibility; the way this sanity check works is to apply the argument to something that does in fact do X and see if it concludes that it, too, is impossible. The problem occurs because there's no stopping point in the argument... it plows right through the brain and reaches that conclusion. Unless we add special pleading, of course.

There's nothing to break down when applying your argument to the brain, though. Not only am I forced to conclude that the "right big toe" in that warm fleshy bit could be about anything, but, it's actually right. We have to perform work to figure out how our existing knowledge is a dual of some other thing--a simple reassignment of the same concepts works beautifully a lot more often than our ability to know that the reassignment is possible.

But if I actually reach out and touch a cup, I can say that this is the thing I mean by "my cup". I can pick it up. What is happening here is that I'm referencing the real cup, but I only do that using my brain. My brain has a model of the cup, and that's tied to reality via the percept of the cup, which also happens in my brain, and is related to that model. And it plays into my model of how I move, and how I trigger brain processes, such that when I reach out and touch it, I know that it's touching the thing I mean by the cup.

There's no problem accounting for this at all. The only problem here is that given this account, we're forced to conclude that an android can do it. And since you don't want to conclude that, you're left holding your magic beans.
I don't want to interrupt this delightful discourse. But I would like to point out something about consciousness, drawing from my definition*.

What has barely been mentioned in the thread and what is perhaps the crux of the issue is that quality of consciousness which distinguishes a point of presence in the physical realm closely allied with a sense of being (in the present) in the mind and body of the conscious entity.

This quality is present in many animals, including some with very simple intelligence.

Such qualities and there are more seem to be aspects of life and without life are likely to be "soulless" automatons.


*Consciousness = an emergent quality of life forms.
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Old 21st March 2012, 10:18 AM   #3485
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
The question yy2bggggs is trying to get you to answer -- and I think everyone else would like to know as well -- is why you think it is impossible for a computer to produce a reference but not impossible for a brain. Given that you freely admit that you have no idea how a brain does it.
That's the elephant in the room, yes. How can Piggy conclude that computation cannot produce reference if he doesn't even know what reference is?
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Old 21st March 2012, 10:21 AM   #3486
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Our brains certainly are not simulator machines in the sense that, say, a flight simulator is a simulator machine -- that is, it's not designed to trigger another brain to imagine things.
No, it simulates reality as a basis for its own actions.

Quote:
And when we talk about the non-conscious brain, which is where we must begin when we ask how consciousness evolved and how it's generated, then we certainly cannot talk about any simulation taking place (the necessary components are not there).
Doesn't the subconscious brain make use of the simulation (model) of reality that is generated from perception? What else has it to base its projections and actions on?

Quote:
Yes, there's a cascade of reactions when, say, light bounces off a tree and onto my eyes. There may be an involuntary response, such as squinting, but that involves no simulation of anything.
That sounds like a simple reflex.

Quote:
And we'd be making a mistake to claim that this cascade of activity in my head "is an image of a tree" or "is a representation of a tree" as far as the work of the non-conscious brain is concerned.
Why? leaving aside the symbolic label 'tree', are you suggesting the subconscious mind can't categorise, can't recognise a tree? Do you think it's only your consciousness that does all this symbolic processing? Do you think you are consciously aware of all this, all the time? Haven't you ever acted on 'autopilot'?

Quote:
It's only when the brain performs an experience (i.e. when it is "consciously aware of the tree") that we can begin to discuss the performance of colors and textures and smells and such, and only then does it make sense to speak of representations or simulations.
Are you saying there is no experience without conscious awareness of experience? Would you maintain that your subconscious brain cannot experience, and cannot learn?

Quote:
...the conscious brain does act like a simulator, because the physical activity of the brain is not the same as either the experience it produces or the target of that experience (absolutely nothing about your experience of a tree is present in the tree, and your brain does not behave like a tree).
So, you've changed your mind about this?
Quote:
.. your brain isn’t a simulator machine.
I would suggest that it isn't the conscious brain that does the simulation; the conscious brain often becomes aware of being misled and/or confused by the poor correlation between the simulation and reality (i.e. subsequent perceptions don't match the model).
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Old 21st March 2012, 11:27 AM   #3487
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Yet that is what your whole argument boils down to - an anthropomorphic metaphor i.e. "conciousness"!
Oh, give me a break.

Your arguments are not even arguments.
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Old 21st March 2012, 11:29 AM   #3488
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
"Performing this action" in the neural network results in that toe moving back and forth. What is "that toe"? Well, it's defined by your perception of the toe--which is a representation within that warm fleshy bit between your ears of the toe.
Wrong again.

And conflating again.

A behavior of the brain results, eventually, in a movement of a toe.

What is that toe? It's a flesh-and-blood thing, not a representation.

Now, if you want to talk about your experience of your own toe, that's another ball of wax. But your experience of your own toe is not what your actual toe is.
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Old 21st March 2012, 11:31 AM   #3489
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Well, I see the issue here -- you just redefined "simulation" willy-nilly and expect everyone to understand wtf you are talking about, yet you yourself don't even know.

Look at these two quotes you force me to dig from your mega post:



So you are saying the simulation "runs on" the simulator, and the simulator "runs" the simulation, but that the simulation is taking place "in" the brain of the observer?

Man I am really confused now...
I agree that you are confused.

And if you would simply stop conflating reality and symbols, your confusion would end.

The simulation requires both a simulator and a designer/observer to work, or even to exist.

Replications do not.

There is no way around that.
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Old 21st March 2012, 12:14 PM   #3490
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Wrong again.

And conflating again.
It's not wrong. You're just ignoring the most important part of it.
Quote:
A behavior of the brain results, eventually, in a movement of a toe.
But the reference isn't on your foot--it's in your brain. Your brain is doing the defining, not your foot. Your brain has to recognize that toe, or there is no reference.

The referencing is done by the brain, not the toe.
Quote:
What is that toe? It's a flesh-and-blood thing, not a representation.
No representation, no reference. Your confusing the intension and the extension. If you kill me, there's no more reference to my toe.

But the toe is still there.
Quote:
Now, if you want to talk about your experience of your own toe, that's another ball of wax. But your experience of your own toe is not what your actual toe is.
That's your straw man, yep. I used quotes for a reason, though.

There's definitely a conflation going on here, but not on this end. I know the difference between a reference and a referent.
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Old 21st March 2012, 12:29 PM   #3491
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
And if you would simply stop conflating reality and symbols, your confusion would end.
I don't know what you mean, I haven't even mentioned "symbols" in any of my posts, other than when I quote "symbolic logic," which I also don't even know what it means.

I bet you are going to tell me that even though I don't know what you are talking about, I am still doing it. Eh?

Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
The simulation requires both a simulator and a designer/observer to work, or even to exist.
Ok, that is fine.

But then what do you want to call the stuff happening in the computer after the programmer goes home for the night ?

I mean, it is different than what was happening in the computer before the programmer started it up. I can prove it is different, by just showing you that the computer uses more energy while it is doing this stuff. So at the very least we can call it something, do you not agree?

Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Replications do not.

There is no way around that.
But there is something about this that I think you still haven't addressed.

If I run a simulation of a tornado, and I output the results to a huge screen, from a distance the photons coming from the screen are almost identical in behavior to the photons coming from the tornado. If you want I can even add a pretty sky, a forest in the background. Then the photons coming from a given chunk of the horizon -- where the screen is -- are almost identical in behavior to the photons that would be coming from that chunk of the sky if there were no simulation + screen.

And I don't mean "identical" just to a human observer. They have very similar wavelengths and hence very similar energy, they are aligned in very similar ways, their numbers are very similar, etc. For all practical purposes the simulation has led to a change in the photons bouncing around our world that is very similar to the change that a real tornado makes.

So what do you call that, if it isn't "working?" Even more to the point, what do you call that, if not "existing?"

Saying that something which is producing some actual changes to the world, changes that are very similar to some of those than a tornado would cause, is neither "working" nor "existing" seems absurd to me.

I really want to hear your answer to this because I honestly don't see how your entire argument holds water even in such an easy to imagine scenario. Maybe I am crazy, I dunno.

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Old 21st March 2012, 12:49 PM   #3492
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To phrase this another way, Piggy, there's a feedback loop between what our brain causes the toes to do and what the brain perceives it is doing, and this allows the brain to infer that its own action is about the thing it perceives. The actual toe is part of this loop--that's part of how this kind of reference works. But you cannot stop at the toe wiggling in an account of reference. You must keep going until you get to the brain knowing that it is wiggling.
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Old 21st March 2012, 01:10 PM   #3493
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Man I wish I knew how to include that laughing dog gif.

I feel bad for yy2bggggs because he took the time to not only read your mega post but also to respond inline, which probably took him at least 30 minutes. And you are writing it off with this "I'm afraid it's a non-starter" dodge?

But I hope he takes some comfort in knowing that it was a very good response and anyone who takes the time to read it will instantly forget everything you said in your mega post.



Well, he isn't talking about vending machines. He is talking about consciousness and symbolic logic.

You don't think the terms "recognizes," "tokens," and "values" have anything to do with consciousness and/or symbolic logic?
It's in the Smilies under Special.
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Old 21st March 2012, 01:16 PM   #3494
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
At the moment, yes. With research, those ways become less mysterious. And although with regard to consciousness the brain's ways are much less mysterious than they were a generation ago, we still don't have answers to the most important questions.

Of course, one is free to pretend otherwise and simply believe that these problems have been solved when they haven't, but that leads one into a territory rife with dragons.
What do you think is the most important question?
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:09 PM   #3495
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
But the reference isn't on your foot--it's in your brain. Your brain is doing the defining, not your foot. Your brain has to recognize that toe, or there is no reference.
This is why I can't have conversations with you.

You don't appear to even try to follow the flow of thought.

What I'm doing here is to distinguish between what's going on in the brain and what's going on in the toe.

As usual, you simply ignore half of that equation.

Whenever I try to have discussions with you, this is where it ends up, with anything I say about the real world re-interpreted as if that is not what I had intended to discuss.

Yes, what you're saying makes sense if you happen to be talking about something that I wasn't discussing.
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:12 PM   #3496
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
What do you think is the most important question?
The two most important questions are:

What exactly is the brain doing when it performs any given experience? (Which is to say, what are the neural correlates of experience?)

Why is any given nueral correlate associated with the particular experience it correlates with, rather than some other experience, or none at all?
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:19 PM   #3497
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
To phrase this another way, Piggy, there's a feedback loop between what our brain causes the toes to do and what the brain perceives it is doing, and this allows the brain to infer that its own action is about the thing it perceives.
It's a bit more complex than that.

First, it's more of a feedback system, with loops in loops in loops, but I'm sure you know that.

More importantly, only part of the brain can "infer that its own action is about the thing it perceives"... most of the brain has no idea and doesn't care.

And even the part that is aware that "my toe is moving" isn't actually aware of anything that's actually true about the toe. It performs an experience which allows it to interact with the world and help control the body, but all of that experience is unique to the performance of the organ.

Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
The actual toe is part of this loop--that's part of how this kind of reference works. But you cannot stop at the toe wiggling in an account of reference. You must keep going until you get to the brain knowing that it is wiggling.
Yes, but let's look at the middle part of this scene here.... Most of the brain has no concept of any toe or any wiggling. And the part that does has a lag of at least a half second.

In other words, even in the brain, there is no "reference" until late in the game.
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:23 PM   #3498
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
I know the difference between a reference and a referent.
And that's part of your problem.

You're viewing the entire system in terms of references and referents.

This is a rather 19th century way of looking at the brain.

As the light bouncing off a tree hits my eyes and causes cascades of neural activity, there is, at first, no reference to anything... there is only physical behavior caused by other physical behavior.

For the same reason, there is no "image of the moon" reflected on a pond until and unless someone's there to consciously see it.

Once my brain performs the experience of seeing a tree, however, then we can start speaking about referents and references... although I still would not recommend it.

If I dream about a tree, what is the "referent" of that experience?
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:27 PM   #3499
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
That's the elephant in the room, yes. How can Piggy conclude that computation cannot produce reference if he doesn't even know what reference is?
As I've said, if you insist on viewing the process through this prism, you are going to distort your view of what's going on.

These terms carry a lot of baggage.

And the unconscious brain doesn't have any storage bins to hold it, I'm afraid.
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:35 PM   #3500
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
Why? leaving aside the symbolic label 'tree', are you suggesting the subconscious mind can't categorise, can't recognise a tree? Do you think it's only your consciousness that does all this symbolic processing? Do you think you are consciously aware of all this, all the time? Haven't you ever acted on 'autopilot'?

Are you saying there is no experience without conscious awareness of experience? Would you maintain that your subconscious brain cannot experience, and cannot learn?
There's no reason for the subconscious mind to "recognize" a tree as a tree, and if it could, it's difficult to see what consciousness evolved to do.

But that said, our non-conscious minds are engaging in imagination constantly.

It's just that our non-conscious brain has no way of knowing or understanding or caring about what it is imagining.

And we know that our non-conscious minds can learn. That's been proven in the lab.

As for experience, no, there is no experience -- which I've been using as shorthand for "conscious experience" on this thread -- without consciousness, because consciousness = experience = experiencer.
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:42 PM   #3501
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
If I run a simulation of a tornado, and I output the results to a huge screen, from a distance the photons coming from the screen are almost identical in behavior to the photons coming from the tornado. If you want I can even add a pretty sky, a forest in the background. Then the photons coming from a given chunk of the horizon -- where the screen is -- are almost identical in behavior to the photons that would be coming from that chunk of the sky if there were no simulation + screen.

And I don't mean "identical" just to a human observer. They have very similar wavelengths and hence very similar energy, they are aligned in very similar ways, their numbers are very similar, etc. For all practical purposes the simulation has led to a change in the photons bouncing around our world that is very similar to the change that a real tornado makes.

So what do you call that, if it isn't "working?" Even more to the point, what do you call that, if not "existing?"

Saying that something which is producing some actual changes to the world, changes that are very similar to some of those than a tornado would cause, is neither "working" nor "existing" seems absurd to me.

I really want to hear your answer to this because I honestly don't see how your entire argument holds water even in such an easy to imagine scenario. Maybe I am crazy, I dunno.
"Very similar" doesn't cut it.

And do you believe that the display would look similar to a tornado from the point of view of a butterfly?

I doubt it, unless you bothered to set up the output in the spectrum of butterfly optics.

No, the photons coming from that screen are not of the type and arrangement you get from a tornado... they're only good enough to fool the human eye, which is what they're designed to do.

In any case, a tornado isn't defined as the light you'd expect a tornado to emit... a tornado is a tornado.

The simulator is doing what the simulator does, which if you observe the simulator -- especially the part "running the logic" -- is not what a tornado does, which is why it's a simulation and not a replica.

The "tornado" exists only when an observer with the right sort of eyes and ears and brain views the system, and then it exists as a state of the observer's brain.

When the programmer goes home for the night, there's no tornado in the lab, only a machine doing essentially what it would be doing if it were simulating a drag race, or Frodo's journey, or the orbit of Europa.
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:44 PM   #3502
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
The two most important questions are:

What exactly is the brain doing when it performs any given experience? (Which is to say, what are the neural correlates of experience?)

Why is any given nueral correlate associated with the particular experience it correlates with, rather than some other experience, or none at all?
I just don't see how you could answer anything in terms of "neural correlates" without resorting to some sort of "this neuron activates these neurons" and "these neurons over here are doing this when that experience is being performed" language, and I fail to understand how such language is significantly different from anything we use when speaking about computers.

Can you explain that?
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Old 21st March 2012, 02:59 PM   #3503
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
"Very similar" doesn't cut it.

And do you believe that the display would look similar to a tornado from the point of view of a butterfly?

I doubt it, unless you bothered to set up the output in the spectrum of butterfly optics.
I don't need to do that, though. I didn't say similar in all respects, or even "many" respects, I said "some" respects. Restricting the output to the spectrum we can sense is fine.

Just because it is restricted doesn't imply there is an observer dependency. I can restrict the size of the explosion of a nuclear bomb to be approximately as big as that of a stick of dynamite, are you claiming then that the dynamite only blows up like the nuke if I am there to observe it?

Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
No, the photons coming from that screen are not of the type and arrangement you get from a tornado... they're only good enough to fool the human eye, which is what they're designed to do.
So ... they aren't the type and arrangement you get from a tornado, yet they can fool the human eye?

You don't see a contradiction in that statement?

Obviously if the human eye is fooled, at some level the photons are similar to those from a tornado. Why do you argue against such obvious logic?

Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
In any case, a tornado isn't defined as the light you'd expect a tornado to emit... a tornado is a tornado.
Whether the light output of a tornado is the same thing as a tornado is irrelevant, you are the only person fixated on that strawman -- move past it.

You clearly said that without an observer a simulation isn't working and doesn't even exist.

I am asking you how that can be true if the simulation objectively changes the world in at least some of the ways a tornado objectively changes the world.

Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
The simulator is doing what the simulator does, which if you observe the simulator -- especially the part "running the logic" -- is not what a tornado does, which is why it's a simulation and not a replica.
But that isn't true -- one of the things a tornado does is change photons in its environment a certain way, and the simulator clearly also changes photons in its environment a certain way. And with certain restrictions applied, those two sets of changes are very similar.

Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
The "tornado" exists only when an observer with the right sort of eyes and ears and brain views the system, and then it exists as a state of the observer's brain.

When the programmer goes home for the night, there's no tornado in the lab, only a machine doing essentially what it would be doing if it were simulating a drag race, or Frodo's journey, or the orbit of Europa.
Except if it were simulating a drag race, it would cease to generate changes in the environment, in a restricted sense, similar to those of a tornado. Yeah you could narrow the restrictions down to almost nothing and then it would be equivalent, but that is irrelevant.

What you seem to be doing is arbitrarily deciding that photons don't matter, or only matter if they are "close enough." Don't you get sick of arbitrary rules you make up to win arguments?

How about if we hook up a big fan to the simulation -- so now both photons and wind speed at some distance from the simulator happen to be close to that of a tornado. Sound, too? That is easy. Hey, I can even add seismic vibrations. By now even the forest animals will be running from cover -- yet it is only a simulation.

At what point does this thing become something that is "working" and "exists?" Are you going to keep moving the goalposts for team arbitrary?

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Old 21st March 2012, 03:03 PM   #3504
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
I just don't see how you could answer anything in terms of "neural correlates" without resorting to some sort of "this neuron activates these neurons" and "these neurons over here are doing this when that experience is being performed" language, and I fail to understand how such language is significantly different from anything we use when speaking about computers.

Can you explain that?
Seems that Piggy, et. al. will go to any lengths to deny that it's all just electro-chemical reactions.
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Old 21st March 2012, 04:56 PM   #3505
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
And that's part of your problem.

You're viewing the entire system in terms of references and referents.
No, Piggy. That's another straw man you constructed.

I'm simply telling you how reference works.
Quote:
As the light bouncing off a tree hits my eyes and causes cascades of neural activity, there is, at first, no reference to anything...
Of course not. The reference is constructed by your brain.
Quote:
For the same reason, there is no "image of the moon" reflected on a pond until and unless someone's there to consciously see it.
Nonsense. All of this reference building business is part of agency, and not what you're considering the conscious mind. The references are constructed, and can even be acted upon, without any conscious awareness of it.
Quote:

If I dream about a tree, what is the "referent" of that experience?
Easy. There is none.

Now how did you know it was a tree you dreamed of as opposed to, say, a herd of elephants? What's the difference between dreaming of a tree and dreaming of a herd of elephants, and why does it make sense to say your dream was a dream of a tree in the first place?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 06:28 AM   #3506
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Seems that Piggy, et. al. will go to any lengths to deny that it's all just electro-chemical reactions.
Yes but do we know all these reactions? and the emergent properties of living chemistry involved?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 06:30 AM   #3507
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Seems that Piggy, et. al. will go to any lengths to deny that it's all just electro-chemical reactions.

Tsig,

To answer your above post there are multiple points to be made.

1- I keep telling you that you need to read posts a little better than just skimming so that you can actually get what the posters are saying before you comment on what they are saying based upon incomplete knowledge due to incomplete and inaccurate reading of what they wrote.

See these few posts that I alone made that prove how wrong your above assertion is.

Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Pebbles are not BIOLOGICAL things and thus they require a motivator. Biological things move and grow and are ACTIVE PROCESSES in and of themselves (due to active chemical and electrical engines).
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
It is possibly an emergent synergetic property of the critical mass of complexity that the brain bundle has evolved to be. It is perhaps the result of all the positive and negative feedback loops of all the sensory input and output signals combined with the attenuation, convolution, augmentation, reverberation, initiation and relaying of electrochemical signals combined with cross talk and cross sparking between various and all parts of the closely INTERTWINED and CONVOLUTED BUNDLE of matter called the brain.
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
That is all there is to it....that is what happens in us.... certain parts react to something which will cause them to trigger the release of chemicals that affect the FIRINGS OF OUR NEURONS in a certain way.
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
That is not the case with the neurons.... the chemicals actually affect how they fire and how often they fire.

So unlike a transistor for instance which as used in computers is either on or off, and the switching rate is fixed, the neuron can change the firing rate depending on the presence or not of certain chemicals and the amount of these chemicals. Also different chemicals make different situations.

So the INFORMATION STATES of a neuron are not just binary one bit. Rather it is a combination of binary and analog as well as being MANY BITS of states due to various chemicals.

In other words the information content of a Neuron is orders of magnitude more than a transistor and that is discounting the analog aspect of chemical quantities.


2- At the risk of repeating yet again what I have already repeated multiple times and have been labeled a kook for doing it.... I remind you that if you are so sure of what consciousness "just" is then I suggest that you go inform the 5 neuroscientists quoted below. I am sure they would be eternally grateful and might even reward you for it. Or at the very least maybe you should write a scientific paper in one of the neuroscience journals.

So as you see, "Piggy et al" are in quite a good company when they do not adamantly and hubristically assert that "it's all just electro-chemical reactions" since apparently neuroscientists who are working on the matter are to be included in the "et al" part.
Originally Posted by annnnoid View Post
...a quote from a book on human brain function written by 5 neuroscientists:

"We have no idea how consciousness emerges from the physical activity of the brain and we do not know whether consciousness can emerge from non-biological systems, such as computers... At this point the reader will expect to find a careful and precise definition of consciousness. You will be disappointed. Consciousness has not yet become a scientific term that can be defined in this way. Currently we all use the term consciousness in many different and often ambiguous ways. Precise definitions of different aspects of consciousness will emerge ... but to make precise definitions at this stage is premature."

3- Even if it is "just" electrochemical reactions.... where are the electrochemical reactions that are taking place in a computer simulation?

Remember that the debate is now about whether a computer simulation might be sufficient to produce consciousness or not. "Piggy et al" assert that it is not, precisely because it might be that the "electrochemical reactions" and other things we do not yet quite know well enough (unlike you of course who is sure it is "just" that) are what is required for consciousness to emerge in the machine and which are missing in the computer as it is simulating.

That is precisely what "Piggy et al" are CONJECTURING.... that an EMULATION might be required rather than a simulation because replicating some of the "electrochemical reactions" among other things could turn out to be what is necessary for consciousness to emerge in a manmade machine and thus a computer simulation would be incapable of achieving the necessary PHYSICS that may prove to be what is required.

4- Regardless of what you might think... there are currently no existing conscious manmade machines except in the IMAGINATION of people who seem to keep conflating science FICTION with reality.

So any conjectures made on any side of the debate are just that….guessing…. and when guessing is the game then guesses based on REALITY and FACTS are usually more likely to turn out to be true than ones based upon wishful thinking, imagination and fictive scenarios.

Tron and Terminator are just movies of science FICTION.

Regardless of any assertions to the contrary....there are no conscious entities running around inside computers being blown about by destructive tornados.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 06:57 AM   #3508
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
No, Piggy. That's another straw man you constructed.

I'm simply telling you how reference works.
Of course not. The reference is constructed by your brain.Nonsense. All of this reference building business is part of agency, and not what you're considering the conscious mind. The references are constructed, and can even be acted upon, without any conscious awareness of it.

Easy. There is none.

Now how did you know it was a tree you dreamed of as opposed to, say, a herd of elephants? What's the difference between dreaming of a tree and dreaming of a herd of elephants, and why does it make sense to say your dream was a dream of a tree in the first place?
As it looks as though the discussion of this point of dispute is drawing to a close. Perhaps I can now introduce another point which focusses more on the link between intelligence and consciousness, bringing the discussion back to consciousness.

Now I'm not going to bring up qualia as it causes heated debate and I don't see much relevance for consciousness with it. Qualia is of issue in a discussion of experience, which I'm not addressing.

My point is to do with knowing, being and the self

I know that I am looking at a reflection of the moon in a puddle, or I prefer to consider seeing a reflection of the moon in a dew drop.

Also I am being present, I have presence in the physical realm in which the moon and the dewdrop are, in time and space.

Also I am, the entity being present knowing both myself, my existence, my existence in the physical realm and the existence which appears as the reflection in the dewdrop.

In what sense can these qualities to attributed to an intelligent computer?

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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:17 AM   #3509
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post

That is precisely what "Piggy et al" are CONJECTURING.... that an EMULATION might be required rather than a simulation because replicating some of the "electrochemical reactions" among other things could turn out to be what is necessary for consciousness to emerge in a manmade machine and thus a computer simulation would be incapable of achieving the necessary PHYSICS that may prove to be what is required.
Yeah we get it.

And our position is that piggy doesn't really know what he is talking about when he tries to make arbitrary distinctions between emulation and simulation.

Why don't you google "emulation versus simulation" and see for yourself if it is as cut and dry as piggy has been claiming ?

Oh, and you might be interested in the fact that according to wikipedia "emulation" doesn't even have meaning outside of computing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator

The fact is, piggy is just making most of this stuff up on the fly to try and support his argument. That is fine -- I do similar stuff all the time. However, if one is going to make stuff up, it means one could possibly be wrong. In this case, someone is definitely wrong -- on many points.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:28 AM   #3510
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Yes but do we know all these reactions? and the emergent properties of living chemistry involved?
Well, we know that all the reactions are at least the same kind of reactions we see in other stuff. Meaning, no magic reactions.

We also know that at some level the emergent properties are irrelevant -- stuff that emerges too slow, or on too small a scale, we can safely ignore. Yeah that might "flavor" experience and consciousness, but it doesn't start it or prevent it, because we experience and think pretty quick and pretty strong -- whole neurons get activated, and in fractions of a second.

Finally we can easily look at the difference between a conscious person and an unconscious one. People who are awake, or dreaming, have drastically different neural activity than those who just got hit with a hammer ( or are braindead ).

So -- connect the dots. The only significant difference we are able to detect, given what is actually fairly exhaustive technology at this point, is the pattern of neural activation in the brain. There is no significant correlation when it comes to consciousness vs. non-consciousness in any other aspect of the brain.

Now, you might argue that perhaps there is more to the patterns than we think, and that would be at least a plausible argument, a step in the right direction. It turns out that there isn't more to the patterns than we think, though, so although plausible it is just incorrect. We can have a discussion about that if you would like.

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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:31 AM   #3511
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post

In what sense can these qualities to attributed to an intelligent computer?
Well, first you should try to figure out exactly what those qualities entail in yourself.

Here is a good start -- try to imagine what your consciousness would be like if you had no sensory perception. From birth. Try to imagine what your thoughts would even be like if there was no vision, no hearing, no taste, no feeling, nothing. Not just sensory deprivation, but sensory non-existence.

Do you think you would be conscious in the same way as you are now, in that scenario?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:22 PM   #3512
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Seems that Piggy, et. al. will go to any lengths to deny that it's all just electro-chemical reactions.
Um... you seem to have misunderstood our point, which is precisely that this is all that it is.

We ask for nothing more.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:27 PM   #3513
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
I just don't see how you could answer anything in terms of "neural correlates" without resorting to some sort of "this neuron activates these neurons" and "these neurons over here are doing this when that experience is being performed" language, and I fail to understand how such language is significantly different from anything we use when speaking about computers.

Can you explain that?
Yes, but I hope it won't be too long a read for you.

I stopped a draft reply last night for that reason, but plan to pick it up again this evening.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:34 PM   #3514
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
I don't need to do that, though. I didn't say similar in all respects, or even "many" respects, I said "some" respects. Restricting the output to the spectrum we can sense is fine.

Just because it is restricted doesn't imply there is an observer dependency. I can restrict the size of the explosion of a nuclear bomb to be approximately as big as that of a stick of dynamite, are you claiming then that the dynamite only blows up like the nuke if I am there to observe it?
The difference between this and the simulation is that you have a real explosion in both cases.

If you recall, in my "mega post" I used doll furniture as one example of a scale replica.

But you're trying to say that the simulated tornado is a real tornado because it gives off light patterns which are similar in some respects. That's so silly it's not even worth discussing.

When we describe the simulator, it's chips and voltage potentials and monitors.

When we describe the simulation, it's high winds and funnel clouds and moisture.

Those are 2 different systems, and you can't claim that the same matter and energy are somehow really producing both.

We can observe and measure the simulator, and nowhere will we find any high winds, water, and funnel clouds.

These exist only in the mind of the observer, and more specifically only in the mind of an observer with the right kind of eyes and brain.

Period.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:41 PM   #3515
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
Nonsense. All of this reference building business is part of agency, and not what you're considering the conscious mind. The references are constructed, and can even be acted upon, without any conscious awareness of it.
The activity of the brain, in the case of conscious perception of the outside world, is linked both to the outside world and to the performance of experience. This allows the body to deal effectively with the rest of reality.

Taken as a whole, this system can be said to include a reference and referent. However, we should keep in mind that the human experience of the tree bears no actual resemblance to the tree -- it's made up entirely of things that have no existence outside of experience (color, odor, sound, texture, etc.).

Of course, if we wanted to we could also describe the ripples in a pond as being referred from a pebble dropped in the water, and we could describe the encoding of information about the pebble in the resulting wave pattern.

What's going on in the non-conscious brain is like the second example, which is why it can be problematic to talk about references and referents when it comes to the non-conscious (or pre-conscious or para-conscious) activity of the brain.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:44 PM   #3516
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
The fact is, piggy is just making most of this stuff up on the fly to try and support his argument. That is fine -- I do similar stuff all the time. However, if one is going to make stuff up, it means one could possibly be wrong. In this case, someone is definitely wrong -- on many points.
My argument is supported by the laws of physics, so I'm not worried on that count.

And the fact that your arguments are not supported by neurobiology is telling.

As for simulation and emulation, I prefer the terms simulation and replica, which I think are going to be much more easily understood by most people.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:58 PM   #3517
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Seems that Piggy, et. al. will go to any lengths to deny that it's all just electro-chemical reactions.
Which are of course identical to things which aren't electro-chemical reactions. Er... what's wrong with this picture?

It's "Piggy et al." who are saying that something about these particular electro-chemical reactions might be important. It's "Pixy et al." who are insisting that even though the brain is electro-chemical in function, we can just ignore that aspect of it, provided that the broad schematic functionality is analogous.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 02:17 PM   #3518
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
The difference between this and the simulation is that you have a real explosion in both cases.

If you recall, in my "mega post" I used doll furniture as one example of a scale replica.

But you're trying to say that the simulated tornado is a real tornado because it gives off light patterns which are similar in some respects. That's so silly it's not even worth discussing.

When we describe the simulator, it's chips and voltage potentials and monitors.

When we describe the simulation, it's high winds and funnel clouds and moisture.

Those are 2 different systems, and you can't claim that the same matter and energy are somehow really producing both.

We can observe and measure the simulator, and nowhere will we find any high winds, water, and funnel clouds.

These exist only in the mind of the observer, and more specifically only in the mind of an observer with the right kind of eyes and brain.

Period.


The fact that you even have to explain that, is in itself mind boggling.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 02:31 PM   #3519
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
The classic AI 101 example is tic-tac-toe. Since this is a very tractable game, it's easy to program a player for this game that simply gives a specific programmed response to each opposing move. Such responses are not considered intelligent because, whereas this program does indeed evaluate an environment, it does not "figure out what to do". An intelligent approach would have the tic-tac-toe playing program analyze the puzzle space, compare possible moves to others using some sort of algorithm, and move according to the result of this analysis.

The intelligent approach is necessary to program a decent chess playing game, since in this case, the problem is pragmatically intractable beyond something akin to an open book.
It's interesting that you here explicitly state that the means by which an outcome is reached are of more significance than the outcome itself. Thus one program can use intelligence to produce an outcome, while another can use brute force. To the external observer, of course, both will behave identically.

I will point out that this analysis contradicts a purely behavioural view of consciousness, whereby if an entity shares the behaviour of a conscious organism, then it perforce is conscious.

There's an obvious contradiction between these two viewpoints.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 02:37 PM   #3520
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Yes, exactly, in that higher-pitched and carefully-enunciated tone common to all languages which means "this is what you should be saying."

Who says kids aren't programmed?
The grammatical errors that all children make when speaking are an indication that of intelligence that perfect reproduction of adult speech patterns would not demonstrate. In order for a child to make a grammatical error, she would need to analyse speech and deduce the rules of language, and then use those rules to produce a new form of speech that she has never heard before. If you listen carefully to the kinds of errors that children make when speaking, they invariably involve a more logical form of language than that which their parents speak. Even if entirely uncorrected, children will learn more and more rules and special cases as they go on.
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