This 2016 study, Universal Adversarial Perturbations, demonstrates how the introduction of specially designed low level noise into image data makes state of the art neural networks misclassify natural images with high probability. Because the noise is almost imperceptible to the human eye, I think it should be a clue that image processing technology is not ‘seeing’ images.
It is not only the fact that it is possible to throw off the technology so easily that is significant, but that the kinds of miscalculations that are made are so broad and unnatural. Had the program had any real sense of an image, adding some digital grit to a picture of a coffee pot or plant should not cause a ‘macaw’ hit, but rather some other visually similar object or plant.
While many will choose to see this paper as a suggestion for a need to improve recognition methods, I see it as supporting a shift away from outside-in, bottom-up models of perception altogether. As I have suggested in other posts, all of out current AI models are inside out.
Are we today as wrong about any scientific fact that is widely accepted as the belief that the earth was the center of the universe and the like?
It’s not so much a particular scientific fact that we are currently wrong about, but rather the interpretation of those facts which is ultimately incomplete and inverted. In my view, the cosmological picture that we have inherited is as wrong as geocentric astronomy was, in that we presume a physical universe of forces, fields, particles, and mechanisms; forms and functions which act in the complete absence of any kind of experience or awareness. I expect that we will eventually come to understand that unconscious forms and functions cannot generate any such thing as a sensation or feeling, and that it is actually forms and functions which are presentations within a deeper context of universal perceivability.
Because we have made great use of the tools of science to objectify the universe by factoring out our own subjectivity, we have fallen under a kind of spell of amnesia in which we exclude the process of objectification itself from our picture of the universe. In the effort to dispel the ghost-in-the-machine legacy of Cartesian Dualism, we have succumbed to a more insidious dualism, which is that of “illusion” vs reality, or “emergent properties” vs physical systems. From this vantage point, we are susceptible to any kind of theory which satisfies our empirical measurements, regardless of how incompatible they are with our direct experience. As long as a legitimate scientific authority stands behind it, the educated public happily swallows up anti-realisms in the service of realism…multi world interpretations, superposition, vacuums filled with energy. There is nothing wrong with entertaining these very legitimate possibilities, but there is a deep irony which is being overlooked.
The problem is that we have taken ourselves out of the picture of the universe, but we haven’t gone far enough. We have over-estimated our objectivity in one sense and under-estimated it in another so that the universe we imagine as objectively present looks, sounds, tastes, and feels just as it would to a highly culturally conditioned Homo sapien of the early 21st century. We have failed to appreciate the profound truths revealed by Relativity, quantum uncertainty, incompleteness, the placebo effect, and the vast pool of insight provided by centuries of direct consciousness exploration. Had we been willing to connect the dots, I think that we would see the common denominator is that nature is subject to perceptual participation for its fundamental definitions. In other words, what both the empirical and rational methods of inquiry have shown is that nature is inseparable from perceivability. It is a multitude of changing types of awareness which produces and preserves all forms.
We are used to thinking that consciousness is a special ability of Homo sapiens, and perhaps a few other species, but this is as naive and egocentric as Ptolemaic astronomy now seems. Just as biology has found no hard line separating living cells from genetic machinery, the study of consciousness has revealed signs of sensation and awareness in everything from ants, single celled plants, even a ball of dough. There seems to be no good reason to automatically consider the activities performed by any natural structure strictly unconscious. Indeed, we may be projecting our own complex human experience of layers of consciousness, semi-consciousness, and seeming unconsciousness onto nature at large.
The reality may be that every frame of reference is actually a frame of afference… a trans-spatial, trans-temporal platform for developing temporalizing and spatializing aesthetic experiences. Afference is a neologism adapted from the function of afferent nerves. In this case I am generalizing that function of bringing signals in from the outside. Afference is conceived as a fundamental receptivity to experience which allows for the appearance of all phenomena including space (a sense of distance between tangible or visual presentations) and time (a sense of memory and evaluation of causality) within any given frame. Afference is a hypothetical sub-set or diffraction from the overall Perceivability Spectrum (pansensitivity, pan-afference, or even ‘ference’).
This doesn’t mean that every ‘thing’ is conscious. That sort of ‘promiscuous’ panpsychism is only the first step away from the pseudo-dualism of contemporary science. It can help us to begin to break through our anthropocentrism and consider other scales of time and body size, however it can also lead to misguided expectations about inanimate objects ‘having’ experiences rather than their objecthood ‘being’ an experience within our body’s perceptual scales and limits. The experience of a computer for example, may be limited to the hardware level where natural sensory acquaintance and motor engagement is felt on the microphysical scale and has no emergence to genuine high level humanlike intelligence.
By considering consciousness (not human consciousness, but universal perceivability) to be the source of all qualities and properties of nature, the Hard Problem of materialism solves itself. Physical forces and fields need not be sought out to explain the creation of bodies-with-awareness, which are impossible by definition in my view. In my view there is no room for any kind of sensation or participation as a mechanical product of geometry or computation. Instead, we should recognize that it is experiential phenomena alone which present themselves as bodies, images, thoughts, feelings, etc. Every appearance of mechanical or random force in our frame of perception is ultimately a feeling of participation and sense in a distant and alienated frame of perception.
Every appearance of a ‘field’ (gravitational, electromagnetic, or otherwise) is in the same way only a range of sensitivity projected into another range of sensitivity that uses spatial terms (rather than non-spatial or trans-spatial like olfactory or emotional sense). It is the sense modality of tangibility which deals in spaces and geometries: visible and/or touchable forms. With the ‘field’ model, we are presuming regions of space as domains within which effects simply found to be present by definition. By using the afference model instead, locality is understood to be a symptom of how extra-local phenomena are translated into locality-constrained sensory modes. Afference opens the door to understanding how not to take presence for granted and to see it as a relativistic, aesthetically driven universal phenomenon (or the absolute meta-phenomenon).
Hypothesis: Photons are the misinterpreted tangibility semaphores residuated in optical equipment…a shadow of the spectrum of the translocal perceivability spectrum as it is diffracted into semi-locality, of which human visibility and thermal reception are small fragments. The Standard Model is an echo chamber of bottom-down tangibility-causality mis-modeled intangibly and acausally using statistical phantoms, which amputates the entire phoric and metaphoric stack that comprises the sense experience we call universe.
This article that went around last year is misleading on several levels.
1. It’s not a photograph, it’s a synthetic/graphic image generated by calculated statistics.
2. It’s a composite of many measurements, not a capture of anything like light.
3. We have no way of knowing whether we are measuring the objective ‘particle nature of light’ from electron collisions, or whether we are just objectifying the collective sensitivity of the instruments we are using.
For example, if all that we had to tell whether an object existed was experiments measuring someone’s eye movements, we could not tell the difference between an eye that was looking at a moving physical object or an eye that was looking at a graphic pattern that was purely visual. We could be looking at atomic REM patterns and thinking that we’re looking at a subatomic world.
Since there is no way, rationally, to tell the difference between a consensus of shared sensations and an object detected through sensation, it is my hypothesis that realism itself breaks at the classical limit. We think that quantum physics tells us that the classical limit is a hologram, but it makes more sense to me that quantum theory breaks realism and projects a world of non-sense non-objects in public space when we are really looking at the inflection point of subjectivity on a distant scale. It is quantum physics that is a hologram, not nature.
Physical existence is consciousness which has been cooked by the entropy of relative unconsciousness.
LRM: Can you please explain?
Craig Weinberg Think of consciousness as the raw cookie dough which comprises the totality of nature. Nature as I’m using it includes thoughts, imagination, dreams, fiction, etc. It includes the experience of the thought “square circle” but it does not include the referent of that thought as that referent is purely artificial/unnatural/logically impossible.
To get from this raw set of experiences to experiences which are ‘physical’, i.e. which persist in a tangible sense (literally, we can experience a sense of touching them, or touching something that can touch/hold/collide with them), I propose that there is a hierarchy of layers of disconnection or dissociation in which direct experience becomes increasingly indirect.
The dream of the person is not composed of the function of the brain, rather the brain is the set of sub-personal dreams which have become partitioned off in the formation of personhood.
Think of how language begins…we have the personal experience of learning the alphabet and how to use letters to spell words. We become so good at reading letters that it eventually becomes second nature. The personal experience now evolves into an experience of taking in entire sentences of words, while the piecing together of letters to form phonemes in our internal dialogue is relegated to the sub-personal. There is now a layer of entropy…a leveling of insensitivity which insulates our direct attention from those less-relevant experiences which are nonetheless occurring at a lower level.
Extrapolating on that, imagine that over billions of lifetimes, and countless pre-biotic experiences before that, the sub-personal content has been subjected to this kind of objectification so many times that the sub-personal quality becomes impersonal…shared only through a geometrically summarized protocol of frozen touch…tangibility through quantification or maximally layered entropy of tactile sense. Visibility begins to recover some of that loss of sense by partially removing the tangibility restriction, such that there is an intangible medium for re-connecting with tangibly disconnected experiences. That intangible recovery of the disconnected tangible is the parent of space, time, and light. It is “c²”.
LRM: “So.. consciousness is a kind of sum of an increasingly indirect references??”
It is that, but it as also the direct ‘ference’ itself. Consciousness is the sole primordial absolute. It is the the necessary ingredient of any and all possible phenomena, including possibility itself.
SW: “It seems that consciousness is not so much layered through the body or the physical (though this may certainly be something that happens) but, rather, it is our conceptualizations that provide layer upon layer. I think these conceptualizations happen precisely because we are not embodied enough, like an existential terror that keeps us from fully feeling and we insulate ourselves from the terror of embodiment by adding layer upon layer upon layer of insulation between ourselves and how we experience our embodiment, primarily through conceptualization.
You use language as an example – language used to refer to the world in which we live – it was a direct representation of that world. Now language is seen in shapes that have no meaning in and of themselves except the way we string them together. “A” is completely meaningless until we give it meaning. Whereas a symbol like a tree has meaning without us doing anything to it.
Our efforts to not be embodied can be seen in virtually every aspect of society. And by embodied I mean to feel ourselves as our bodies and the chemical bath of emotions and the intuition and connectedness that comes from physical form and for this experience to have primacy over the conceptual layering we do that is driven by our inability to deal with our embodiment.
It seems to me that we are only really conscious when we are able to be in our bodies without adding layers to our experience.
Perhaps it is two sides of the same coin? I don’t know.”
Craig Weinberg Yes I think two sides of the same coin, or to try to be more precise:
Consciousness in general* creates the experience of bodies and physical matter in the first place through layering sensitivity gaps** but when we, as human beings, expand our consciousness we become more fully aware of our humanity, which includes the direct experience of the world through the body and of the body itself.
I agree with you on language, although I would not automatically assume that it begins as a way to talk about things in the world. I think before that it begins as a way of imitating each other’s natural gestures. It probably developed in both the inner and outer direction at the same time, allowing us to communicate our feelings and call and sing to each other as well as to call each others attention TO some event or condition in the shared world of our bodies.
“Our efforts to not be embodied can be seen in virtually every aspect of society”
Absolutely. I see this in a deep historical context…the swing from nature shamanism to poly and monotheism to dualism to deism to atheism/anti-theism. The pendulum swing in philosophy corresponds to the political and technological swing Westward. The rise of capitalism was concurrent with the rise of physicalism, not coincidentally, but necessarily. The dis-Orientation (Orient = East) toward the world of the body and Copernican anti-centricity has to do with converting the primacy of subjective kinds of feelings into secondary ‘properties’. This relates to the sense of property, as the proprietor herself becomes the ghostly ‘owner’ of a body and of material positions.
Here’s where the trouble begins…the immateriality of ownership is projected onto objects, the trading of which is facilitated by a super-object…”currency”. Money then becomes smaller and smaller, more and more abstract until it has reached the state of purely symbolic, immaterial disembodiment. All this to say that we don’t just want to be disembodied, we want to become money. Money is always welcome. Money is always loved and appreciated. It never goes out of style, it never cares what anyone thinks of it…it can do most anything and anything it can’t do it doesn’t value. Money is our human social counterfeit essence…our ultimately refined sense of insensitivity. Through this ‘love of money’ we seek immortality and an escape from both the body and the less-than-omnipotent mortality which comes with it.
*(Consciousness in general = what I call “pansensitivity”, and others call nondual fundamental awareness)
**(Sensitivity gaps = what I identify as the ultimate source of entropy)
IMO machine consciousness will ultimately prove to be an oxymoron, but if we did want to look for consciousness analogs in machine behavior, here is an idea that occurred to me recently:
Look for nested dereferencing, i.e. places where persistent information processing structures load real-time sense data about the loading of all-time sense data.
At the intersection of philosophy of mind, computer science, and quantum mechanics is the problem of instantiating awareness. What follows is an attempt to provide a deeper understanding of the significance of dereferencing and how it applies to integration of information and the quantum measurement problem. This is a broad conjecture about the nature of sensation as it pertains to the function of larger information processes, with an eye toward defining and identifying specific neuroscientific or cognitive signatures to correlate with conscious activity.
A dereference event can be thought of as the precise point in which a system that is designed or evolved to expect a range of inputs receives the real input itself. This sentence, for example, invites an expectation of a terminal clause, the terms of which are expected to be English words which are semantically linked to the rest of the sentence. English grammar provides templates of possible communication, but the actual communication relies on specific content to fill in those forms. The ability to parse English communication can be simulated by unconscious, rule-based mechanisms, however, I suggest that the ability to understand that communication involves a rule-breaking replacement of an existing parse theory with empirical, semantic fact. The structure of a language, its dictionary etc, is a reference body for timeless logic structures. Its purpose is to enable a channel for sending, receiving, and modifying messages which pertain to dereferenced events in real time. It is through the contact with real time sense events that communication channels can develop in the first place, and to continue to self modify.
What is proposed here is an alternative to Multi-World Interpretation of Quantum Wave Function collapse – an inversion of the fundamental assumption in which all possible phenomena diverge or diffract within a single context of concretely sensed events. The wave function collapse in this view is not the result of a measurement of what is already objectively ‘out there’, nor is it the creation of objective reality by subjective experiences ‘in here’, but a quantized return to an increasingly ‘re-contextualized’ state. A perpetual and unpredictable re-acquaintance with unpredictable re-acquaintance.
In programmatic terms, the variable *p is dereferenced to the concrete value (*p = “the current temperature”, dereferenced p = “is now 78 degrees Fahrenheit″). To get to a better model of conscious experience (and I think that this this plugs into Orch OR, IIT, Interface Theory, and Global Workspace), we should look at the nested or double dereferencing operation. The dereferencing of dereferencing (**p) is functionally identical to awareness of awareness or perception of perception. In the *p = “the current temperature” example, **p is “the current check of the current check of the temperature”. This not only points us to the familiar Strange loop models of consciousness, but extends the loop outward to the environment and the environment into the loop. Checking the environment of the environmental check is a gateway to veridical perception. The loop modifies its own capacity for self-modification.
Disclaimer: This description of consciousness as meta-dereferencing is intended as a metaphor only. In my view, information processing cannot generate conscious experience, however, conscious experience can possibly be better traced by studying dereferencing functions. This view differs from Gödel sentences or strange loops in that those structures refer to reference (This sentence is true) while the dereference loop specifically points away from pointers, rules, programs, formal systems, etc and toward i/o conditioning of i/o conditions. This would be a way for information-theoretic principles to escape the nonlocality of superposition and access an inflection point for authentic realization (in public space-time as shared experience). “Bing” = **Φ. In other words, by dereferencing dereference, the potentially concrete is made truly concrete. Sense experience is embodied as stereo-morphic tangible realism and tangible realism is disembodied as a sense of fact-gathering about sensed fact-gatherings.
Dereference theory is an appeal to anti-simulation ontology. Because this description of cognition implicates nested input/output operations across physically or qualitatively *real* events, the subjective result is a reduced set of real sense conditions rather than confabulated, solipsistic phenomenology. The subjective sense condition does not refer only to private or generic labels within a feed-forward thinking mechanism, but also to a model-free foundation and genuine sensitivity of the local ‘hardware’ to external conditions in the public here-and-now. This sensitivity can be conceived initially as universal property of some or all physical substrates (material panpsychism), however, I think that it is vital to progress beyond this assumption toward a nondual fundamental awareness view. In other words, subjective consciousness is derived from a dereference of a local inertial frame of expectation to a universal inertial frame of unprecedented novelties which decay as repetition. Each event is instantiated as an eternally unique experience, but propagated as repetitive/normalized translations in every other frame of experience. That propagation is the foundation for causality and entropy.
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Blogs I Follow
- Table 41: A Novel by Joseph Suglia
- Rationalising The Universe
- Consciousness creates reality
- Conscience and Consciousness
- DNA OF GOD
- Musings and Thoughts on the Universe, Personal Development and Current Topics
- Paul's Bench
- This is not Yet-Another-Paradox, This is just How-Things-Really-Are...
- Catharine Toso
- ADVENTURES OF IDEAS
- dhamma footsteps
- Gray Matters
- Writings By Ender