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Posts Tagged ‘universe’

21st century madman’s picture of God

February 25, 2017 4 comments

b21st-century-madmans-picture-of-god

In/out : Electromotive-sensory force ::
Around and around : Gravitoentropic-Magnetic a-motive field

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First Consciousness or Reality?

October 1, 2016 2 comments

When answering the above question, please provide definitions for reality and consciousness because I’m not even sure I fully understand what they are. Thank you.

These are my understandings and should not be taken to constitute knowledge which is considered consensus science or philosophy. These are conjectures offered to inspire a deeper understanding into the nature of consciousness and reality.

Reality = Conscious experience in which relative qualities of realism are present. These qualities typically include persistence in memory, coherence, non-contradiction in causality, and shared pervasiveness, however we know that in a dream, even the most surreal conditions can be taken for reality. From this we can conclude that while on one level we believe that reality is based on qualities of realism, consciousness can be spoofed into assigning realistic qualities to any experience.

Logically we might think that the experience of waking up is what creates the difference between reality and dreaming, and that our waking life is simply a dream which we have not yet awakened from. There is another possibility, which is that our personal consciousness is part of a larger hierarchy or holarchy of conscious experiences, such that our sense of waking as being conscious of that which is finally and authentically real may be a sense which is as real as anything can ever be.

Consciousness = All that is not present in complete unconsciousness. We can use a lot of different terms to specify limits on this or that aspect of conscious experience. We can talk about awareness, perception, feeling, sensing, etc, or attention and being awake, being alive. In my view the point is not to make the subject more complicated but to distill it to its essence. We know what unconsciousness is. We know what general anesthesia is.

We can look at a term like ‘local anesthetic’ and see an intuitive connection between numbing of sensation and the annihilation of consciousness in general anesthesia. Between and opposing these poles, we can triangulate a term like ‘aesthesia’ or ‘aesthetic phenomena’ to refer to all that exists which is contingent upon the presence of direct presence of sensory perception and participation. Sense can be understood as the content of all experience, including thoughts and ideas, but not limited in any way to human beings, biology, or physical substances.

The point of a term like ‘aesthetic’ is to make a distinction between experiential phenomena which are indisputably concrete and anesthetic phenomena such as physical forms and logical functions (physics or information processing), which are, as far as we can ever know, hypothetical and abstract. We cannot know physics except by an indirect experience through our body and we cannot know information except by an indirect experience through our intellectual contemplation. Both of these are dependent upon conscious powers of perceptual participation and comparison.

To answer the OP question then, we must first completely sever any connection between consciousness, reality and the particular context of human beings so that consciousness as sense-perception/motive participation can be fairly considered alongside the other possibilities of physical mass-energy/space-time/force-field and information-theoretic form-functions/data-processes. If we fail to detach consciousness or qualia from the human experience then we are not comparing apples to apples. It would be like mistaking all forms of matter for parts of our physical body.

Next, we should see that there is no reality which cannot be dreamed. Lucid dreamers report that their dreams can be examined in excruciating detail and can contain experiences which are indistinguishable from waking reality. We should also leave the possibility open that even though our final reality could be a dream, it still could be different from any other dream. This difference could be an authentic sense that waking life is not any dream, but the only dream which is shared by all conscious experiences. It is the dream which counts more than all others because of its shared access, and because of the significance which is accumulated in a universe of experience which is felt so intensely for so many, for so long a time. I consider significance to be a concrete metaphysical feature – an aesthetic saturation which underlies both the privately impressive power of symbolic and archetypal phenomena and the publicly expressed power of energy, mass, matter and gravity.

Significance manifests tangibly as an arrest of motive effects, a slowing or marking of time and intensification of attention. The physical universe is a view of significance – the persistence of all experience as viewed from an anthropocentric scope of sensitivity/insensitivity. It is collection of many layers of limits of our human awareness which we see as the gaps between ourselves and our mind, brain, body, and universe of bodies. If our awareness were to expand to a transpersonal scope, we would appreciate directly that consciousness is not only a human phenomenon, but the only possible phenomenon which can make any and all other phenomena possible.

Without physics or information, we can still conceive of a universe of raw feelings, colors, sounds, etc. There could still be a dream in which things like matter or narrative activities could be present. Without consciousness/qualia, we can fool ourselves into thinking that a universe of Reality could ‘exist’ but when examined more carefully, our notion of ‘existence’ unravels into a purely abstract, faith-based concept which seems likely to me to be derived from our subjective sense of separation within consciousness rather than an objective sense of objectivity.

When we ask why something which we imagine has no experience, like a stone, it becomes a problem to rationally expect that any sort of experience should develop at all. A universe which is a physical machine cannot include immaterial feelings and thoughts without support from physics. A universe which is immaterial ‘simulation data’ also cannot include real aesthetic qualities other than the literal qualities which constitute each separate switch or branch in the data-processing substrate (be it material or otherwise). If we include conscious experiences as ‘emergent properties’ of either physics or information, we have become guilty of chasing our tail. Since the purpose of reducing our model of nature to a single phenomenon is to rationally explain every phenomenon with that single phenomenon, resorting to emergence amounts to inventing an unacknowledged second substance which has no rational connection to the first.

The solution to this in my view is to begin with the single phenomenon of sense (pan-aesthesia or pansensitivity) as the Absolute. From there, we get principles such as symmetry and reason with which to identify relations between physics and information as a Hegelian dialectic which reflects, rather than produces the original thesis of sense. Sense is the thesis, physics and information are the dual-aspect or double antithesis (antithesis of each other and of sense), significance is the synthesis, and entropy or insensitivity is the antithesis of the synthesis (the shadow of the thesis within the thesis). Because this quadruplicity is absolute, if we call it panpsychism we must be careful not to confuse it with what I call promiscuous panpsychism in which every thing, such as stones or signs have consciousness. Under pansensitivity, every “thing” is an appearance of consciousness within itself. We are not a body which has become conscious, we are a conscious experience which has foregrounded itself by back-grounding other conscious experiences as bodies.

In my view, a stone is what we see through the sense perspective of a human body in an anthropocentric timescale. In its native geological-astrophysical timescale, the events associated with the formation of minerals and planets are as dynamic and creative as biology or psychology. We see a stone because our sense of the experience which stretches back billions of years is frozen, relative to the scale of our own human experience. To us, it is a stone. Without us, there is no stone, only an aesthetic dream which speeds along at sampling rates too extreme for us to sense personally. The mineral level of experience is both too fast on the molecular level and too slow on the interstellar level for us to relate to directly.

The relation between a medium-rate human experience and an extreme-rate inorganic experience is presented as a truncated and collapsed aesthetic: as classical physics; density, mass, gravity, persistence of linear duration and causality, etc. Our human experience is nested within a deeper biological-zoological body experience, which is nested within a deeper organic-chemical experience, which is nested within a deeper inorganic-astrophysical experience.

Each of these nested ‘gears’ is concurrent with our own, even down to the Big Bang, which is eternally present as both an event in time and as the diffraction of sense into physical and psychological phenomena from beyond time. In this way, the Absolute is itself in ‘superposition’ of being sense experience which is becoming more significant sense experience by its diffraction as the physics vs information duality. This duality can be seen on the quantum scale as entanglement and contextuality. I think that entanglement is the parent of space and physics, since non-locality is a contrast against locality. For space or distance to exist, there must be a parallel, simultaneous relation which juxtaposes a non-local experience of ‘here’ with multiple experiences of ‘there, and there’. For time or causality to exist, there must be a serial contextuality in which a de-contextualized or immutable time-traveller is defined against the context of its ongoing mutable experience.

The physics-information duality shows up in relativity also as energy is defined in terms of spatiotemporalized mass (E = mc²). Energy, as the capacity to perform work is, in my view, the event horizon of conscious participation as it makes its teleological impact on what has been perceived. Energy is the footprint of subjectivity upon the subjective perception of objectivity, as it expresses the motive power to cause significant effects (or effect increasing significance). Gravity is the shadow of E = mc²…the significance-masking effect which we can conceive of as both physical entropy and information entropy. Gravity is the collapse of former significance in a given frame of reference which results in an increase in mass and aesthetic ‘seriousness’ of what remains.

To sum up: Reality is what consciousness finds serious and significant. It is a relation between the local frame of perception (such as a human lifetime) and the larger frames of reference in which that frame is nested (the history of the human species, zoology, biology, chemistry, physics, and metaphysics). In this relation the relative insignificance of the local frame is presented as a heightened quality of significance of the distal frames. We are thus presented with a way to use our limited consciousness to partially transcend its own limitation, by recognizing its own incompleteness as a material fact. This is ironic as it is the unbounded, absolute power of consciousness to transcend itself which gives rise to the nearly-absolute boundedness of realism into ‘Reality’. In other words, reality seems real because consciousness needs to become partially unreal to itself to create realism. Realism is the local appearance of phenomena beyond local appearance: Non-local consciousness (pansensitivity) as localized, decontextualed, de-sensitized, mechanics.

Reality is the way that consciousness creates the possibility of greater and greater enchantment through the appearance of disenchantment.

 

 

Compact Guide to Multisense Realism Cosmology

September 11, 2016 Leave a comment

2msrlook ference

A compact guide to Multisense Realism.

On the top, we have the fundamental elements:

Ference: aka the Absolute, Fundamental awareness, Pansensitivity
The totality of all experience. Universal qualia. Simultaneous, eternal, and meta-ontological.

Afference: The division of ference into locally/sequentially felt qualities or affects. Sensations, feelings, perceptions, experiences, intuitions, local qualia, all fall into this category.

  • Efference: The affect of motivation which causes effects to afferent frames of reference. Efference is reflected within externalized reference frames as mass-energy/space-time.
  • Reference: Upon receipt of an effect by a frame of afference, attention is focused and informed by a reverberation of afferent associations that partially re-connect the local frame to the absolute.

Through many iterations of Afference – Efference – Afference – Reference, there is an accumulation of Significance. This is reflected in the bottom half of the image as the hierarchically stacked levels of phenomenal and physical contexts of experience.

Significance is the saturation of afference, such that significant affects are super-aesthetic and more directly revealing or reflecting aspects of the Absolute. Significance is afference returning to ference with interest.

The right hand side shows a hierarchy of typical human levels of significance. With the saturation of local qualia into subjectivity, there is an increasing complementary de-saturation as objectivity. This is shown on the left hand side. Note that the sense of causality proposed in MSR is multivalent. Unlike the top-down theistic models or bottom-up deterministic models, causality reverberates across reference frames horizontally as well as vertically.

Human consciousness is not caused by the human brain, rather human consciousness is a spectrum of active re-experience on biochemical, zoological, anthropological, and psychological levels. The brain is not caused by neurons or molecular structures, nor is it caused by the division of the single zygote into a body of organs. All physical structures are caused simultaneously by unseen consequences of re-experiences on multiple levels of description and scale. The key is timescale relativity. Every frame of reference is defined by its own scale of time relative to other frames.

What we see as molecular activity is taking place on a much faster and much slower scale than our own personal experience is. Cosmological events take place on the same scale of very fast and very slow relative to our scale. Human experience emerges* from the middle – cleaving the spectrum of scale into a larger-smaller polarities, again and again in a branching fractal pattern. Each branching creates new opportunities for significance, but also creates entropy which objectifies and distances other frames of afference.

Glossary of other Neologisms:

  1. Metaphoric = Transpersonal psychology, myth, intuition, timeless wisdom.
  2. Apophoric = “Away from” phoric. Thinking and analysis leverage a small amount of personal effort into communicable forms. The transpersonal and personal layers of experience are synthesized here as impersonal concepts and ideas.
  3. Phoric = The personal world of the self, ego, and autobiographical narrative,
  4. Emphoric = Personal feelings and emotions, instincts.
  5. Semaphoric = Sub-personal qualities of experience – sensations.

These levels constitute the hierarchy/spectrum of human subjectivity. In reality this is more of a dynamic fugue, with events on different levels taking on more or less significance than this static scale would suggest.

*actually human experience (thinking, feeling, perceiving, sensing) diverges or diffracts from the previous eras of simpler experience (anthro-, zoo-, bio-, organic, chemo-, fundamental)

The Spirit of the Law

August 9, 2016 2 comments

The distinction between “The letter of the law” and “The spirit of the law” is a good way to understand the relation of consciousness to matter or to computation. Specifically, when we talk about the spirit of the law, we are speaking metaphorically. We don’t actually mean that there is a spiritual force radiating from paragraphs of text in legal documents which have a conscious intent. When we talk about the letter of the law, we are being much more literal (literally literal). The letter of the law refers to the actual written code that is recorded on paper, or stone tablets somewhere and copied from one physical medium to another.

To be literal about it, we would say the Spirit (or motive) behind the creation of the law. The law itself is inert. It is purely a medium to contain and transport a reference to the lawgiver’s motive, so that the motive can be actualized in the behaviors of those who follow the law. Laws don’t write themselves, and they don’t follow themselves. Their existence depends entirely on a world of agents and their efforts to influence each other.

The same is true of the relation between conscious experience, which is irreducibly sensory-motive, and external forms and functions which act as reflective mediums or vehicles for conscious experience. Like the letters of the law, physical forms or logical functions have no teleological motive. Those who mistake forms for having the potential to develop consciousness do so as a result of identifying too literally with their body and the experiences that they have through their body of its world of bodies and objects.

When we think too literally, we overlook the enormous gulf between the literal code of law (including the laws of physics or laws of mathematics) and the motive behind the giving and following of law. We begin to imagine that bodies or computer programs can become so complex that some spirit with sense and motive can ‘emerge’ from them. When someone argues that we will eventually discover the function of the brain which produces consciousness, or develop a program which will simulate consciousness, they are making an assumption about the relation between consciousness and the forms which it reflects back to itself. Translating this assumption into the context of law, it is an argument which says that there is no immaterial ‘spirit of the law’, so that therefore there must be a complicated set of legal codes which we mistake for such a ‘spirit’.  For many this assumption is in the blind spot of their intellect so that they are incapable of knowing that they are even making an assumption at all, let alone that it could be an oversight which is ‘emergent’ from their way of thinking about it.

The reason that forms and functions cannot create conscious experience has nothing to do with our current level of technological development, rather the reason is that the thesis that forms and functions can create consciousness is based on a reductive functionalism which breaks down when we carry the thesis out fully. Namely, our motive for reducing consciousness to physics or computation in the first place is based on principles of parsimony and sufficiency. Those same principles prohibit us from inflating physics or computation to consciousness. Consciousness cannot be justified, nor can any emergent properties which only appear within consciousness. If laws could create themselves and follow themselves, then there would be no need for any further experience of participating in either that creation or application. Like a computer program, the law would be generated automatically and a programmed chain reaction would follow. There would be no function for a sense of participation. The Hard Problem of Consciousness, translated into legal terms would ask why, if there is no spirit of the law, must lawyers ‘practice’ law instead of the law simply carrying itself out. Why would anyone argue over how a law should be ‘interpreted’?

The law ultimately is a communication between people as a way to try to maintain order in a civilization. It is not an alien life form whose body survives on ink and microfilm. Without a spirit or motivation to impart a sense of proper conduct onto other people, the law literally cannot exist as a law. In the same way, computer programs cannot exist without a motive of people to give and receive conscious experiences to each other. The letter of a program or of a physical structure cannot refer to anything by itself, and cannot act as a reference since there is no rational place for any such layer of intention. The laws of physics or mathematics don’t argue with each other. They don’t set up courts with juries to try to convince each other that one force should apply here and another should apply there. Why do we?

What Is Really Real?

March 12, 2016 Leave a comment

If everything we hear, touch, smell, see are electrical impulses interpreted by our brain, then what is real out there?

 

In my view, to really answer that question we must forget everything that we think that we know about electrical impulses and brains and look at the phenomena again with fresh eyes. We must also ask questions about sensation and what is meant when we use the world “real”. Most importantly we must ask what our own capacities and biases are and what we can guess is true about reality and sensation vs what is true about our perspective as a human.
I think that I have answers to these questions, but they may not make sense unless you have asked them yourself. I would suggest that you first try to answer them yourself, even write out the answers, before consulting external sources, including this answer. Also write down what sources you think that your beliefs come from.
Question one: Why do most dreams seem real until you wake up?
Most people have probably had the experience of waking up and thinking, ‘Why would I not suspect that Mother Theresa falling asleep in my lap is impossible? She’s not even alive anymore.’ From this can we not conclude that our sense of realism is infinitely plastic? Even though some people may have lucid dreams where they do know that they are dreaming, or who do wake up after realizing that they are dreaming, it still does not explain why we can ever experience surreal, impossible, or nonsensical dreaming without questioning it. There is nothing that we can dream of which is so weird that it would cause us to question the reality of it. From this we must conclude that either our sense of realism is as much of an electrical hallucination as anything else we could sense. Is realism actually nothing more than failing to question one’s experience, or is there more to it than that?
Question two: How can you tell when you actually do wake up?
Many people have probably had the experience of false awakening, or a dream within a dream (even within a dream, within a dream, within a dream, etc). Each time you experience waking up in a dream, you have the feeling that you are awake but you are not, yet when you really do wake up, there seems to be an authenticity which is experienced directly and unmistakably. This sets up a curiously intransitive relation between false awakening and true awakening, namely, when we are dreaming, we can experience being awake, and we can doubt that we are awake, but when we really are awake, sane, and sober, we cannot fully doubt that we are awake. We can doubt it intellectually, and philosophically*, but this to me seems a very superficial kind of doubt which evaporates the moment that we are confronted with the sights, sounds, and feelings of our waking life. This suggests a contradiction to the first answer that I have give, bringing a third question:
Question three: How can we both know that all of our perception could be deception, but nevertheless feel that this knowledge is somehow insufficient to doubt the real world?
For this question, I think that the key is to realize that we have not taken skepticism far enough. If we consider that all perception is potentially deception, then we must also consider that this proposition itself is potentially deception. In other words, since we cannot know what is real, we cannot know that we cannot in some sense know what is real and in another sense not know. How do we know that nature doesn’t contradict itself?
At some point**, we have to admit that something is ‘given’ which cannot be doubted. Further we can conclude that what is given is not ‘knowledge’ but direct experience. However weak the veracity of our perception, knowledge is an even weaker proposition. Sellars attack on the myth of the given†, therefore, is itself deriving its own authority to attack from a myth of authority to attack which is itself under attack by his argument. His reasoning seems to exclude itself from criticism – assuming that scientific theories have access to a level of sanity about themselves which dreams could not simulate.
Question four: What do we really mean when we talk about ‘electrical impulses in the brain’?
When we talk about electricity, I think that we tend to have in mind something like sparks or lightning bolt. A bright, crackling appearance of a natural power or force which is independent of material objects but jumps between them at the speed of light. Further, theories developed by scientists such as Faraday and Maxwell explain this electric force in terms of perturbations or waves in an electromagnetic field. The electromagnetic field itself is invisible and intangible, so when we see lighting, hear thunder, or feel a shock, we are actually experiencing a second hand effect of matter rather than electricity itself.
To clarify:
This is not a picture of electricity, it is a picture of ionized air molecules colliding violently and releasing photons.
In a vacuum, there are no sparks and there is no sound. Sparks require a material medium which refracts light. Sound is always the collision of matter and is interrupted by a vacuum. While light is transmitted through a vacuum, there is no way to know for sure whether light is actually present in a vacuum, or whether photons are something else which can jump non-locally from place to place.
This is my own speculation, but it is not unprecedented. The Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory postulates that “every bit of radiation must be completely absorbed somewhere” (see Landon Carter’s answer to Can you explain Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory in layman’s terms?). If this is true, then it opens the door to radiation being an entanglement-disentanglement between ‘radiators’, even to the point of seeing space-time as emergent from it. Photons, electrons, even atoms themselves may not be true particles or wave in a vacuum, or fields or forces, but are more like examples of the ability to signal perceivability on the microphysical scale.
What I am suggesting is that absorber theory is on the right track, but does not go far enough. Not only is time meaningless for a photon (because of the constancy and insuperability of c) but even the assumption that some thing is emitted or absorbed could also be unfounded. Indeed, if my view is right, every equation and observation that we have about subatomic particles could be explained in terms of directly perceived micro-phenomenology.
This is not to say that “photons can see“, but that photons have no existence whatsoever other than as visibility (and thermodynamic tangibility) itself. Quantum fields and wave-functions mus then be considered purely abstract statistical entities which do not point to a deeper layer of inference beyond detection, but to the phenomenon of detection itself – to sensory-motor presentation. This uproots the entire foundation of both physicalism and functionalism to suggest the primacy of aesthetic participation behind any possibility of physical forms or logical functions. Sense is what the universe is made of, not stuff that makes sense, or that makes illusions of sense.
Rolling this back to ‘electrical impulses in the brain’, what we are really seeing when we look at an MRI is not electrical impulses, but electrical changes in the MRI instrument itself which are synchronized with the electrical changes of water molecules in brain tissue. This synchronization is not a collision of photons but a low level perceptual entanglement (which, in my hypothesis should be understood as a re-acquaintence or re-entanglement of spatiotemporally disentangled perceptual unity).
This is how I think that the brain works – we live our lives not as bodies or brains or electricity, but as the synchronization of changes which are diffracted across those various scales (Planck, atomic, organic, cellular, neurological, anthropological). These should not be thought of as scales primarily of space or distance but first of perceptual-partcipation, then time, then space. We are not bodies, or patterns of electrochemical information, or even pattern itself, but the capacity to perceive and participate which must rationally precede all appearance of ‘patterns’. Our brain activity is a 3+1 dimensional tip of an iceberg which transcends dimension itself, and which appears as a brain only because of the way that the limits of our human perception is even further limited by the sub-human bandwidth of our sensory organs.
From this, I conclude that what we perceive as the natural world, including brains, as well as everything that we infer from our perceptions, such as electromagnetism, are neither myth nor given but ‘myth-giving’ experiences. These experiences are, like our ordinary experiences, both concretely real within their own frame of reference and unreal from a ‘perceptually distanced’ or diffracted perceptual frame. A dream is a real dream, and only becomes unreal upon awakening into another dream which is more substantial and shared by more frames of reference. Reality should be understood as the real density of phenomenal overlap, such that there is not Reality so much as “Real Realism” – a quality of significance and coherence within a particular frame of perception in which the significance of the weight of perceptual experience accumulated through the entire history of experienced time (which would include all clock/calendar time, as well as all psychological time) is felt intuitively or instinctively.
Reality is real alright, but it is only the density of the constraints imposed by our condition as a human lifetime defining itself in the context of all other lives and times. I cannot prove what I am proposing to the satisfaction of reactionary skepticism (see Craig Weinberg’s answer to Is dualism no more than philosophical debris given the advances in neuroscience?) however I think that it is possible to reinterpret all of physics, mathematics, and information science successfully in this sense-first framework. Language and etymology are a valuable tool, since we can look at common-sense associations across cultures. Metaphors link literal, public facing phenomena such as weight or gravity with private facing phenomena such as importance or seriousness. There is, in my estimation, a whole other universe of connection between the sense of what is ‘out there’ and the sense of what is ‘in here’, which I try to scratch the surface of in my writing.
*Pyrrho, the founder of Skepticism is worth mentioning here, he
“founded a new school in which he taught fallibilism, namely that every object of human knowledge involves uncertainty. Thus, he argued, it is impossible ever to arrive at the knowledge of truth. It is related that he acted on his own principles, and carried his skepticism to such an extreme, that his friends were obliged to accompany him wherever he went, so he might not be run over by carriages or fall down precipices. It is likely, though, that these reports were invented by the Dogmatists whom he opposed. ” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
** Descartes famously arrived at his cogito “I think therefore I am” as a result of taking his Cartesian doubt to its limit. Doubt, after all, cannot itself be doubted, and a belief in disbelief is still a belief.
† Another philosopher living in the 20th century, Wilfrid Sellars, was influential for his “Attack on the Myth of the Given”. Where Descartes skepticism led him to view himself as unquestionable, Sellars saw perception as inseparable from conception, so that just as an ambiguous image can appear to be a duck or a rabbit, our theory about what we are looking at cannot be subtracted from the experience of looking at it. Because of this, his view is that scientific theory can supersede the empirical reports of our senses. In my terms, he is saying that sense-making is more fundamental than sense experience.

 

AI is Inside Out

November 18, 2015 2 comments

The subjective world is an arena of sense which is surrounded by an unseen sensor. Unlike a computer, which finds its own data stored in precise and irreducibly knowable bits, we find our own introspection to be confoundingly mysterious. Both the interior and exterior world are presented to us as a natural given to be explored, but the methods of exploration are diametrically opposite. Penetrating the psyche leads to an examination of symbols which are both intensely personal as well as anthropologically universal.

Whether we explore the objective world or the subjective world, we do so from the inside out, as visitors in a universe that matters to us whether we like it or not. To understand how machine intelligence differs from natural consciousness, it is important to see that a machine’s world is taken rather than given. The machine’s world is assembled from the bottom up, through disconnected, instrumental samplings.

It can be argued that our sense of the world is also nothing more than a collection of readings taken by our sense organs, but if that were the case, we should not experience the outside world as a complete environment, but rather as a probabilistic blur that is punctuated by islands of known data. A machine’s view of the outside world should (and would) look like this or this.

image
image

This showed that even when shown millions of photos, the computer couldn’t come up with a perfect Platonic form of an object. For instance, when asked to create a dumbbell, the computer depicted long, stringy arm-things stretching from the dumbbell shapes. Arms were often found in pictures of dumbbells, so the computer thought that sometimes dumbbells had arms.

Similarly, images that have been probabilistically ‘reconstructed’ from fMRI data show the same incoherence:

mqdefault

These are images which have been simulated from the outside in – a mosaic of meaningless elements spread out over a canvas seen by no one. These are not the kinds of visions that we have when we encounter the depths of our own psyche, which are invariably spectacular, if surreal, dreamscapes. By contrast, these early machine models of visual encoding show us a soulless sub-realism made of digital gas; a Bayesian partlessness gliding arbitrarily toward programmed compartments.

Although a machine’s introspection need not have any visual appearance at all, it makes sense that if it did, what would be seen might look something like a debugger interface, full of detailed, unambiguous data about the state of the machine.

image

It would be bizarre to have a layer of all-but-incomprehensible fiction in between the machine and its own functions. Even if the dashboard of such a complex machine used a lot of compression techniques, surely that compression would not be a mystery to the machine itself.

The point that I’m trying to get across here is that what we are developing in machines is actually an anti-subjectivity. Its world is fuzzy and delirious on the outside, and clearly circumscribed on the inside – exactly the reverse of our natural awareness. Machine psychology is a matter of compiling the appropriate reports and submitting them for error correction auditing, while machine perception is a tenuous process of probing and guessing in the dark. Our own inner depths seem to defy all machine expectations, containing neither useful reports on the state of our brain nor unnatural chaos. Our view of the world outside of ourselves is not one which seems to be manufactured on the fly but one which imparts a profound, pervasive sense of orientation and clarity.

Edit: 7/23/16, another example: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3062016/this-neural-network-makes-human-faces-from-scratch-and-theyre-terrifying

computerfaces

Edit 12/19/16, see also https://multisenserealism.com/2016/12/19/fooling-computer-image-recognition-is-easier-than-it-should-be/

Edit 5/19/17 https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/05/an-ai-invented-a-bunch-of-new-paint-colors-that-are-hilariously-wrong/

image_recognition

Edit: 6/29/17 – https://wordpress.com/post/multisenserealism.com/5161

artmonstern

7/22/17 – https://blog.keras.io/the-limitations-of-deep-learning.html

“One very real risk with contemporary AI is that of misinterpreting what deep learning models do, and overestimating their abilities. A fundamental feature of the human mind is our “theory of mind”, our tendency to project intentions, beliefs and knowledge on the things around us. Drawing a smiley face on a rock suddenly makes it “happy”—in our minds. Applied to deep learning, this means that when we are able to somewhat successfully train a model to generate captions to describe pictures, for instance, we are led to believe that the model “understands” the contents of the pictures, as well as the captions it generates. We then proceed to be very surprised when any slight departure from the sort of images present in the training data causes the model to start generating completely absurd captions.”

Should Quantum and Consciousness be Connected?

October 13, 2015 1 comment

Quora question:

Are there any reasonable reasons to believe that there is a connection between quantum physics and consciousness?

 

I don’t think that we need to believe in such a connection, but there are certainly reasonable justifications for seeking it out.

From the consciousness side, the issue is that sooner or later we have to get around to asking exactly how experiential qualities like flavors and images come into being. There has to be an inflection point or event horizon…some process through which psychological phenomena are transduced or emerge from actual physical substances. For example, we can see exactly where a computer displays graphic phenomena, but that display is

1) not part of any computational process
2) not comparable to any part of the brain
3) dependant on the visual experience of a conscious user to interpret

This would seem to put our direct, ordinary experience outside of a detectable physical location. Since quantum phenomena violate our classical expectations of physical location, it might be a good place to start. Futher, we know that electromagnetic activity in the brain correlates to conscious experience, and that electromagnetism is reducible to QED.

From the quantum side, there are a few different issues. One is that it isn’t classical. It’s not merely the fact that QM is ‘weird’, but that the particular ways in which it is weird suggests more thought-like properties than stuff-like properties. If we are willing to surrender classical realism for an abstract, counter-intuitive universe, then why rule out that this universe is in fact the same as the one in which our interior experience resides?

Another issue that I think qualifies as a reasonable consideration is that we are finding more and more examples of quantum effects which are macroscopic and organic. Rather than quantum theory settling down into a more unified interpretation, it continues to spawn more possibilities and more strangeness. When we consider what is really meant by photons entangled through time rather than space (Weird! Quantum Entanglement Can Reach into the Past) are we really that far from a universal sense of memory?

The idea that consciousness is related to quantum need not be a reason for us to place ourselves, as Homo sapiens, into the fundamental fabric of existence. Instead, it may be that our human awareness and quantum share a common ancestor. Several of the founding fathers of Quantum Physics emphatically supported the idea that QM is grounded in participation and process rather than objective ‘things’.

I have proposed that QM and Relativity share a connection to rudimentary awareness: Frames of reference, worldlines, multiple worlds, holographic simulation, etc all speak to an influence which bridges a gap between a cosmos with no possibility of preference to one which is dominated by localized perspectives and irreversible change. To me, there is an obvious conceptual intersection between quantum uncertainty and special relativity, and that intersection is in the sharability of sensory experience. This seems to be the inflection point. Both spacetime and causality can be seen to be emergent from a foundation which is perceptual-participatory rather than information-theoretic, spatio-temporal, or mass-energetic. It’s a matter of flipping our expectation of inputs and outputs serving to distribute objective “information” units, to seeing information as the the appreciation of common throughput qualities.

The human qualities of consciousness may not have as direct an effect as some supporters of New Age metaphysics may like*, but it may very well have an effect on which aspects of physics we think we can explore and which aspects we are afraid of. Just as particles have biases in terms of spin and charge, human psychology tends to become polarized. We are only beginning to understand the connection between genes, gender, and what has been termed the empathizing-systemizing spectrum. Autism and psychosis have been linked to the extremes of the E-S spectrum, along with ties to gender influence in gene expression.

If we have built a science which concentrates an overwhelmingly ‘S‘ or genetically ‘male’ perspective, and then use academic processes which only serve to amplify that bias, then it should not be a surprise when the great missing links in our cosmology come to us as shadow projections: Despised foes from across a gap of prejudice. If your psychology is highly biased toward the Systemizing side of consciousness, then you will know it because reading these words will cause you unusually vivid anger and outrage. Rather than a calm consideration of these ideas, it seems (and this is borne out in brain lateralization studies also) that your certainty only grows more fanatical and rigid. It’s not your fault. Ironically the mind is controlled by chemical influences and evolutionary defense mechanisms which deny themselves in our awareness.

If your psychology is overwhelmingly ‘E‘, then I would expect that you might feel more hurt and confused when reading this. The feeling is that this information isn’t really ‘for you’, or that I haven’t developed my own consciousness enough to really understand spirituality. Where the S-minded scientist shouts ‘Woo-woo!’ and demands evidence, the E-minded mystic retires to aloofness. One demands submission to the truth, while the other resigns such demands with transcendence and pluralism. Both views dismiss the authority of subjectivity, but in opposite ways.

To resolve this tendency toward psychic extremism, we may need to go much further in our efforts to seek objectivity than we have imagined. We may need to update our understanding of subjectivity to make it more objective, and our understanding of objectivity to make it more subjective. QM makes this especially true, as objectivity itself has proved to be fundamentally elusive.

This is where Gödel comes in. Formal systems may not only not be enough, they may prevent us from grasping the most essential truths of nature…that we are not observers of an illusory world, but participants in a spectrum of world-like experiences ranging from the very real to the very surreal.

*or at least, not in every state of consciousness or in states of consciousness that are accessible to everybody.

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