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Brain in a vat hypothesis

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If the hypothesis of the brain in the vat is correct, this means that we cannot touch another person or object.
The point is that it doesn't matter whether these hypothesis are correct or not. The only thing that worries me is how the touch happens if in the real world it is the interaction of atoms (in particular, electrons). thanks

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We don’t fully know since it’s not currently possible to keep a brain functioning and healthy once it’s fully severed from the body that grew it. Whether you put it in a vat or an entry bag of Cheetos, this is all hypothetical.

Keep in mind, however, (no pun intended) that the brain doesn’t really care about the actual interaction of atoms (as you call it) that occurs when a touch happens between the body and something out in the world. All the brain cares about is what nervous signals are arriving to its various parts, how intense those signals are, the duration of the signals, and in what order those signals arrive.

This information is then all combined to form a “narrative” describing the event in our conscious mind... the part we generally consider to be the self... the “me” behind the eyes. 

So something presses against our skin. This change in pressure causes certain receptors to activate, and those receptors trigger a cascade to the receptors around them (nerve cell 1 activates nerve cell 2, and nerve cell 2 then activates nerve cell 3, cell 3 activates cell4, and on and on all the way up the spine until the signal finally arrives to our brain...then some new signals cascade throughout the brain much like ripples travel across a pond after tossing in a stone).

But that is all... the only thing the brain “sees” is that a specific change in voltage happened at a specific nerve cell or set of cells. It’s only later once those incoming signals have been put together that the brain concludes that this thing which just happened was a touch... it then compares it against previous touch experiences to determine specifically what touched us etc.

Following this same logic, you could theoretically send a signal to your brain in a vat separately. So long as that signal being sent to your severed brain mimics the signals sent to the brain from the body, then we can likely assume it would be perceived as a touch no differently than touches get perceived today. 

You’d clearly need to tune the signals like musical instruments in a symphony to achieve the right “sound” and there are lots of assumptions embedded here (like the fact that we’re successfully keeping a functioning brain in a vat somehow), but that’s my take. Hopefully it gives you some food for thought. 

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15 minutes ago, iNow said:

Мы не знаем полностью, поскольку в настоящее время невозможно поддерживать функционирование и здоровье мозга после того, как он полностью отделен от тела, в котором он вырос. Неважно, кладете ли вы его в чан или в пакет Cheetos, все это гипотетически.

Однако имейте в виду (не каламбур), что мозг на самом деле не заботится о реальном взаимодействии атомов (как вы его называете), которое происходит, когда происходит прикосновение между телом и чем-то в мире. Все, что волнует мозг, - это то, какие нервные сигналы поступают в его различные части, насколько они интенсивны, длительность сигналов и в каком порядке они приходят.

Затем вся эта информация объединяется, чтобы сформировать «повествование», описывающее событие в нашем сознании… ту часть, которую мы обычно считаем «я»… «я» за глазами. 

Итак, что-то давит на нашу кожу. Это изменение давления вызывает активацию определенных рецепторов, и эти рецепторы запускают каскад к рецепторам вокруг них (нервная клетка 1 активирует нервную клетку 2, а нервная клетка 2 затем активирует нервную клетку 3, клетка 3 активирует клетку 4, и так далее. путь вверх по позвоночнику, пока сигнал, наконец, не поступит в наш мозг ... затем некоторые новые сигналы каскадом распространяются по всему мозгу, подобно тому, как рябь проходит по пруду после того, как бросили камень).

Но это все ... единственное, что мозг «видит», - это то, что в определенной нервной клетке или наборе клеток произошло определенное изменение напряжения. Только позже, когда эти входящие сигналы были собраны воедино, мозг приходит к выводу, что произошедшее было прикосновением ... затем он сравнивает их с предыдущим опытом прикосновения, чтобы определить, что конкретно нас коснулось и т. Д.

Следуя той же логике, вы теоретически могли бы послать сигнал своему мозгу в чан отдельно. Пока этот сигнал, посылаемый в ваш отрезанный мозг, имитирует сигналы, посылаемые в мозг от тела, мы, вероятно, можем предположить, что он будет восприниматься как прикосновение не иначе, чем прикосновения воспринимаются сегодня. 

Понятно, что вам нужно настроить сигналы, как музыкальные инструменты в симфонии, чтобы добиться нужного «звука», и здесь есть множество предположений (например, тот факт, что мы каким-то образом успешно удерживаем функционирующий мозг в чане), но это мое мнение. Надеюсь, это даст вам пищу для размышлений. 

Thank you

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On 11/18/2020 at 7:04 AM, arnold3000 said:
If the hypothesis of the brain in the vat is correct, this means that we cannot touch another person or object.
The point is that it doesn't matter whether these hypothesis are correct or not. The only thing that worries me is how the touch happens if in the real world it is the interaction of atoms (in particular, electrons). thanks

This would beg the question; is everyone a brain in a vat or is there just one brain in a vat hallucinating everyone else?

Let's say you and I are both brains in vats. Are we occupying different simulated experiences or the same one? If it is the latter, then there would still be atomic touch interactions at a longer distance, if we bumped fists in the simulation. If it is the former, then touch between two persons is an impossibility. 

What would it mean for you if the hypothesis was correct? Or if simulation theory was correct?

 

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15 minutes ago, MSC said:

This would beg the question; is everyone a brain in a vat or is there just one brain in a vat hallucinating everyone else?

Let's say you and I are both brains in vats. Are we occupying different simulated experiences or the same one? If it is the latter, then there would still be atomic touch interactions at a longer distance, if we bumped fists in the simulation. If it is the former, then touch between two persons is an impossibility. 

What would it mean for you if the hypothesis was correct? Or if simulation theory was correct?

 

These could be interesting topics to explore in their thread, but come across as a hijack here. 

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

These could be interesting topics to explore in their thread, but come across as a hijack here. 

Fair enough. Personally I prefer discussing simulation theory, as the brain in the vat hypothesis has a lot of problems, as a thought experiment. A brain in any kind of container that can still feel touch just strikes me as a brain with what functions as a body to house the brain. That and whomever is caretaking the vats has their own vat problem to consider... They might just be a brain in a vat inhabiting a simulated experience where they care for other brains in vats. The whole thing just becomes a great big headache. 

That being said, another thread on simulation theory might already be kicking around somewhere. Even though it has the same problems and the same headaches. 

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If your brain was in a simulation, where every stimulus you received was somehow artificial, that could mean that everything you know (which you acquired through stimuli) might be made up. You probably wouldn't need to distinguish external stimuli (eg. the sense of touching things) vs. internal (eg. having a memory of having lived your life up to this point). That would mean the senses of remembering things could be made up... so maybe it is simulating a few minutes or just one moment in time, including any made-up memories of time before that. It could also mean that things like atoms could be made up too. Maybe the knowledge of atoms or even of there being 3 spatial dimensions is an artificial reality that is simulated in some other reality with no atoms and a different number of dimensions.

 

As for whether it could be one "identity" being simulated, or everyone---or to put it another way, "what if I'm just a figment of someone else's mind?" etc.---I guess that's an open philosophical question related to whether there is some physical form to the feeling of having an identity, or if it's just emergent from the configuration of other physical things like brain cells. If you simulated an object's sense of being, like if you simulated the thought "I think, therefore I am" in something that otherwise wouldn't think that on its own, does that thought have any physical presence? I can think about these ideas and write them down, and I get the sense that I'm thinking them, but if other senses (eg. of touching something) could be simulated, why not the sense of having thought things? I feel like I'm here, but if that could be simulated, I don't think I'd need to exist at all.

I don't see how I could prove to myself that I exist, IF the only way to test it is by sensing whether I exist, AND if what is sensed can be simulated. By a really coarse analogy, if I write a story about a character that realizes it exists, I can write convincing thoughts for it with dialog like, "I know I'm only a character in a story, but I exist!" By creating those "thoughts" on paper, I'm not making them real. You wouldn't read that dialog and claim that as evidence that the character has become real. If I myself could think up some thought test that proves to me that I exist, I could write a fictional character having those same thoughts, and yet that wouldn't really prove to anyone that the character really exists and can think. How can I as a person prove that I'm not just someone else's thought, if any action I could take to prove it could also be their thought? How could you know that the feeling of being real, is itself real?

 

Edited by md65536

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Reminds me of the 1st episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: TOS, "Spock's Brain", where a bunch of dumb, good looking women use 'old' knowledge to steal Spock's brain, for the purpose of running their underground environmental functions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spock's_Brain

" Fascinating. It could explain much, Doctor. My medulla oblongata is hard at work apparently breathing, apparently pumping blood, apparently maintaining a normal physiologic temperature."

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16 hours ago, MigL said:

Reminds me of the 1st episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: TOS, "Spock's Brain", where a bunch of dumb, good looking women use 'old' knowledge to steal Spock's brain, for the purpose of running their underground environmental functions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spock's_Brain

" Fascinating. It could explain much, Doctor. My medulla oblongata is hard at work apparently breathing, apparently pumping blood, apparently maintaining a normal physiologic temperature."

Classic Star Trek, always finding novel and entertaining ways to engage an audience in the deep stuff. 

No one quite puts it quite like Jean-Luc though;

Quote

PICARD: Did you read that book I gave you? (Wesley reacts, barely concealing a grimace as he recalls.)
WESLEY: Some of it.
PICARD: That's reassuring.
WESLEY: I just don't have much time.
PICARD: (re the book in his hand) There is no greater challenge than the study of philosophy. (Wesley glances over at Picard's book)
WESLEY: William James sure won't be on my Starfleet exams.
PICARD: The important things never will be. Anyone can be trained to deal with technology, and the mechanics of piloting a starship.
WESLEY: But Starfleet Academy--
PICARD: It takes more than just that. Open your mind to the past... to history, art, philosophy. And then... (re: the stars) ...this will mean something.
(Wesley considers this, almost embarrassed as he realizes Picard does truly care about him.)
Then: PICARD (continuing) Just consider James' wisdom: "Philosophy... is not a technical matter... it is our sense of what life honestly means... our individual way of feeling the total push and pressure of the cosmos."
(then) That's what I want for you

If we are all just brains in vats however, another Picard line might be more pertinent, since we can't know either way;

Quote

Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived. After all Number One, we're only mortal.

Basically, why worry and waste time wondering if you're a brain in a vat, in someone elses dream or a bit of code in a videogame? Live in the moment, be the dream, be a bit of code. What else were you really going to do if you knew one way or the other anyway?

Edited by MSC
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On 11/19/2020 at 6:44 PM, MSC said:

This would beg the question; is everyone a brain in a vat or is there just one brain in a vat hallucinating everyone else?

Let's say you and I are both brains in vats. Are we occupying different simulated experiences or the same one? If it is the latter, then there would still be atomic touch interactions at a longer distance, if we bumped fists in the simulation. If it is the former, then touch between two persons is an impossibility. 

Touch is interpreted in the brain, same as sight. Just because the cause is not physical doesn’t mean the brain won’t/can’t interpret it as such, regardless of whether the interface is one brain with whatever simulation, or it’s multiple brains.

On 11/19/2020 at 11:07 PM, MigL said:

Reminds me of the 1st episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: TOS, "Spock's Brain", where a bunch of dumb, good looking women use 'old' knowledge to steal Spock's brain, for the purpose of running their underground environmental functions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spock's_Brain

" Fascinating. It could explain much, Doctor. My medulla oblongata is hard at work apparently breathing, apparently pumping blood, apparently maintaining a normal physiologic temperature."

I wager 400 quatloos on the newcomers, from a different brain-in-a-vat episode (disembodied brains, at least; “The Gamesters of Triskelion" 2/16)

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