More on Consciousness

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Glen D 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #26671

    Unseen
    Participant

    First, the sexiest mathematician I’ve ever seen discusses whether machines could be conscious. This is followed by some questions that were asked in a comment on her video.

    The comment:

    Medical science knows that people can function with only half a brain. It’s happened. Now, suppose in the future one could take ypur brain, divide it, and put each half in a different human skull. Assuming both of these humans conscious, what would that feel like to you? Would you even exist anymore? What does this imply for a theory of consciousness?

    #26679

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Why would anyone assume consciousness has space limitations? Skulls have nothing to do with it. If you could connect the nerves in those two skulls with half brains to one body, it would all work. As an engineer this supposed dilemma is nonsense. Plus you are a sexist pig, Unseen. You are not supposed to notice when mathematicians have tits.

    #26682

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    It’d be similar to two people but like twins. Except that there are some brain parts in the middle that would loose functionality if split, and any functionality that was originally mostly in one hemisphere (and shared with the other side) could never again be simultaneously available to both new beings.

    As for whether a machine can have “consciousness” one day, I vote no. It’d be unethical to experiment with creating any kind of consciousness like our own, because of likely failures along the way.

    But wait, there’s more (and nothing to do with sex). Each eyeball’s retina has a left side of vision that connects to the brain’s right hemisphere, and a right side of vision that connects to the left hemisphere. So there’s no physical way to support vision from both sides of each eyeball’s retina. The twins can have vision from only one half of each eyeball.

    TMI for the average pop science reader/thinker?

    #26792

    Glen D
    Participant

    @_Robert_

    “Why would anyone assume consciousness has space limitations? Skulls have nothing to do with it.”

    Interesting claim. You can prove it of course?  If consciousness/awareness/mind/person is independent of the brain, what happens to it when the brain dies?

    As far as I’m aware, there is no consensus in the mind/body dichotomy.

    My perception is a bit different: The consciousness/awareness/mind/ the person are the dynamic of the living brain, a process rather than a separate and measurable reality. I accept that memories seem to be stored in specific areas of the brain. That memories change, even disappear over time.

    Proof?  Not sure there is any. This is the best I can do: Harm the brain, harm consciousness/the mind/person.  Destroy the brain, destroy consciousness/mind/person.  Unless of course you have some proof that a separate consciousness survives death?

    “As an engineer this supposed dilemma is nonsense” : Argument from authority/special pleading; logical fallacy.

    Regarding the question: I don’t know, perhaps ask a neuroscientist.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  Glen D.
    #26805

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    As far as I’m aware, there is no consensus in the mind/body dichotomy.

    Oh man, stick around, and you’ll see some consensus on that. Dualism seems mostly dead and gone to Heaven.

    Oh, wait, you’re in Australia! [see Recent formulations]

    But seriously, ‘Muricans do take the prize when it comes to the dichotomy of traditional beliefs vs science. I’m guessing we have the world’s most learned flat earth experts, too.

    #26810

    Glen D
    Participant

    @popebeanie;

    Ah, I had been wondering. Consciousness outside of the brain looks a lot like a sneaky way of arguing theism.

    But then, I’m old and easily confused.

     

    #26831

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    But then, I’m old and easily confused.

    Naw, I haven’t gotten that impression at all.

    As for myself, the past week or two has been full of forgetfulness almost every day, which worries me and even makes me get mad at myself. Not to sound morbid, but I also think about old-age forgetfulness as a symptom of “fading consciousness” which a lot of us are going or will go through.

    I mention it because 1) the topic we’re currently posting to is considering a possible type of consciousness, and 2) I (seemingly alone here, so far) believe that consciousness is very much a scalar and type thing, i.e. there are spectra and types of consciousness that different people (and many mammals) experience, and even individual experiences of consciousness can vary over a lifetime or time of day. In fact, one could investigate the rarely asked question of “When  did consciousness actually begin in myself, e.g. even as early as when I was just a fetus?”.

    I believe consciousness actually fades in during one’s lifetime, and it’s not possible or useful to pinpoint any exact moment when it starts. Falling asleep and waking up can feel somewhat like that, albeit the analog switch there feels somewhat more like a binary on/off switch… well, without much experience other than dreaming during some nearly-off periods. Jeebus I could go on and on about this, but also interesting and ironic is how our non-experience phases during sleep probably significantly enhance our conscious experiences when we’re awake! I’ll stop here.

     

    #26834

    Glen D
    Participant

    @popebeanie

    Very kind of you to say so.

    My short term memory isn’t what it used to be. I have whiteboard for important appointments.—Can’t tell you what I had for dinner 3 nights ago—But, I can remember what  I bought for lunch in Harrods food  hall in London in 1985. Being on a forum is good for mental acuity.

    AI: I really don’t know. I’m not confident we will have Androids as described in the film “I, Robot” or the Sci fi series “Humans”.But a learning chess playing computer already exists. My chess playing mate says so far it’s invincible. There are already robots which have replaced humans in some factories.

    BUT, “true” AI with sentience seems a long way off. I’d like to think such a creation would have Asimov’s three laws of Robotics built in. That’s probably a bit unrealistic.

    The big problem with such a creation is that all governments lie their tits off, at least by omission. I doubt we will be told until after the fact, when they have been militarised.

    Kind of  relevant: There is little doubt in my mind that some government, probably the PRC or US, has already successfully cloned a human being.–Why worry about AI if you can clone humans and rearrange their DNA to produce whatever you want, especially soldiers?

    #26853

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    The big problem with such a creation is that all governments lie their tits off, at least by omission. I doubt we will be told until after the fact, when they have been militarised.

    I agree. And I think development of AI “sentience” should be outlawed worldwide or at least limited and subject to oversight because 1) it will be unethical to experiment with sentience in any being that’s possibly capable of suffering; 2) I don’t want humans to ever have to concede any kind of human rights to artificial sentience; 3) we’re looking at the serious possibility of damage to humankind, even if only one government or institution proceeds to produce AI that can self-replicate, or (say) autonomously transport dirty bombs or biological weapons.

    Sure, we’re talking about a far off future, but who says a cult-nation like North Korea colluding with ISIS wouldn’t try to kick off some kind of endtimes scenario? Even traditional world powers have had mutually assured destruction contingencies in place and rehearsed for several decades. Picture a president like Trump jumping to conclusions.

     

    #26856

    Glen D
    Participant

    @popebeanie

     

    ‘Outlawed’ ? Do you mean as cloning human beings is presently outlawed? Right. I wish us luck in THAT undertaking..

     

     

     

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