Is consciousness biological?

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This topic contains 75 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 2 months, 4 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 76 total)
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  • #39017

    _Robert_
    Participant
    #39018

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    structural changes in the brain

    I think my memory cells were wiped out by 25 years of suicidal depression (I’m fine now, but can’t remember much.  On the other hand, there wasn’t much to remember).

    #39019

    michael17
    Participant

    Your brain is not a computer…..

    The brain is more complex than a computer. Just from its geometric connections, as Roger Penrose points in, “The Emperor’s New Mind”, It has a very high level of aperiodic tiling compare with quasicrystals. Personally, I studied aperiodic tiling in a paper submitted to Physical Review A. I studied the aperiodic tiling of trinomino systems which is essentially a capital T form. I discovered that the mathematics is multi-spatial  , i.e, the summation of linearly in dependent vector spaces. I show that one tiling solution was the summation of 3 vector spaces.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  michael17.
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  michael17.
    #39022

    Davis
    Moderator

    I am fully aware, and I have said multiple times now that the human brain functions very differently to a computer. I still do not see why it cannot eventually be reproduced (or an equivalent or even better one) through circuitry. We do not even need to fully understand the brain to create artificial intelligence in a digital medium. Again, we have already created pseudo-intelligence systems, often by leaving it on its own to develop and not even being able to understand the result or even how it works.

    #39023

    jakelafort
    Participant

    The brain is not a computer.

    Evolution of artificial intelligence may well result in a greater departure from its origins than the building blocks of biology compared to biology hundreds of millions of years since its origin. And since we have no knowledge of what sparks consciousness in biology we have no way to know what may create consciousness in artificial intelligence, whether programming will ultimately impose ANY PARAMETERS and no way of knowing how dissimilar the attributes of consciousness will play out. Projecting from our own experience may have zero probative value in speculating what will or may develop.

    #39024

    Unseen
    Participant

    what hope do we have if they are melevolent?

    Malevolence is aggressive self-interest, winning out and achieving one’s goals at the express expense of others. In humans, if it’s pervasive, this is because of personality disorders. We already have computer viruses that behave like this.

    True malevolence is far darker than that. Take the parable of the scorpion and frog. To wit:

    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
    scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
    frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
    says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
    the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
    paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
    but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

    The point should be obvious: Self-interest isn’t a necessary component of malevolence.

    A few examples from the news: Someone pushes a stranger in front of a subway train or vehicle on the road. Dropping heavy rocks onto random cars from a freeway overpass. Torturing and maiming a cat. Serial killing. Defacing a Jewish person’s garage door by spray-painting a swastika on it.

    There may be some sophistical speculations as to self-interest in each of those cases, but they certainly are not apparent. When we speak of “evil,” which is another word for malevolence, it is this sort of harm done absent self-interest which provides the optimal sort of example.

    #39025

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    There may be some sophistical speculations as to self-interest in each of those cases, but they certainly are not apparent. When we speak of “evil,” which is another word for malevolence, it is this sort of harm done absent self-interest which provides the optimal sort of example.

    Yes, but the self-interest is inherent in the relativity of evolutionary fitness, i.e., natural selection works on the relative advantage of individuals over other individuals.  Fitness benefits give us pleasure; fitness benefits are relative; relative benefits over others give us pleasure.  So, if I bitch out some random stranger, this can make me feel better if I am so disposed.

    I think that people who are congenitally malevolent are suffering a cooperation failure.

    #39039

    Unseen
    Participant

    I think that people who are congenitally malevolent are suffering a cooperation failure.

    Bitching out a stranger is hardly malevolence. It’s not evil. I can be someone reacting to a bad day.

    Suppose someone on an impulse pushes a stranger in front of a train or grabs a stray cat tosses gasoline on it and lights it. That isn’t someone having a bad day. That is the enjoyment of causing harm.

    #39040

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Fellow Unbelievers,

    I had once read, I believe it may have been from Carl Sagan, that the number of possible combinations of neurons in the human brain sending signals across axions and dendrites is some number times 10 to the 27th power.  (That’s the number plus 27 Zeroes behind it.)

    This number of possible combinations prevents the possibility that any two humans–who ever lived, who lived now, or who ever will live–did, can, or ever will think totally alike.

    If it is impossible for any two humans to ever think totally alike, then it would equally be impossible to replicate those same patterns of thought, even if it were possible to accurately replicate a human brain, either by cloning a biological brain or by making a synthetic cyborg brain.

    Hence, while consciousness may be biological, or electro-chemical, it would still not be a universal or uniform thing across all conscious beings and would certainly be subject to change based on all kinds of factors that could affect it.

    And now, for your dining, dancing, and thought-chewing pleasure is this little Lou Reed ditty from from the movie White Nights:

    My Love Is Chemical by Lou Reed

    #39041

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Suppose someone on an impulse pushes a stranger in front of a train or grabs a stray cat tosses gasoline on it and lights it. That isn’t someone having a bad day. That is the enjoyment of causing harm.

    It still amounts to a relative advantage over another being.  In non-cooperative people, this causes pleasure.

    #39052

    Unseen
    Participant

    If it is impossible for any two humans to ever think totally alike, then it would equally be impossible to replicate those same patterns of thought, even if it were possible to accurately replicate a human brain, either by cloning a biological brain or by making a synthetic cyborg brain.

    Hence, while consciousness may be biological, or electro-chemical, it would still not be a universal or uniform thing across all conscious beings and would certainly be subject to change based on all kinds of factors that could affect it.

    Replicating a single person, which seems to be what you are talking about, is not an issue and wouldn’t be germane here even if it were possible. More at issue is replicating HOW a species (in this case homo sapiens) thinks or how a species behaves while thinking (how thinking SEEMS from the outside).

    But thinking and consciousness are two different things, aren’t they? There’s a relationship in that people don’t seem to be able to think while they are unconscious, though that would be hard to prove. Often, after a night’s sleep, people wake up with a new insight or approach to an obstacle they had been facing. Right? So, we may not be fully unconscious while sleeping.

    Should we have an AI that is a whiz at thinking, would that alone mean there’s a “thinking being” inside the machine which is or can be conscious of its thinking?

    I don’t think so.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Unseen.
    #39053

    Unseen
    Participant

    Suppose someone on an impulse pushes a stranger in front of a train or grabs a stray cat tosses gasoline on it and lights it. That isn’t someone having a bad day. That is the enjoyment of causing harm.

    It still amounts to a relative advantage over another being. In non-cooperative people, this causes pleasure.

    What “advantage” (benefit) does one derive from killing a person or a cat? Okay, I burned a cat horrifically or I pushed a woman and her baby carriage in front of a train. I can now go home secure in being better off how, beyond being able enjoy thinking about what I did over and over?

    Sophistry is where you provide questionable arguments in support of a flimsy proposition. I feel that you are engaging in sophistry here. Though maybe you need to explain your theory better, too.

    #39055

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    What “advantage” (benefit) does one derive from killing a person or a cat?

    The advantage is relative.  Natural selection selects for relative advantage over others.  Fitness benefits, where natural selection smiles on us, result in pleasure.  Here’s a quote from Frans de Waal, which maybe explains it better.

    Natural selection works on every individual’s relative advantage compared with others; hence, gaining an absolute benefit is insufficient. If individuals were satisfied with any absolute benefit, they might still face negative fitness consequences if they were doing less well than competing others. It makes sense, therefore, to compare one’s gains with those of others.

    That’s why fairness is such a challenge: everybody’s relative advantages need to be evened out.

    Also, fitness benefit = thriving more, and thriving more = pleasure.

    #39056

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Here’s the basis of my theory of why people enjoy hurting others.  It ties up:

    – the theory of emotions, where moving closer to a goal results in positive feelings (i.e., pleasure).

    – the theory of natural selection, where fitness benefits are both absolute and relative.

    – the theory of the pressure to thrive, where thriving = both achieving goals and achieving fitness benefits.

    Hence, relative fitness benefit = pleasure.

    #39057

    Unseen
    Participant

    What “advantage” (benefit) does one derive from killing a person or a cat?

    The advantage is relative. Natural selection selects for relative advantage over others. Fitness benefits, where natural selection smiles on us, result in pleasure. Here’s a quote from Frans de Waal, which maybe explains it better.

    Your arguments have nothing to do with evolution. Burning a cat alive doesn’t pass my genes along any better than a person who would find such a thing repulsive, and that certainly includes females.

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