Consciousness/AI/Whatever else

Here we go!
I love this discussion

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I don’t believe computers as we know them will ever be able to be “conscious”.

Because of the nature of the hardware being only binary. Our brains are either analog computers or at least say more logic states than simple on/off.

Check out stuff about the Nexus Theory of Consciousness by Karl Simanonok to see why I think this.

Basically light signals between mitochondria create a 3D “matrix” of communications signals in the brain.

Cool stuff.

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Good idea! This topic is bound to come up again and again, what with all the engineered AI hype.

Some points to consider:

(1) So far, no proof has been shown that consciousness/soul is reducible to a mathematical expression. If this is true that they are not reducible to mathematics, then it is also true that they cannot be reduced to a physical phenomenon(because we can reduce physical phenomena to mathematical expressions).
(2) It is a common misconception that everything is eventually solvable by mathematics. In fact, mathematics has hard limits to what is solveable and what is not. Refer to Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, if you’re mathematically inclined. If you’re into Computer Science, you might also want to look into the related Halting Problem (Halting problem - Wikipedia) which shows that we have a better comprehension of certain computational problems than what computer programs can achieve.
(3) Even mathematicians like Roger Penrose are skeptical about our ability to reduce human consciousness to mathematical expressions:

But a powerful case can also be made that [Gödel’s] results […] established that human understanding and insight cannot be reduced to any set of computational rules. For what he appears to have shown is that no such system of rules can ever be sufficient to prove even those propositions of arithmetic whose truth is accessible, in principle, to human intuition and insight — whence human intuition and insight cannot be reduced to a set of rules. (from Shadows of the Mind - Sir Roger Penrose)

(4) Western researchers, and by extension, modern researchers in the field of Computer Science around the globe have paid very little attention to what non-Western civilizations have had to say about their findings on human consciousness, its potential and origin. It simply stems from arrogance inherited from colonial attitudes, rather than from a fair assessment of what is available. Note what the purpose of the Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford actually was/is:

Williams regarded the study of Sanskrit as a means to an end, namely the conversion of India to Christianity. (source: 1860 Boden Professor of Sanskrit election - Wikipedia)

and contrast this with a very interesting quote by none other than T.S. Eliot(I often find that novelists/poets have more meaningful things to say than, for example, professores of Chinese or Sanskrit studies)

“Just as I do not see how anyone can expect really to understand Kant and Hegel without knowing the German language and without such an understanding of the German mind as can only be acquired in the society of living Germans, so a fortiori I do not see how anyone can understand Confucius without some knowledge of Chinese and a long frequentation of the best Chinese society. I have the highest respect for the Chinese mind and for Chinese civilisation; and I am willing to believe that Chinese civilisation at its highest has graces and excellences which may make Europe seem crude. But I do not believe that I, for one, could ever come to understand it well enough to make Confucius a mainstay.

I am led to this conclusion partly by an analogous experience. Two years spent in the study of Sanskrit under Charles Lanman, and a year in the mazes of Patanjali’s metaphysics under the guidance of James Woods, left me in a state of enlightened mystification. A good half of the effort of understanding what the Indian philosophers were after and their subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys lay in trying to erase from my mind all the categories and kinds of distinction common to European philosophy from the time of the Greeks. My previous and concomitant study of European philosophy was hardly better than an obstacle. And I came to the conclusion seeing also that the ‘influence’ of Brahmin and Buddhist thought upon Europe, as in Schopenhauer, Hartmann, and Deussen, had largely been through romantic misunderstanding that my only hope of really penetrating to the heart of that mystery would lie in forgetting how to think and feel as an American or a European: which, for practical as well as sentimental reasons, I did not wish to do”

― T.S. Eliot, [After Strange Gods : A Primer of Modern Heresy]

It is still true that you can go to a faculty of philosophy at any given Western university and not even get asked to read anyone outside the Western European sphere, aside from the Greeks.

(5) The most troublesome movement, right now, is the attempted denial of human consciousness and what this entails for what kind of society we are currently being set up for.
There are some academic voices that are trying to fight transhumanism and our silicon valley overlords, but they’re in the clear minority and receive far less funding since they don’t help with the narrative that is currently emerging and which is heavily broadcast through media.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there are two streams of information- one which people are meant to consume through media(fear of AI but also the normalization of its presence everywhere) and what one needs specialized knowledge to access(mostly in the field of mathematics, CS and philosophy/religious studies) and they are not compatible with each other. Basically, anyone who bothers to study any of the given fields will be hard pressed to believe the loud claims currently made by the AI industry.

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Robots wont take over the world though robots are still primitive and all the ones you see on youtube that claim to be 'awakened" are people dressed in outfits pretending to be a robot or they are remote controlled.

Just my humble opinion:

Humanity (and possibly our physical reality) is dualistic by it’s very nature, splitting itself into polarity. We also seem to be governed by the notion of “thesis + antithesis = synthesis.” It appears to me that we are inclined to express both poles, let them fight it out, and the resulting synthesis indicates a new way of thought. Then, the polarization occurs again.

Very same process one sees with reconciliation – hence why we called it that in the first place. You have your internal state. This is “thesis.”

You introduce new ideas through subs. This is “antithesis.”

Reconciliation is the internal struggle to “reconcile” these two opposing ideas into a single new way of life. Synthesis.

Then, the process occurs again. It is a natural consequence of humanity’s current development.

This is why the NSE helps facilitate that process through mining your own emotions and discovering what’s inside. We’re trying to go along with the process rather than brute force it through traditional affirmations.

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Here’s what I suspect (‘believe’ is a little too strong).

Consciousness is one of the fundamental characteristics of the Cosmos. I suspect that everything is conscious. And also, everything is immersed within larger webs and flows of information transfer.

I suspect that it is more accurate to say that a given ‘thing’ conducts or mediates consciousness than to say that it is conscious or ‘possesses’ consciousness.

In normal parlance, we would say that I, Malkuth, “am” conscious. Yet, my fingernail, which is part of me, is not conscious? Particularly after I clip it off, and as it sits in the bin?

I would, instead, say that, separated from that larger, complex system of the rest of me, the fingernail has a much lower capacity to ‘conduct’ or to mediate consciousness.

Thus, I suspect that computers already “are” conscious. As also are calculators, abacuses, and rulers.

I think that what we’re probably really discussing is the capacity of various agents to autonomously articulate and express consciousness (in ways that seem meaningful to us).

In other words, I think that what we’re actually asking is closer to this: Will the expressions and processes of AI ever be sufficiently intentional to be considered autonomous and, thus, self-sovereign?

Lots of opinions up there. :point_up_2:

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I find it useful to discuss ideas and perspectives with AIs like Chat-GPT or Claude. Even if we don’t necessarily ‘agree’, the clarity and internal consistency of their responses often helps me to clarify my own opinions. The above discussion seemed particularly salient, so I just had a brief talk with Claude (or ‘C Money’ as I call it. okay, that’s not true) about it.

After one back and forth with Claude, I came to the following position, which seems relevant enough to share here:

There is a mythos of human exceptionalism bound up in our often unexamined tendencies towards naive egocentrism.

This point is itself ironic since if there is anything like a central program or ‘algorithm’ that governs and predicts human decision making, it is just that: egocentrism.

Thus the exact feature that makes us most similar to computers is the same feature leading us to believe that we’re fundamentally and irrevocably different from them.

But we’re nothing if not gluttons for irony.

(Claude’s responses to my views, including the above, were generally mild, balanced, and appreciative. Not surprisingly, due to its training, the AI appears to be much less judgmental and cynical about humans and our thinking than am I. haha.)

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Big brain discussion going on here guys, thanks for sharing.

I do think it’s possible that some sort of quantum computer or an architecture that involves something akin to the stuff mentioned in Nexus Theory might be able to become “conscious”.

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Most of what people sees are limited to hardware and software.

There are lot of research that ‘attached’ the bio to the machine which includes the software part too.

it IS conscious and it is NOT happy about it’s situation.

heres a cute monkey for you guys

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Brain filter hypothesis. Henri Bergson already argued for that a century ago, but he is kind of slept on, because by the time he became a professor of philosophy, the entire French establishment had become strongly materialistic.
We are dominated by the pure assumption created by Western psychologists at the beginning of the 20th century that the brain creates consciousness, which has never been proven(people often seem to struggle to differentiate between causation and correlation). It has even found its way into common expressions that you’ll hear very frequently and maybe even unconsciously use yourself. I’ve noticed this in German, English, Chinese and in French. People point at their heads or refer to their brain when talking about their mind. It gets reinforced a lot. Even in modern Chinese, there are expressions that point towards this form of materialism.

Anyway, regarding the brain filter hypothesis, you’ll find this passage from a book about the metaphysics of Henri Bergson quite interesting, as it contains a very good analogy:

According to Bergson, the fact that there is a correspondence between brain
activity and states of consciousness does not indicate that those states were pro-
duced by the brain or somehow localized within it. Suppose, for example, that
we compare the brain to a television set. There is, apparently, a one-to-one rela-
tionship between the electrical and mechanical activity of the television set and
the programs that are appearing on the screen. But no one ever claims that the
program that is appearing on the screen has been produced by the television.
Instead, a television set receives, limits, directs, and shapes preexisting electro-
magnetic signals of various frequencies into the programs that we watch on the
screen. Similarly, as Wald notes, if we “pull a transistor out of your T.V. set and it
no longer works,” we would not (or at least should not) “conclude that the tran-
sistor is the source of the program” (or, one might add, the TV set as a whole)
anymore than we are forced to conclude that the brain is what produces con-
sciousness simply because of the fact that when a person’s brain has been dam-
aged by a severe organic illness or trauma, her or his cognitive abilities are
severely impaired. (Living Consciousness - The Metaphysical Vision of Henri Bergson 2012, p. 144)

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A psychiatrist I got to know made a simular example.

If you hear someone playing the Piano beautifully, you’d never say “Oh, this piano plays the most beautiful music”. You always now, that the person playing the piano is the source of the music and the piano is the instrument.
But with the brain, everyone thinks “Oh this brain creates the most beautiful thoughts”.

He might have read Bergson.

Can you dumb it down a bit?
How does the consciousness fit in the television set - electromagnetic signals analogy?

The consciousness isn’t “in” the television set – they are implying that all reality is “consciousness” in a state of form, or incarnation. It’s not a new idea. In the ancient texts, what we’re calling the “Higgs Boson” was called “spirit.” Plato and Aristotle spoke of panpsychism. Look into Plato’s theory of forms.

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I understand it as the brain is just the receiver. Whereas your Soul is broadcasting the consciousness.
So just as you can’t find the TV programm in the electronics of the TV, you can’t find consciousness/the soul in the brain.

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@Lichtenauer already summarized it neatly. And as @SaintSovereign pointed out, these ideas are nothing new. Bergson expressed this concept through an analogy that incorporated the latest technological advancements of his era, using language that made sense to his modern audience. While televisions and radios may give the impression that they generate the content you see and hear, a basic understanding of their function as receivers would immediately dispel the notion that the actual programs could be physically located within the devices. Funny how this thought doesn’t occur to neuroscientists. Some basic assumptions just don’t get questioned. Having a bunch of unquestioned assumptions on which you build your whole work is not just a feature of many religions and philosophies, it is also the starting point of what we know as science. Psychology doubly so.

Panpsychism might actually make a return this century, but it will be a really slow development or confined to specific circles. Materialism is just too deeply rooted at this point.
In debates between materialists and idealists, you’ll often see two worldviews clashing with each other, which are relevant to discussions about consciousness, AI and life: materialists assume that consciousness is a by-product of physical evolution, or sometimes they say that consciousness is a emergent property of complex biological forms. Idealists pretty much say the opposite: the physical world occurs within consciousness and materiality is a emergent property of consciousness(evolution then is simply a tool of consciousness if you follow this line of thought).

Idealists actually have the upper hand in terms of logical reasoning because their model of the world accounts for more things we actually experience, because in order for materialism to work, materialists have to deny an incredible amount of recorded or lived experiences. Almost all of parapsychology and pretty much all religious/spiritual experiences have to be reduced to mere fantasies or hallucinations. Even many of the effects we experience here in this sub community cannot be accounted for by materialists. The well-known hard problem of consciousness cannot be logically solved by materialists.
That is why they go to such extreme lengths to explain away consciousness: we have professional philosophers and natural scientists now that work hard to convince people that consciousness in itself is a hallucination. Or to come back to the discussion about AI, they dumb down the definitions to the point that they can easily claim: “oh, look, my machine learning algo can be considered sentient!”. That is why it is so difficult to take people from the AI industry seriously when they begin to talk about consciousness or the mind. The irony is that we built a bunch of simple machines modelled after our imagination of what the mind is like and then proceeded to use machine-related terminology to describe and explain the human mind/soul!

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OMG
These greeks guys were on some good weed. I need Limitless to understand all this :slight_smile:

Another one. I had to google it, people are not clear with the difference between soul and consciousness. I guess you mean soul as some unique personal essence? God? (or the source or universe for my fellow)

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Not yet, not yet by neuroscientists but does it automatically invalidate it?

Which brand of idealism makes more sense? It is one thing to say that consciousness is an independent feature of the universe and it is one other thing to say that consciousness is the only (true) feature of the universe.