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cw10
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12 Dec 2011, 7:09 am

ruveyn wrote:
cw10 wrote:
I started to think about how light interacts with spacetime in relation to thought. I've often wondered why a moment can seem like an eternity. I'm sure there's a rational Einsteinian explanation for this phenomenon. Something like how electrical fields in your mind interact at near the speed of light and thus having a near infinite amount of time to compute relative to the gray matter in your head which isn't moving so fast.


All the laws of physics, as observed would be "normal" if you were moving at a uniform velocity. It is impossible to distinguish one inertial from of reference from another by making internal observations.

ruveyn


Indeed.

Though we do think with electricity essentially, and that in and of itself is beyond normal human experience.

Though I'm not sure I entirely agree with you. Being that thought itself is a frame of reference. We are the observers through the medium, that medium being matter which can't operate anywhere near the speed of light. Thought is very much capable of several million times more calculations than the surrounding and supporting brain matter, so relatively your gray matter is standing still while it's doing it's chemical thing to what's going on electrically.

Essentially your mind is running circles around your brain when it comes to thought. The thought trapping going on can only sample your thoughts every so often due to the limitations of biology. Maybe that's why you loose your train of thought, it gets derailed missing an important piece of the data that's being generated electrically. Brain lag? Why not. It's a machine subject to the same issues a computer might have, except your brain doesn't have wait states.

Yeah let me go on Ruveyn. You make me think too much.



ruveyn
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12 Dec 2011, 11:40 am

cw10 wrote:

Though I'm not sure I entirely agree with you. Being that thought itself is a frame of reference..


No it isn't. But the center of mass of your brain might serve as the origin of a frame or reference.

ruveyn



graywyvern
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12 Dec 2011, 12:49 pm

don't need this noun.

the ego is a matter of boundaries drawn, some of them more permeable than others. it is possible to "sit back" & watch things happen, even in the innermost citadel; to disown one's voice. then what remains? the habit of description. cliches of conceptuality. the old binary pairs, starting with "inside" & "outside".

we know that perception occurs, in the beings that live & whose lives depend on being elusive. sometimes our instruments correlate, such as photometers, to the point where we can declare that "light" is something both "internal" & "external". to the instruments: photons. to the mind: brightness. but what explanations are good for, lies elsewhere. we can perfect a machine that turns light into data; we can sharpen our senses, too. what kind of story could we tell, that would make the brightness collapse into one thing, light? is it enough to measure that reaction begins before the advent of willing it? then we are (meat-) robots who believe we are free. that still leaves us wondering why we do so, how belief works, & what robots are, that they should have such pretensions.

on the other hand, as Roethke said: "Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries."


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cw10
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12 Dec 2011, 9:18 pm

ruveyn wrote:
cw10 wrote:

Though I'm not sure I entirely agree with you. Being that thought itself is a frame of reference..


No it isn't. But the center of mass of your brain might serve as the origin of a frame or reference.

ruveyn


I can see that.



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13 Dec 2011, 7:34 am

Indeed the problem is we cannot test whether we are 'consciousness' or not. (A non-conscious robot known as p-zombie can 'conclude' it is conscious).

We just believe we are.



techstepgenr8tion
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13 Dec 2011, 9:06 am

Robdemanc wrote:
Susan Blackmore is very articulate and I have a great interest in neuroscience. I can appreciate their standpoint in that they are fairly confident that consciousness is the product of the brain. But I have a problem when they say it is an illusion. Although I can see where they come from it leaves a question: Who or what is having the illusion?

Lol, I was thinking the same thing. If its the first and only thing we 'experience' and without it we'd have nothing to hallucinate, to say as much seems like they're taffy-pulling definitions.

The hardest part in sorting out the consciousness puzzle IMO is that, in essence, we *are* consciousness. When the machine stops we stop and that seems to give fair indication that we're not the hardware, we may not necessarily even be the operating system but perhaps even the energy playing around in the 0'sand 1's of nature's nanotech.


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13 Dec 2011, 9:49 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Robdemanc wrote:
Susan Blackmore is very articulate and I have a great interest in neuroscience. I can appreciate their standpoint in that they are fairly confident that consciousness is the product of the brain. But I have a problem when they say it is an illusion. Although I can see where they come from it leaves a question: Who or what is having the illusion?

Lol, I was thinking the same thing. If its the first and only thing we 'experience' and without it we'd have nothing to hallucinate, to say as much seems like they're taffy-pulling definitions.

The hardest part in sorting out the consciousness puzzle IMO is that, in essence, we *are* consciousness. When the machine stops we stop and that seems to give fair indication that we're not the hardware, we may not necessarily even be the operating system but perhaps even the energy playing around in the 0'sand 1's of nature's nanotech.


I never heard of taffy pulling but looked it up and I think you are right.

I'll take a stab and make a deffo of consciousness: An energy (perhaps electromagnetic) that logically arranges matter in order to interpret the electromagnetic energy being emitted by other arrangements of matter.

Now we just need to work out what is meant by energy and matter.



techstepgenr8tion
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13 Dec 2011, 11:15 am

Robdemanc wrote:
I'll take a stab and make a deffo of consciousness: An energy (perhaps electromagnetic) that logically arranges matter in order to interpret the electromagnetic energy being emitted by other arrangements of matter.

Now we just need to work out what is meant by energy and matter.

Its tough for me to take too much of an attempt simply because I'm not sure exactly how integral and vital consciousness in and of itself. For instance - with AI - could clearly see the possibility for not only fully functioning philosophical zombies but ones that are far superior to us in every way - even at acting like us, outwitting us, seducing us, controlling us, you name it; then again this would be because we designed them to operate from hard matter and then gather data where their world was shaped and driven by us. For nature to cough up a philosophical zombie in a human shell I'm really not sure what would happen - whether they'd be indifferentiable from the real thing or whether they'd be catatonic.

For the last part, the more I think about it the more I have to doubt that they'd be perfectly identical. At a minimum they'd have the kind of relationship to existential angst and nihilism issues that sociopaths have to empathy - it would be relevant up until where what people thought of them mattered for their own safety perhaps but that's it. Then again - drilling down farther - it seems like the core of motivation itself is a reaction to some type of pain, some type of unpleasant internal nagging, sometimes external as well although that seems to have only secondary necessity. If a biological organism can't feel, can't consciously ponder, the odds of it being vegitative seem pretty good.

If I were to say that consciousness is manifested as the core processor of a biological organism to interract with its environment - that might be a sensible observation on my part, but it still would say anything about *what* consciousness is. I have to negate possibly what I said earlier as well, as in I've toyed with the idea that its only energy but if that were the case we'd likely be human for a minute or two, we'd depart, and there may be no consistency in what the organism would actually do. It could just be a combination of hardware and software but that seems to put it beyond our reach of understanding as we don't have any other models for such teleology outside of living systems - or at least which we can perceive.


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13 Dec 2011, 12:40 pm

i lived with a rabbit for awhile, named "Burroughs"; we had an accommodation. B. had a compulsion to dig for a certain length of time every day (i attributed it to the need of females who dig burrows in the wild but B. never actually said), while i had to be absent for a certain number of hours so i could continue to pay for the apartment.

B. was aware of me in some ways but not in others. for instance, running in a circle around my feet as a rabbit-greeting. crawling into my lap to have her ears scratched. becoming frightened if i moved too quickly or made more than a little sound. it made no difference to B. whether i spoke English or Lojban, as long as it was softly.

on my part, i could describe rabbit-consciousness as having a great sensitivity but not much depth. being alert more of the time than i as a human was ever alert. subject to compulsions more than i was (i could even put off eating & sleeping if i had enough reason to) but not different in kind: there were definitely things i strongly wanted & didn't want. and i knew my own behavior was extensively patterned as well.

when i sat unmoving for long periods of time, with a book or notebook in my hand, i was convinced i was making journeys, though i couldn't always justify them with map-location. when B. sat still, or just grinding her teeth, no doubt she thought something important was also being accomplished.

i can see this through the eyes of another, perhaps i can even imagine one to whom my own consciousness would seem as limited as a rabbit's.


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techstepgenr8tion
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13 Dec 2011, 12:55 pm

^^
Quite often it would seem rabbit priorities are significantly more streamlined and efficient than our own. Then again with the way they breed I could one of these days we may have one trying to interview for my job - not super likely for the time being but I can't rule it out entirely.


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13 Dec 2011, 1:32 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
For instance - with AI - could clearly see the possibility for not only fully functioning philosophical zombies but ones that are far superior to us in every way - even at acting like us, outwitting us, seducing us, controlling us, you name it; then again this would be because we designed them to operate from hard matter and then gather data where their world was shaped and driven by us.


That would be cool if we could create AI robots that looked human and have them seduce us LOL. If they were designed not to give much facial expressions and avoid aimless chit chat they would be perfect for me. :-)



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13 Dec 2011, 1:35 pm

Back to serious speculation. I once heard the idea that consciousness could be the result of the brain creating a model of the organism it belongs to in order to make sense of the world it lives in. So it would have a model of itself and as something seperate from the outside world. I can go for that one too.



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13 Dec 2011, 1:54 pm

John Lilly, starting with his curious book, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer (now quite scarce), explored the metaphor of consciousness as a set of nested simulations, roughly: the simulation of a "self" & its concerns, within the simulation of a "world" & its various realms, like the skins of an onion. his LSD experiments led him to believe & experience that these simulations were mutable & to some extent able to be transformed by the subject. i think too much can be made of a metaphor, but it is worthwhile considering this in relation to other, neurological theories. certainly the ancient notion of "will" consists much in attributing some part of what seems to transpire, & not some other part, to the agency of a central observer.

what's useful to me in all this is how it can be adapted to changes in perception. i can imagine that the motion of my hand is not "mine"--or the contrails of a jet in the sky as part of "me" (consider the emergence of ecology...). elsewhere i have observed that dogs know "mine" but not "I". probably rabbits know something like "dangerously" & "safely", "tastily" & "distastefully".

humans set great store in distinguishing "things that make sense" from "things that don't make sense" in their quotidian experience; to me this is not unlike looking for something in your house that you know is there but can't find it: do you say, "it's hiding from me" or "i just haven't found it yet"?


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13 Dec 2011, 2:07 pm

graywyvern wrote:
John Lilly, starting with his curious book, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer (now quite scarce), explored the metaphor of consciousness as a set of nested simulations, roughly: the simulation of a "self" & its concerns, within the simulation of a "world" & its various realms, like the skins of an onion. his LSD experiments led him to believe & experience that these simulations were mutable & to some extent able to be transformed by the subject.


What do you mean "mutable and to some extent able to be transformed by the subject"? The people on LSD were able to explore these nested simulations of consciousness and change them?



techstepgenr8tion
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13 Dec 2011, 2:24 pm

Robdemanc wrote:
That would be cool if we could create AI robots that looked human and have them seduce us LOL. If they were designed not to give much facial expressions and avoid aimless chit chat they would be perfect for me. :-)

Lol, more like super-super-super-NT's who are all 10/10's because they design their own looks, probably have three times the expression depth because they contructed the mechanics of their own faces, have stocked fermones that they'd release much more efficiently than we'd ever be able to - all that on top of dealing with a race that's several times faster than us, stronger than us, and thousands of times better than us at anything we do - yet philosophical zombies nonetheless. No worries on them reading an aspie to know what he or she wants before they even realize they want it - you'd try to outcorner em and realize its just impossible. The other fun part - no human rules to what goes into them; you could get pricked by a concealed needle or shanked by a consealed blade on touch if they ever deemed it fit.

think that's why there may be a point to the possibility that if we did create such AI and let them oversee their own course in history - we may be looking at a hard or soft genocide; soft genocide perhaps being one where they try letting us live our lives out but running our lives to where we each have an AI S.O. to keep us in check and under control (and from breeding); all while likely arguing that they're build AI's that resemble our best characteristics, that we will essentially have progeny but that they'll be silicon based and that they're doing us this angelic favor by relieving the future of our suffering; thats of course if they for some reason end up acting out gratitude rather than just saying "F' it, that's too much work - time to dig the ditches!".

Either way - this and 'gray goo' are both pretty big issues. We might see it within our lifetimes with nanotech where some public official goes to a sandwich shop, gets in their car, leaves, and in a puff of red mist he or she is gone; imagine trying to quarantine that!


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13 Dec 2011, 4:19 pm

Robdemanc wrote:
What do you mean "mutable and to some extent able to be transformed by the subject"? The people on LSD were able to explore these nested simulations of consciousness and change them?


Besides connecting themselves to external phenomena (the sensation of pantheism) they were able to convince themselves they were different size or shape than they actually were, if i recall correctly. And then they perceived in accordance with what they believed. "Journeys out of the body" is perhaps the archetypal transformation; i prefer to remind myself of the urban legend from my childhood, of the hippie who thought he was an orange, & is now comatose in a mental institution...

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/drugs/orange.asp

(The movie Altered States is based on one of Lilly's taller tales.)


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