daedalus2u

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Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

Inklesspen's argument (which you said you agreed with) was was that my belief in a lack of personal identity continuity was incompatible with being unwilling to accept a painless death and that this constitutes a fatal flaw in my argument.

If there are things you want to accomplish and where you believe the most effective way for you to accomplish those things is via uploading what you believe will be a version of your identity into an electronic gizmo; all I can say is good luck with that. You are welcome to your beliefs.

In no way does that address Inklesspen's argument that my unwillingness to immediately experience a painless death somehow contradicts or disproves my belief in a lack of personal identity continuity or constitutes a flaw in my argument. I don't associate my “identity” with my consciousness, I associate my identity with my body and especially with my brain, but it is coupled to the rest of it. That my consciousness is not the same from day to day is not an issue for me. My body very much is alive and is quite good at doing things. It would be a waste to kill it. That it is not static is actually quite a feature, I can learn and do new things.

I have an actual body with which I can do actual things and with which I am doing actual things. All that can be said about the uploading you want to do is that it is very hypothetical. There might be electronic gizmos in the future that might be able to hold a simulation of an identity that might be able to be extracted from a human brain and that electronic gizmo might then be able to do things.

Your belief that you will accomplish things once a version of your identity is uploaded into an electronic gizmo is about you and your beliefs. It is not in the slightest bit about me or my reasoning that a belief in personal identity continuity is an illusion.

People professing a belief in an actual Heaven where they will receive actual rewards doesn't constitute evidence that such beliefs are not illusory either. Such people are usually unwilling to allow themselves to be killed to reach those rewards sooner. That unwillingness does not prove their beliefs are illusory any more than a willingness to be killed would prove they were non-illusory. The members of the Heaven's Gate group believed they were uploading their identities to some kind of Mother Ship electronic gizmo and they were willing to take cyanide to accelerate the process. Their willingness to take poison does not constitute evidence (to me) that their beliefs were not illusory.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

Yes. I would consider those states to be “unconscious”. I am not using “conscious” or “unconscious” as pejorative terms or as terms with any type of value, but purely as descriptive terms that describe the state of an entity. If an entity is not self-aware in the moment, then it is not conscious.

People are not self-aware of the data processing their visual cortex is doing (at least I am not). When you are not aware of the data processing you are doing, the outcome of that data processing is “transparent” to you, that is the output is achieved without an understanding of the path by which the output was achieved. Because you don't have the ability to influence the data processing your visual cortex is doing, the output is susceptible to optical illusions.

Dissociation is not uncommon. In thinking about it, I think I dissociate quite a bit, and that it is fairly easy for me to dissociate. I do my best intellectual work when I am in what I call a “dissociative focus”. Where I really am quite oblivious to a lot of extraneous things and even about my physical state, hunger, fatigue, those kinds of things.

I think that entering a dissociative state is not uncommon, particularly under conditions of very high stress. I think there is a reason for that, under conditions of very high stress, all computational resources of the brain are needed to deal with what ever is causing that stress. Spending computational resources being conscious or self-aware is a luxury that an entity can't afford while it is “running from a bear” (to use my favorite extreme stress state).

I haven't looked at the living luminously sequences carefully, but I think I mostly disagree with it as something to strive for. It is ok, and if that is what you want to do that is fine, but I don't aspire to think that way. Trying to think that way would interfere with what I am trying to accomplish.

I see living while being extremely conscious of self (i.e. what I understand to be the luminous state), and being dissociated from being conscious as two extremes along a continuum, what I consider thinking with your “theory of mind” (the self-conscious luminous state) and thinking with your “theory of reality”, what I consider to be the dissociative state. I discuss that in great detail on my blog about autism.

If you are not in a mode where you are thinking about entities, then you are not using your “theory of mind”. If you are thinking about things in purely non-anthropomorphic terms, you are not using your “theory of mind”.

I think these two different states are useful for thinking about different kinds of problems. Interpersonal problems, interactions with other people, communication are best dealt with by the “theory of mind”. All the examples in the Seven Shining Stories are what I would consider pretty much pure theory of mind-type problems. Theory of reality-type problems are like the traveling salesman problem, multiplying numbers, running more algorithmey-type problems like counting. Problems where there is little or no interpersonal or communication component.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

I see this as analogous to what some religious people say when they are unable to conceive of a sense of morality or any code of behavior that does not come from their God.

If you are unable to conceive of a sense of purpose that is not attached to a personal sense of continued personal identity, I am not sure I can convince you otherwise.

But why you consider that my ability to conceive of a sense of purpose without a personal belief in a continued sense of personal identity is somehow a "flaw" in my reasoning is not something I quite understand.

Are you arguing that because some people "need" a personal sense of continued personal identity that reality "has to" be that way?

People made (and still make) similar arguments about the existence of God.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

Yes, if you are not aware of being conscious then you are unconscious. You may have the capacity to be conscious, but if you are not using that capacity, because you are asleep, are under anesthesia, or because you have sufficiently dissociated from being conscious, then you are not conscious at that moment.

There are states where people do “black-out”, that is where they seemingly function appropriately but have no memory later of those periods. Those states can occur due to drug use, they can also happen via psychogenic processes called a fugue state.

There is also the term semiconscious. Maybe that would be the appropriate term to use when an entity capable of consciousness is not using that capacity.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

If a being is not aware of being conscious, then it is not conscious no matter what else it is aware of.

I am not saying that all consciousness entails is being aware of being conscious, but it does at a minimum entail that. If an entity does not have self-awareness, then it is not conscious, no matter what other properties that entity has.

You are free to make up any hypothetical entities and states that you want, but the term “consciousness” has a generally recognized meaning. If you want to deviate from that meaning you have to tell me what you mean by the term, otherwise my default is the generally recognized meaning.

Could you give me a definition of "consciousness" that allows for being unaware of being conscious?

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

It is your contention that an entity can be conscious without being aware that it is conscious?

There are entities that are not aware of being conscious. To me, if an entity is not aware of being conscious (i.e. is unconscious of being conscious), then it is unconscious.

By my understanding of the term, the one thing an entity must be aware of to be conscious is its own consciousness. I see that as an inherent part of the definition. I can not conceive of a definition of “consciousness” that allows for a conscious entity to be unaware that it is conscious.

Could you give me a definition of "consciousness" that allows for being unaware of being conscious?

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

perplexed, how do you know you do not have a consciousness detector?

Do you see because you use a light detector? Or because you use your eyes? Or because you learned what the word “see” means?

When you understand spoken language do you use a sound detector? A word detector? Do the parts of your brain that you use to decode sounds into words into language into meaning not do computations on the signals those parts receive from your ears?

The only reason you can think a thought is because there are neural structures that are instantiating that thought. If your neural structures were incapable of instantiating a thought, you would be unable to think that thought.

Many people are unable to think many thoughts. It takes many years to train a brain to be able to think about quantum mechanics. I am unable to think accurately about quantum mechanics. My brain does not have the neural structures to do so. My brain also does not have the neural structures to understand Chinese. If it did, I would be able to understand Chinese, which I cannot do.

There has to be a one-to-one correspondence between the neural structures that instantiate a mental activity and the ability to do that mental activity. The brain is not magic; it is chemistry and physics just like everything else. If a brain can do something it is because it has the structures that can do it.

Why is consciousness different than sight or hearing? If consciousness is something that can be detected, there needs to be brain structures that are doing the detecting. If consciousness is not something that can be detected, then what is it that we are talking about? This is very basic stuff. I am just stating logical identities here. I don't understand where the disagreement is coming from.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

GuySrinivasan, I really can't figure out what is being meant.

In my next sentence I say I am not trying to describe all computations that are necessary, and in the sentence after that I start talking about entity detection computation structures being necessary.

First an entity must have a “self detector”; a pattern recognition computation structure which it uses to recognizes its own state of being an entity and of being the same entity over time. If an entity is unable to recognize itself as an entity, then it can't be conscious that it is an entity.

I think that is a pretty clear description of a certain cognitive structure that requires computational resources for an entity to self-recognize itself.

What is it that cousin_it is disputing and wants me to provide evidence for? That an entity doesn't need a “self-detector” to recognize itself? That a “self-detector” doesn't require pattern recognition? That pattern recognition doesn't require computation?

I really don't understand. But some other people must have understood it because they up voted the comment, maybe some of those people could explain it to me.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

Yes, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and 7 all require data and computation resources.

And to compare a map with a territory one needs a map (i.e. data) and a comparator (i.e. a pattern recognition device) and needs computational resources to compare the data with the territory using the comparator.

When one is thinking about internal states, the map, the territory and the comparator are all internal. That they are internal does not obviate the need for them.

Minimum computation and data requirements for consciousness.

perplexed, If detecting consciousness in someone else requires data and computation, why is our own consciousness special such that it doesn't require data and computation to be detected? No one has presented any evidence or any arguments that our own consciousness is special. Until I see a reasonable argument otherwise; my default will be that my own consciousness is not special and that everyone else's consciousness is not special either.

I appreciate that some people do privilege their own consciousness. My interpretation of that self-privileging is that it is not based on any rational examination of the issue but merely on feelings. If there is a rational examination of the issue I would like to see it.

If every other instance of detecting consciousness requires data and pattern recognition, then why doesn't the self-detection of self-consciousness require data and pattern recognition?

If people are exhausted by a topic, they should not read posts on it. If people are afraid of getting caught in quicksand, they should stay away from it. If people find their intuition not useful, they should not rely on it.

When I asserted that self-detection of self-consciousness requires data and computation resources, I anticipated it being labeled a self-evident and/or obvious and/or trivial statement. To have it labeled as “opinion” is completely perplexing to me. To have that labeling as “opinion” up voted means that multiple people must share it.

How can any type of cognition happen without data and computation resources? Any type of information processing requires data and computation resources. Even a dualism treatment posits mythical immaterial data and mythical immaterial computation resources to do the necessary information processing. To be asked for “evidence” that cognition requires computation resources is something I find bizarre. It is not something I know how to respond to. When multiple people need to see evidence that cognition requires computation resources, this may be the wrong forum for me to discuss such things.

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