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Consciousness Always Exists


Adhanom Andemicael
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On 1/10/2023 at 7:21 AM, iNow said:

I wouldn't, or if I did, I'd likely be wrong regarding whatever I proposed.

Windows shopping is where it's at, it's fun, and no buyer's remorse over a popular sales item

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5 hours ago, nonetheless said:

Windows shopping is where it's at, it's fun, and no buyer's remorse over a popular sales item

I have no idea what this is all about.

And I still don't see a 'big problem'.

Surely we need to answer more fundamental ones before we can arrive at a definition of consciousness ?

For example is life necessary for consciousness ?,

Which of course begs the question "What is life ?"

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A lack of definition is not a 'big problem.' Most of the concepts we use in life, science and even many in math lack definitions. For another example, AI recognizes faces, cars, molecules, etc. without definitions. Only when we understand something really well, we can come up with a good definition for it.

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16 hours ago, studiot said:

And I still don't see a 'big problem'.

Surely we need to answer more fundamental ones before we can arrive at a definition of consciousness ?

For example is life necessary for consciousness ?,

Which of course begs the question "What is life ?"

 

14 hours ago, Genady said:

A lack of definition is not a 'big problem.

It's a big problem in priority if it is as fundamental or fundamental-er than sub-atomic particles or even the quantum foam of the vacuum energy.  Besides, how more fundamental can it get when all these grand cosmological theories come from consciousness

I think just about everyone has a private definition of what it is, not public scientific one of a text book.  Is it still meaningful to try to define it, yes, will we ever get to a complete definition and understanding of it, maybe.  At least in philosophical view, we can find some comfort in Camus (the myth of sisyphus), that there is some meaning in such seemingly endless absurdity

Wonder what chatGPT would say about what consciousness is

 

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6 hours ago, nonetheless said:

all these grand cosmological theories come from consciousness

I disagree. If one follows the development, one can see that all these grand cosmological theories come from experiment and observation processed by human mind.

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10 hours ago, nonetheless said:

 

It's a big problem in priority if it is as fundamental or fundamental-er than sub-atomic particles or even the quantum foam of the vacuum energy.  Besides, how more fundamental can it get when all these grand cosmological theories come from consciousness

 

Pretty much all research into the neurological basis of consciousness finds it to be emergent rather than fundamental.

One molecule of water isn't wet.  A billion are, at sea level between 0 and 100 C.  

As for theories, those are generated by minds.  It doesn't mean what the theory is about is also generated by minds.

 

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15 hours ago, Genady said:

I disagree. If one follows the development, one can see that all these grand cosmological theories come from experiment and observation processed by human mind.

Not string theory, nor Marvel multiverse, nor Matrix Holographic universe.  Not experimentation nor observation.   Extrapolation yes, a grand extrapolation of deterministic behavior against 10 power 82 atoms, based on weighing and measuring a few earth local

Following the discussion of chatGPT dataset, plotting the thus far experimental data of theories plotted on simple xyz-t axis of Universe, it's almost invisible, barely not noise.

In the discussion of consciousness, these theories "seep in" it seems, not hard observation of bigbang

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9 minutes ago, nonetheless said:

Not string theory, nor Marvel multiverse, nor Matrix Holographic universe.

The known experiments and observations allow for a variety of models, which the mind produces and compares.

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12 hours ago, TheVat said:

Pretty much all research into the neurological basis of consciousness finds it to be emergent rather than fundamental.

I think the collective assumption is it is emergent from interaction of something, atoms, virtual particles, aether

We can consider for example, if chatGPT produces answers to questions almost indistinguishable from human answers, question of its consciousness enters the picture.  In addition, If it can define consciousness we individually cannot, does it make it even more conscious ?

In the end, if we say consciousness is an emergent property of the physical stuff of something like atoms, it is difficult to see the difference between consciousness of human vs AI.  After all they are both complex interactions of fundamental particles.  In the case of humans, a few ponds of fundamental particle interaction.  In the case of AI, far larger number of particle interactions, involving servers, storage, memory, power.  Also AI answer is emergent from human provided training dataset.

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30 minutes ago, nonetheless said:

If it can define consciousness we individually cannot, does it make it even more conscious ?

Encyclopedias are conscious now? I’d say you’re watering down the definition so much that it’s becoming useless. 

32 minutes ago, nonetheless said:

Also AI answer is emergent from human provided training dataset.

It’s not that simple.

7 minutes ago, nonetheless said:

"not fully understood" part is honest, maybe another trait of consciousness

Is anything “fully” understood? Literally and one thing?

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20 hours ago, TheVat said:

One molecule of water isn't wet.  A billion are, at sea level between 0 and 100 C.  

I like this +1

20 hours ago, TheVat said:

Pretty much all research into the neurological basis of consciousness finds it to be emergent rather than fundamental.

 

Maybe so, but introducing emergent adds another ill defined concept.

Which leads to others using a different definition of the word in response.

8 hours ago, nonetheless said:

I think the collective assumption is it is emergent from interaction of something, atoms, virtual particles, aether

 

We had a long but inconclusive discussion about the meaning of emergent before either of your times here.

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8 hours ago, nonetheless said:

if chatGPT produces answers to questions almost indistinguishable from human answers, question of its consciousness enters the picture. 

I don't think so. I think it is a very poor test.

We know very well how AI works. Nowhere in its processes a new feature, e.g., consciousness appears. It is all very straightforward. Given enough time and paper, one could "dry run" AI manually, just like any other computer program. 

We know very poorly how human brain works. Perhaps when we understand that better, we'll see how a new feature, e.g., consciousness appears. This will be the test.

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1 hour ago, Genady said:

We know very poorly how human brain works. Perhaps when we understand that better, we'll see how a new feature, e.g., consciousness appears

Modern research suggests the most likely phenomenon is unconscious processing occurs and we only then later “apply” a narrative on top of that to explain it once it enters our conscious awareness.

More remains to be learned, but the most supportable concepts imply that the paraventricular thalamus, claustrum, and the posterior cortex (the occipital and temporal lobe) are core to this integration activity. 

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2019.00302/full#h2

25 minutes ago, studiot said:

I'm sorry but I honestly think that article really is word salad , perhaps linked to budget seeking.

You may well be correct. The core idea has merit, though. Despite being activated chemically, the nervous system is a global collection of local individual EM events (each with their own polarization and thresholds) all combined by a sort of biological forrier analysis. I compare it to multiple streams and rivers flowing into a single data lake. The shape of that lake is forever changing since so too are the aforementioned flowing inputs from the streams. 

Edited by iNow
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3 hours ago, studiot said:

 

Maybe so, but introducing emergent adds another ill defined concept.

Which leads to others using a different definition of the word in response.

 

The need to tighten up a definition of this is one matter that led to Integrated Information Theory, developed by Tononi.  And also Christof Koch, who has become the Carl Saganish popularizer of consciousness studies in the past decade...

https://www.wired.com/2013/11/christof-koch-panpsychism-consciousness/

There's a theory, called Integrated Information Theory, developed by Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin, that assigns to any one brain, or any complex system, a number — denoted by the Greek symbol of Φ — that tells you how integrated a system is, how much more the system is than the union of its parts. Φ gives you an information-theoretical measure of consciousness. Any system with integrated information different from zero has consciousness. Any integration feels like somethingto that system. When it's dissolved, it does not feel that anymore. It's not that any physical system has consciousness. A black hole, a heap of sand, a bunch of isolated neurons in a dish, they're not integrated. They have no consciousness. But complex systems do. And how much consciousness they have depends on how many connections they have and how they’re wired up.

 

And I see Koch and Tononi get cited in both the papers that iNow posted.

Koch, C., Massimini, M., Boly, M., and Tononi, G. (2016). Neural correlates of consciousness: progress and problems. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 17, 307–321. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.22

Papers in professional journals, in this field of cognitive science, do tend to come across as word salad to the neophyte, which is why fellas like Koch (or David Chalmers, or Stanislas Dehaene) are so helpful when you just want to get your feet wet.

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3 hours ago, TheVat said:

And I see Koch and Tononi get cited in both the papers that iNow posted.

Among two other "crucial theories":

Quote

Crucial Theories of Consciousness: Global Workspace Theory, Integrated Information Theory, and Quantum Theory

The most effective way to solve problems associated with consciousness is to use descriptions that have been introduced by psychologists and cognitive scientists who strive to connect different aspects of their models to the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain (Harris and Shepherd, 2015). In the history of consciousness research, several theories have attempted to conceptually explain consciousness by presenting neural correlations of the stream of consciousness. In the following sections, we will discuss three of the most popular theories.

Global Workspace Theory

The global workspace (GW) theory of consciousness was first proposed by Baars in 1988 (Baars, 2005) and developed by Dehaene et al. (1998). The GW theory is based on competition, and its core idea is that conscious cognitive content can be used globally for a variety of cognitive processes, including attention, assessment, memory, and verbal reporting. According to the GW theory, a single brain region cannot independently accomplish the task of generating consciousness. Instead, consciousness requires the joint participation and coordination of different parts of the cerebrum. This encourages us to not limit the concept of consciousness to a single brain functional area or a star nucleus and to explore the brain as a whole.

The GW theory posits that computers of the future will be conscious (Thagard and Stewart, 2014; Dehaene et al., 2017). There are some disadvantages of the GW theory. First, it provides, at best, an account of the cognitive function of consciousness but fails to address the deeper problem of the nature of consciousness (i.e., what consciousness is) and how any mental process can be conscious (i.e., the “hard problem of consciousness” hypothesis) (Thagard and Stewart, 2014; LeDoux and Brown, 2017). Second, “while this hypothesis does not address the ‘hard problem,’ namely, the very nature of consciousness, it constrains a theory that attempts to do so, and provides important insights into the relationship between consciousness and cognition” (Northoff and Huang, 2017).

Integrated Information Theory

The essence of the integrated information theory (IIT) is that consciousness is the capacity of a system to integrate information. It is the most audacious current proposal of Giulio Tononi’s hypothesis (Tononi, 2004). Instead of focusing on the function of the cerebrum the IIT starts from the results in an attempt to determine the reason. Moreover, the IIT presents a mathematical framework for evaluating the quality and quantity of consciousness (Tononi, 2012; Oizumi et al., 2014; Tononi et al., 2016; Tsuchiya et al., 2016). This theory posits that the physical basis of consciousness must be the maximization of internal causal power and provide a means to determine the quality and quantity of an experience (Tononi, 2004). The theory leads to some counterintuitive predictions and can be used to develop new tools for assessing consciousness in non-communicative patients. However, the IIT proposes conditions that are necessary for consciousness but that are not entirely sufficient (Nathan and Barbosa, 2011). The IIT claims that all of its axioms are self-evident (Kung et al., 2019). Since the IIT is not a functionalist theory of consciousness, criticisms of non-functionalism have been levied against it (Kung et al., 2019), and the limits of the IIT’s definition of consciousness have led to criticism (Nathan and Barbosa, 2011; Kung et al., 2019).

Quantum Theory

It is well known that consciousness is inextricably linked to anesthesia. Hameroff et al. (2002) have conducted many complementary and engaging studies to refine their quantum theory of consciousness. Moreover, a series of mechanics of anesthetic agent function were proposed and included the following: (1) selective binding in hydrophobic pockets comprising non-polar amino acid groups in brain proteins [e.g., microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs); tubulin; and van der Waals (London dispersion) forces, which can inhibit the quantum process by impairing electron mobility]; (2) a specialized combination with “qubits,” fundamental information units that abide by quantum events that induce disruption of the quantum computation; (3) a concept of “quantum channels” that consist of tryptophan tings in tubulin that are olive-like, non-polar, and hydrophobic; (4) probability for π-electron resonant energy transfer through quantum channels and weakening of anesthetic agents that could therefore weaken this π-resonance energy transfer (a theorem that accounts for loss of consciousness); and (5) alterations of collective terahertz dipole oscillations in tubulins (Hameroff, 1998, 2006; Hameroff et al., 2002; Craddock et al., 2015, 2017; Mayner et al., 2018). The systematic theory of “Orch OR” proposed that consciousness is constituted by discrete events that correspond with varying oscillation frequencies of distinct brain regions (Crick and Koch, 2003; Hameroff and Penrose, 2014; Li et al., 2018), which is similar with respect to the “snapshots,” which is one of the ten frameworks for consciousness proposed by Koch (Li et al., 2018). In addition, an “integrate-and-fire” brain neuronal model and three time-steps of a microtubule automaton have emerged from the above studies that embody specific processing in neuronal microtubules when consciousness has occurred. It seems increasingly feasible to explain consciousness on the basis of quantum mechanics because Li et al. (2018) demonstrated that an isotope of the anesthetic xenon (129Xe) displayed half the quantum property of nuclear spin and was conspicuously less potent than xenon isotopes lacking spin, despite no observed differences in terms of chemical reactions (Craddock et al., 2015, 2017).

Since the enigmatic riddle of consciousness is so intractable, we need additional theorems and hypotheses to be generated with the intent of increasing the level of attention. Perhaps this quantum theory will fade with elapsing time and gradually lose its “charm;” however, it is also possible to disperse the fog of our ignorance and shed light on a new level of comprehending consciousness and adopt a system of “wait and see.”

 

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