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Joscha Bach, Yulia Sandamirskaya: “The Third Age of AI: Understanding Machines that Understand”

September 23, 2022 Leave a comment


Here’s my comments and Extra Annoying Questions on this recent discussion. I like and admire/respect both of them and am not claiming to have competence in the specific domains of AI development they’re speaking on, only in the metaphysical/philosophical domains that underlie them. I don’t even disagree with the merits of each of their views on how to best proceed with AI dev in the near future. What fun would it be to write about what I don’t disagree with though? My disagreements are with the big, big, big picture issues of the relationship of consciousness, information processing, consciousness, and cosmology.

Jumping right in near the beginning…

“The intensity gets associated with brightness and the flatness gets associated with the absence of brightness, with darkness”

Joscha 12:37

First of all, the (neuronal) intensity and flatness *already are functionally just as good as* brightness and darkness. There is no advantage to conjuring non-physical, non-parsimonious, unexplained qualities of visibility to accomplish the exact same thing as was already being accomplished by invisible neuronal properties of ‘intensity’ and ‘flatness’. 

Secondly, where are the initial properties of intensity and flatness coming from? Why take those for granted but not sight? In what scope of perception and aesthetic modality is this particular time span presented as a separate event from the totality of events in the universe? What is qualifying these events of subatomic and atomic positional change, or grouping their separate instances of change together as “intense” or “flat”? Remember, this is invisible, intangible, and unconscious. It is unexperienced. A theoretical neuron prior to any perceptual conditioning that would make it familiar to us as anything resembling a neuron, or an object, or an image.

Third, what is qualifying the qualification of contrast, and why? In a hypothetical ideal neuron before all conscious experience and perception, the mechanisms are already doing what physical forces mechanically and inevitably demand. If there is a switch or gate shaped structure in a cell membrane that opens when ions pile up, that is what is going to happen regardless of whether there is any qualification of the piling of ions as ‘contrasting’ against any subsequent absence of piles of ions. Nothing is watching to see what happens if we don’t assume consciousness. So now we have exposed as unparsimonious and epiphenomenal to physics not only visibility (brightness and darkness) and observed qualities of neuronal activity (intensity and flatness), but also the purely qualitative evaluation of ‘contrast’. Without consciousness, there isn’t anything to cause a coherent contrast that defines the beginning and ending of an event.

  • 13:42 I do like Joscha’s read of the story of Genesis as a myth describing consciousness emerging from a neurological substrate, however I question why the animals he mentions are constructed ‘in the mind’ rather than discovered. Also, why so much focus on sight? What about the other senses? We can feel the heat of the sun – why not make animals out of arrays of warm and cool pixels instead of bright and dark? Why have multiple modes of aesthetic presentation at all? Again – where is the parsimony that we need for a true solution to the hard problem / explanatory gap? If we already have molecules doing what molecules must do in a neuron, which is just move or resist motion, how and why do we suddenly reach for ‘contrast’-ing qualities? If we follow physical parsimony strictly, the brain doesn’t do any ‘constructing’ of brightness, or 3d sky, or animals. The brain is *already* constructing complex molecular shapes that do everything that a physical body could possibly evolve to do – without any sense or experience and just using a simple geometry of invisible, unexperienced forces. What would a quality of ‘control’ be doing in a physical universe of automatic, statistical-mechanical inevitables?

“I suspect that our culture actually knew, at some point, that reality, and the sense of reality and being a mind, is the ability to dream – the ability to be some kind of biological machine that dreams about a world that contains it.”

Joscha 14:28

This is what I find so frustrating to me about about Joscha’s view. It is SO CLOSE to getting the bigger picture but it doesn’t go *far enough*. Why doesn’t he see that the biological machine would also be part of the dream? The universe is not a machine that dreams (how? why? parsimony, hard problem) – it’s a dream that machines sometimes. Or to be more precise (and to advertise my multisense realism views), the universe is THE dream that *partially* divides itself into dreams. I propose that these diffracted dreams lens each other to seem like anti-dreams (concrete physical objects or abstract logical concepts) and like hyper-dreams (spiritual/psychedelic/transpersonal/mytho-poetic experiences), depending on the modalities of sense and sense-making that are available, and whether they are more adhesive to the “Holos” or more cohesive to the “Graphos” end of the universal continuum of sense.

“So what do we learn from intelligence in nature? So first if first if we want to try to build it, we need to start with some substrates. So we need to start with some representations.”

Yulia 16:08

Just noting this statement because in my understanding, a physical substrate would be a presentation rather than a re-presentation. If we are talking about the substrates in nature we are talking about what? Chemistry? Cells made of molecules? Shapes moving around? Right away Yulia’s view is seems to give objects representational abilities. I understand that the hard problem of consciousness is not supposed to be part of the scope of her talk, but I am that guy who demands that at this moment in time, it needs to be part of every talk that relates to AI!

“…and in nature the representations used seem to be not distributed. Neural networks, if you’re familiar with those, multiple units, multi-dimensional vectors represent things in the world…and not just (you know) single symbols.”

Yulia 16:20

How is this power of representation given to “units” or “vectors”, particularly if we are imagining a universe prior to consciousness? Must we assume that parts of the world just do have this power to symbolize, refer to, or seem like other parts of the world in multiple ways? That’s fine, I can set aside consciousness and listen to where she is going with this.

17:16: I like what Yulia brings up about the differences between natural and technological approaches as far as nature (biology really). She says that nature begins with dynamic stability by adaptation to change (homeostasis, yes?) while AI architecture starts with something static and then we introduce change if needed. I think that’s a good point, and relate it to my view that “AI is Inside Out“. I agree and go further to add that not only does nature begin with change and add stasis when needed but nature begins with *everything* that it is while AI begins with *nothing*…or at least it did until we started using enormous training sets of training data from the world.

  • to 18:14: She’s discussing the lag between sensation and higher cognition…the delay that makes prediction useful. This is a very popular notion and it is true as far as it goes. Sure, if we look at the events in the body as a chain reaction in the micro timescale, then there is a sequence going from retina to optical nerve to visual cortex, etc – but – I would argue this is only one of many timescales that we should understand and consider. In other ways, my body’s actions are *behind* my intentions for it. My typing fingers are racing to keep up with the dictation from my inner voice, which is racing to keep up with my failing memory of the ideas that I want to express. There are many agendas that are hovering over and above my moment-to-moment perceptions, only some of which I am personally aware of at any given moment but recognize my control over them in the long term. To look only at the classical scale of time and biology is to fall prey to the fallacy of smallism.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/

I can identify at least six modes of causality/time with only two of them being sequential/irreversible.

The denial of other modes of causality becomes a problem if the thing we’re interested in – personal consciousness, does not exist on that timescale or causality mode that we’re assuming is the only one that is real. I don’t think that we exist in our body or brain at all. The brain doesn’t know who we are. We aren’t there, and the brain’s billions of biochemical scale agendas aren’t here. Neither description represents the other, and only the personal scale has the capacity to represent anything. I propose that they are different timescales of the same phenomenon, which is ‘consciousness’, aka nested diffractions of the aesthetic-participatory Holos. One does not cause the other in the same way that these words you see on your screen are not causing concepts to be understood, and the pixels of the screen aren’t causing a perception of them as letters. They coincide temporally, but are related only through a context of conscious perception, not built up from unconscious functions of screens, computers, bodies, or brains.

  • to 25:39 …cool stuff about insect brains, neural circuits etc. 
  • 25:56 talking about population coding, distributed representations. I disagree with the direction that representation is supposed to take here, as far as I think that it is important to at least understand that brain functions cannot *literally* re-present anything. It is actually the image of the brain that is a presentation in our personal awareness that iconically recapitulates some aspects of the subpersonal timescale of awareness that we’re riding on top of. Again, I think we’re riding in parallel, not in series, with the phenomenon that we see as brain activity. I suggest that the brain activity never adds up to a conscious experience. The brain is the physical inflection point of what we do to the body and what the body does to us. Its activity is already a conscious experience in a smaller and larger timescale than our own, that is being used by the back end of another, personal timescale of conscious experience. What we see as the body is, in that timescale of awareness that is subpersonal rather than subconscious, a vast layer of conscious experiences that only look like mechanisms because of the perceptual lensing that diffracts perspective from all of the others. The personal scope of awareness sees the subpersonal scope of awareness as a body/cells/molecules because it’s objectifying the vast distance between that biological/zoological era of conscious experience so that it can coexist with our own. It is, in some sense, our evolutionary past – still living prehistorically. We relate to it as an alien community through microscoping instruments. I say this to point way toward a new idea. I’m not expecting that this would be common knowledge and I don’t consider that cutting edge thinkers like Sandamirskaya and Bach are ‘wrong’ for not thinking of it that way. Yes, I made this view of the universe up – but I think that it does actually work better than the alternatives that I have seen so far.
  • to 34:00 talking about the unity of the brain’s physical hardware with its (presumed) computing algorithms vs the disjunction between AI algorithms and the hardware/architectures we’ve been using. Good stuff, and again aligns with my view of AI being inverted or inside out. Our computers are a bottom-up facade that imitate some symptoms of some intelligence. Natural intelligence is bottom up, top down, center out, periphery in, and everything in between. It is not an imitation or an algorithm but it uses divided conscious experience to imitate and systemize as well as having its own genuine agendas that are much more life affirming and holistic than mere survival or control. Survival and control are annoyances for intelligence. Obstructions to slow down the progress from thin scopes of anesthetized consciousness to richer aesthetics of sophisticated consciousness. Yulia is explaining why neuroscience provides a good example of working AI that we should study and emulate – I agree that we should, but not because I think it will lead to true AGI, just that it will lead to more satisfying prosthetics for our own aesthetic-participatory/experiential enhancement…which is really what we’re trying to do anyhow, rather than conjure a competing inorganic super-species that cannot be killed.

When Joscha resumes after 34:00, he discusses Dall-E and the idea of AI as ‘dreaming’ but at the same time as ‘brute force’ with superhuman training on 800 million images. Here I think the latter is mutually exclusive of the former. Brute force training yes, dreaming and learning, no. Not literally. No more than a coin sorter learns banking. No more than an emoji smiles at us. I know this is tedious but I am compelled to continue to remind the world about the pathetic fallacy. Dall-E doesn’t see anything. It doesn’t need to. It’s not dreaming up images for us. It’s a fancy cash register that we have connected to a hypnotic display of its statistical outputs. Nothing wrong with that – it’s an amazing and mostly welcome addition to our experience and understanding. It is art in a sense, but in another it’s just a Ouija board through which we see recombinations of art that human beings have made for other human beings based on what they can see. If we want to get political about it, it’s a bit of a colonial land grab for intellectual property – but I’m ok with that for the moment.

In the dialogue that follows in the middle of the video, there is some interesting and unintentionally connected discussion about the lack of global understanding of the brain and the lack of interdisciplinary communication within academia between neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, neuromorphic engineers. (philosophers of mind not invited ;( ).
Note to self: get a bit more background on the AI silver bullet of the moment, the stochastic Gradient Descent Algorithm

Bach and Sandamirskaya discuss the benefits and limitations of the neuromorphic, embodied hardware approach vs investing more in building simulations using traditional computing hardware. We are now into the shop talk part of the presentation. I’m more of a spectator here, so it’s interesting but I have nothing to add.

By 57:12 Joscha makes an hypothesis about the failure of AI thus far to develop higher understanding.

“…the current systems are not entangled with the world, but I don’t think it’s because they are not robots, I think it’s because they’re not real time.”

To this I say it’s because ‘they’ are not real. It’s the same reason why the person in the mirror isn’t actually looking back at you. There is no person there. There is an image in our visual awareness. The mirror doesn’t even see it. There is no image for the mirror, it’s just a plane of electromagnetically conditioned metal behind glass that happens to do the same kind of thing that the matter of our eyeballs does, which is just optical physics that need not have any visible presentation at all.

The problem is the assumption that we are our body, or are in our body, or are generated by a brain/body rather than seeing physicality as a representation of consciousness on one timescale that is more fully presented in another that we can’t directly access. When we see an actor in a movie, we are seeing a moving image and hearing sound. I think that the experience of that screen image as a person is made available to us not through processing of those images and sounds but through the common sense that all images and sounds have with the visible and aural aspects of our personal experience. We see a person *through* the image rather than because of it. We see the ‘whole’ through ‘holes’ in our perception.

This is a massive intellectual shift, so I don’t expect anyone to be able to pull it off just by thinking about it for 30 seconds, even if they wanted to. It took several years of deep consideration for me. The hints are all around us though. Perceptual ‘fill-in’ is the rule, not the exception. Intuition. Presentiment. Precognitive dreams, remote viewing, and other psi. NDEs. Blindsight and synesthesia.

When we see each other as an image of a human body we are using our own limited human sight, which is also limited by the animal body>eyes>biology>chemistry>physics. All of that is only the small illuminated subset of consciousness-that-we-are-personally-conscious-of-when-we-are-normatively-awake. It should be clear that is not all that we are. I am not just these words, or the writer of these words, or a brain or a body, or a process using a brain or body, I am a conscious experience in a universe of conscious experiences that are holarchically diffracted (top down, bottom up, center out, etc). My intelligence isn’t an algorithm. My intelligence is a modality of awareness that uses algorithms and anti-algorithms alike. It feasts on understanding like olfactory-gustatory awareness feasts on food.

Even that is not all of who I am, and even “I” am not all of the larger transpersonal experience that I live through and that lives through me. I think that people who are gifted with deep understanding of mathematics and systemizing logic tend to have been conditioned to use that part of the psyche to the exclusion of other modes of sense and sense making, leaving the rich heritage of human understanding of larger psychic contexts to atrophy, or worse, reappear as a projected shadow appearance of ‘woo’ to the defensive ego, still wounded from the injury of centuries under our history of theocratic rule. This is of course very dangerous, and even more dangerous, you need that atrophied part of the psyche to understand why it is dangerous…which is why seeing the hard problem in the first place is too hard for many people, even many philosophers who have been discussing it for decades.

Synchronistically, I now return to the video at 57:54, where Yulia touches on climate change (or more importantly, from our perspective, climate destabilization) and the flawed expectation of mind uploading. I agree with her that it won’t work, although probably for different reasons. It’s not because the substrate matters – it does, but only because the substrate itself is a lensing artifact masking what is actually the totality of conscious experience.

Organic matter and biology are a living history of conscious experience that cannot be transcended without losing the significance and grounding of that history. Just as our body cannot survive by drinking an image of water, higher consciousness cannot flourish in a sandbox of abstract semiotic switches. We flourish *in spite of* the limits of body and brain, not because our experience is being generated by them.

This is not to say that I think organic matter and biology are in any way the limits of consciousness or human consciousness, but rather they are a symptom of the recipe for the development of the rich human qualities of consciousness that we value most. The actual recipe of human consciousness is made of an immense history of conscious experience, wrapped around itself in obscenely complicated ways that might echo the way that protein structures are ordered. This recipe includes seemingly senseless repetition of particular conscious experiences over vast durations of time. I don’t think that this authenticity can be faked. Unlike the patina of an antique chair or the bouquet of a vintage wine that could in theory be replicated artificially, the humanness of human consciousness depends on the actual authenticity of the experience. It actually takes billions of years of just these types of physical > chemical > organic > cellular > somatic > cerebral > anthropological > cultural > historical experiences to build the capacity to appreciate the richness and significance of those layers. Putting a huge data set end product of that chain of experience in the hands of a purely pre-organic electrochemical processor and expecting it to animate into human-like awareness is like trying to train a hydrogen bomb to sing songs around a campfire.

Matthew Forrest: Linear time is an illusion

July 20, 2021 Leave a comment

Great video Matthew. I agree mostly, but I don’t think that we need to conclude that linear time is (only) an 𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣, any more than we can conclude that photons are 𝒏𝒐𝒕 an illusion.


I see illusion itself as more illusory, a function of the perceptual sense of realism which is a hierarchical, power-law relation across multiple modes and scales of perceptual access.


For example, in the perceptual reality of all small flying insects such as a mosquito, the surface tension of water allows one to stand on top of a pond. The world at that scale is just a different world than it is at the scale of a human body.


I propose that in addition to having access to different qualities of the exterior (seeming) world by virtue of that world’s body size scale differences, mosquito experience also likely includes access to a corresponding set of interior (seeming) features (such as sensory and perceptual qualities) that human experience does not. The mosquito may not experience the world in anything like the stunning degree of aesthetic richness that human consciousness affords.


The mosquito’s life may be devoid of deep pain and pleasure as we know them, of a sense of self as separate from all of mosquito-kind, etc. It’s a different game of life at that scale – possibly more about geometry of feelings rather than the geometry of crystal clear objects we can touch and see with human scale sense.


Our scope of access changes as we grow and age, but also remains the same as far as it remains the experience of an individual human being, which is divided out of a larger collective experience of family, species, order, class, phylum, kingdom, etc. I propose that experience goes beyond biological kingdoms even, and into geo-chemical and astro-nuclear scales of 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 size and relative sample frequency rate.


It makes sense to me that because perception or consciousness is necessarily and literally 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙧 than reality, and includes sole access to all facts and fictions, facts are literally a localized/localizing subset of universal fiction rather than the other way around.


What we perceive to be stable facts (and which 𝙖𝙧𝙚 stable facts 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚, physical constants etc,) can be understood as established, ongoing fact-fiction experiences of a greater or lesser scale of significance than our own ongoing fact-fictions.

I propose that the relation of the scales of significance are the basis of the perceptual quality of realism, as well as gravity, both of which are the same power law relation of universal perception only interiorized and exterioirzed respectively.


We can have dreams that are more realistic or less realistic than our waking experience, but within any given dream or period of waking awareness, we can accept any degree of strangeness and surreality as factual reality. Only the experience of waking up, which is a perceptual shift in perceptual context, can change the relations to cast one set of experiences as dream and another as reality.


If you never wake up from a dream, that dream is your real life. The only difference is that real life is a dream that shares more context of common sense (sense that is literally common across more relative scales and sample rate frequencies, modalities, and quantities of individualized experiences).

Wai H. Tsang: Science and Technology. It’s origin & convergence back to Renaissance Religion – Zoom talk 31/03/21

April 2, 2021 Leave a comment

Great stuff from Wai H. Tsang. I’m about halfway through listening to this talk. Here are my comments:

I propose an additional clarification that the fractal, cyclical, and mathematical properties of the Totality are aspects of the Diffraction process or Diversification of the Unity into Universe.

My point in the comparison image is that I think that purpose – the participatory aspect of the Totality in general is not part of mathematics, fractals, etc. To the contrary, counting, and by extension math, computation, geometry, physics are passive instruments of purpose.

Specific purposes are clothed in algorithmic-geometric form, however only as a vehicle for expression of the true Unity of the Totality, which is more like the inversion of mathematics.

I was also inspired by Wai’s discussion and inclusion of this image. Talking about a teleological universe in which a retrocausal attractor is pulling us toward the originating singularity. I agree but to clarify, only in the Uni/Holos sense and not in the Verse/Graphos sense.

It’s complicated but…mortality is like a bubble of conscious perception within the Totality of conscious perception. The perception of the Totality from within that bubble varies from states of transparency, translucence, reflection, refraction, diffraction, and opacity to the Totality.

It’s a focus thing. As we change our focus (or our focus is changed for us), sensitivity to the Totality can be increased so that the self identifies with the Totality and sees no separation. This is profound and true, however, while consciousness is conditioned with mortality, the loss of separation is akin to mania/psychosis. The idealist is correct in the ultimate sense, but impractical and deluded from the mortality-dominated perspective.

As awareness contracts, focus shifts from the Totality to the Locality, and then to the bubble itself – the separation. It’s complicated because I think that what Wai and others are on to is a Unity of Graphos rather than Holos. All separations use similar schemas, but that similarity itself is maximally dissimilar to the true Holos/Absolute/Totality, which we experience mentally as imagination, perceptually as qualia, emotionally as love, somatically as pleasure, egotistically as success, etc. Physicality and mathematics are inversions of sensitivity…they are the concrete and abstract qualia of quanta.

Dr. Neil Theise Interview

December 15, 2019 Leave a comment

Great Stuff from Dr. Theise and Sean Webb (The Walrus) Starting from about halfway through, I suggest that the low level randomness of the body is a symptom of greater penetration of consciousness into the physicalized vocabulary either in an absolute sense or relative sense or both, rather than a cause of emergence by something like entropy modulation. In the relative sense, I mean that it may be the case that on a slow enough and large enough scale, even the lowest levels of randomness take on life-like appearances, so that living organisms appear to have more low level randomness to us because we are alive and therefore more sensitive to our own class of ‘likeness’. I propose that like experiences have more access and more nuanced renderings of each other, so that any experiences of a sufficiently similar perceptual sampling rate will be experienced as ‘alive’, or more alive to each other than dissimilarly timescaled experiences.

I also think that the appearance of emergent symptoms in artificial systems need not be an indication of a rich, multi-sensory experience, i.e. that a simulation has begun for the bits or avatar collection of bits, but rather reflects the ‘autistic’ ghost-limb type residuation of the isolated band of intellectualized-game theoretic sense which has put the bit-nursing technology together in the first place. The bits aren’t having an experience, we are using matter as a resonator/reflector to conjure an image of one surface or bounded slice of the continuum of universal perception. Computers mirror an image of intelligence back to that intelligence (such as ours) but are not themselves hosting intelligence. By contrast, the brain is an image (our image shared by macro scale animal experiences) of sub-personal experience that is actually bridging the gap between personal and impersonal (astrophysical) scales of experience. Brain has computational properties but is not computing anything. A computer has low level experiential properties but those are not accumulating a higher order of experience via constitutive, many-to-one emergence. I think that all experiences are a top-down divergence riding on a bottom up pseudo-emergence, as well as a center-out/in expansion. In other words, we are part beast, part angel, and part unique/unprecedented person. The beast part is, in its own context part micro-beast (cell), part sub-person  or sub-self (impulses, urges, id), and part person (its ‘God’/superego/trans-subself…how the animal’s body is influenced by its unseen master…our personal will influences our body from the top down via voluntary control over efferent nervous impulses > muscle tissue).

As far as self-organization goes, I would add that while I think all phenomena are conscious experience in some sense and scale, the way that organization emerges or is implemented may not be visible to the experiences whose ‘body’/exterior facing rendering is being organized. It may not be strictly correct to say that unintelligent agents ‘self-organize’, or that the appearance of spontaneous organization is a symptom of the micro-intelligence of what is being organized. We may be observing a teleonomy based, ad hoc statistical organization rather than a teleologically based intent to organize. There may be teleology, but not on the same level as the body appearance of organization.

A nit picky thing, Dr. Theise was talking about mass emerging from fundamental energy, i.e. particles appearing randomly in the primordial quantum context. It seems to me that this connects to what he was saying about figure/ground switching in an ambiguous image (like this famous face-vase one:


Isn’t the difference between mass and energy a figure-ground relation based on frame of reference? So I’m thinking that while from any given perspective/perceptual frame massive particles appear and disappear in a given local scope of perception, those events are reflections of overlap between one part of the scope and another which are appearing and disappearing…freckles of self-impermeability…a sense of self-spatiotemporalizing insensitivities which serve to spatialize and temporalize (objectify and subjectify) the sense of tangibility from tactile sense qualia. Maybe that was sort of implied though.

In the second half, the conversation goes into a direction that really meshes perfectly with what I suggest in MSR:

MSRchart619

The main difference is that I’m trying to replace all references to emergence of one level of consciousness from many agents on another level to a model of a kind of parallel divergence into different levels of unity and “unit-y” (disunity). This is not to say that I don’t believe our bodies evolved from biology, or that biology didn’t evolve from chemistry in a sense, but that since I think that the universe is primarily driven by the teleological saturation/signficance-seeking nature of consciousness into richer and richer subjectivity (sensation > perception > consciousness ‘phorologies‘*), the evolution of tangible objects and structures (physical > chemical > biological morphologies) is only an unintended/teleonomical consequence of the separation of otherwise united experience-lines. The ants are causing the ant hill, but the ant hill may or may not be a symptom of ant hill-scale subjectivity. The ant is building the ant hill, but if the ant hill has a conscious experience associated with it, I would expect it to be as much biosphere consciousness from the top down as it is ant consciousness from the bottom up. Yes, at the bottom and the top of the stack (quantum and cosmological scales) there is a dissolving or transcending of the subject-object dualism, but again that appearance and disappearance of dualism is itself perspective-dependent. If I change my perspective, my frequency-scale of permeability-impermeability to the Totality of consciousness, then what I can see as duality and non-duality changes. In a psychologically contracted/focused state, I see diametrically opposed subject-object (phoric-morphic) duality. In a deep trance, psychedelic state, etc, “I” don’t exist except as a metaphor for a particular expression/diffraction of human archetype. Under general anesthetic “I” don’t exist except as a particular sequence of genetic semaphores repeating within a community of cells.

2MSRandFreeWill

My suspicion is that the boundaries of any conscious experience will be rendered as being driven by quasi-random (bottom facing coincidence) or quasi-fateful (top facing synchronicities). The random/fated appearance is just our own scope’s bias, its ‘red shift’ toward the bottom of its stack or its blue-violet shift toward the top of the stack. In terms of causality, within any given experience, it is the bottom end of the stack that can be controlled by tangible means, technology and instruments which extend the exterior, body-world facing senses of touch-move while the top end of the stack controls us by intangible means…serendipities and synchronicities which open our intuitive sense modalities to be ‘touched’ and ‘moved’ by the transcendent ‘spirit’ world. There is a meta thing I’m doing there also in contrasting the literal and metaphorical sense of touch and move (see diagram above…metaphorical = high end of the stack, ‘semaphorical’ = low end of the stack).

 

*phorologies = neologism for aesthetic elaborations of direct feeling and sensation, as diametrically opposed to ‘morphologies’, which would be morphological-topological renderings of indirect feeling/sensation.

Top = Transpersonal = Metaphoric
Center = Personal = Phoric
Bottom = Subpersonal = Semaphoric

Top = Cosmological scale spacetime = Metamorphic
Center = Meso-scale objects & subjects = Morphic-Phoric
Bottom = Quantum-scale particle-wave = Semaphoric

Antonin Tuynman: From Information Theory to a Theory of Everything

December 7, 2018 1 comment

An excellent presentation from Antonin Tuynman. I think that this view is on the right track. Here are my comments, including a proposition for a new interpretation of physical theory.

Can anything exist without informational content?

Yes, I think that it can and does. When an infant sees colors, for example, there need not be any informative message that is made available by color. The color itself is presented directly, and only after psychological association does it acquire externally informative content. Blue must be presented as a visible ‘sight’ before it can be used as a label to inform us about something else.  We could try to say that color informs us of the wavelength of relevant electromagnetic states of our environment, but such data could be more plausibly attributed to (colorless) changes in the physiology of the nervous system.

If we say that something contains information, we are assuming a default capacity for receiving and processing information, and then conflating that with a default capacity for things to project information. This may not be how it works. Information, messages, codes, etc may not be entities at the ontological level, they may just be formalized instances of communication between conscious participants. Our consciousness can be informed by anything, but that doesn’t mean that any such thing as information exists independently of the change in conscious experience. In the same way, I suggest below that perhaps matter can be ‘illuminated’ without any purely physical photons radiating across empty space.

At some point, the video discusses information as relying on features that ‘stand out’. In my view,  if we want to completely understand information, we should be careful to acknowledge the role that perception plays in rendering what does and does not appear to stand out. Standing out is a function of how aesthetic presentations appear. To a trained musician hearing a song being covered by an artist, a ‘wrong chord’ might stand out, but to everyone else, they may notice nothing consciously. We should not assume any such thing as standing out without some modality to detect and care about detecting. I think that before difference can exist, sensitivity, or what I call “afference” must exist. For information to exist, there must be some phenomenal state that is ‘informed’…an experience that changes itself, and includes a capacity to notice those changes and then to lear from it. We shouldn’t assume aesthetic qualities like ‘homogeneous’ as objective properties unless we know that the degree and mode of sensitivity employed does not play a s central role in defining such qualities. It may not be possible to know that, and further, it may be that the only “is” or “being” is sense or seeming.

23:12 – Discussion about all subatomic particles having wavelengths, amplitude etc.. making them actually numerical/informational entities.

To this, I say, not necessarily. It may be that numerical appearances of physical structures are presented to our instruments because those instruments only extend those senses that relate to the body, particularly touch. It may not be nature that is quantifying physics, but the sense of tangibility being relied on with our technology and analysis which limits discovery to quantifiable appearances. Our way of experimenting and interpreting quantum may be like counting colors of a rainbow on our fingers, and then projecting the finger’s tangible properties as revealing of the deep nature of rainbows, when in fact the rainbow is not limited by those properties.

I like the Ouroboros example and mention of panpsychism very much. The part about self-awareness as being like the snake biting its tail rings true, however, like the finger and the rainbow, it may lead us to some assumptions that we don’t have to make. In my view, rather than self-awareness being a loop that is positively constructed against a background of nothingness, I suggest the opposite. If the default state of ‘existence’ is awareness, then the circuit of self-awareness does not begin with a circuit turned on, but instead begins with a kind of ‘dark current‘ circuit of snake-hood turning off. Loops only become necessary *after* a dissociation/division occurs.

In other words, information is only ever a local re-connection with a more complete, less-local experience. Information is not added on to a vacuum to make consciousness, rather consciousness is divided by degrees of relative unconscious or vacuum-like appearances. These disconnections or divisions in experience would be the initial cause of all formations, which then can be re-membered on another level of sense-making experience as ‘information’. This view might be considered to go beyond panpsychism or cosmopsychism in that the universe is not a ‘thing-that-is-conscious’, but a conscious experience that is ‘thinging’ by dividing and re-unifying parts of itself. Thingness/objectivity and sensor-hood/subjectivty become emergent (really divergent) artifacts of diffraction of experience. It’s not that particles sense they are being looked at, rather there are no particles ‘out there’, only a particularizing method of perception and interpretation that we are employing. Information arises from a juxtaposition of conscious experiences that reconnect some aspect of experiences with each other. Matter is like ‘information squared’ experience that has been divided and re-connected in two opposite ways – as a hyper-connected (subjectivized, contextualized, temporalized, intangible) presentation, and as a hyper-disconnected (objectified, disentangled, spatialized, tangible) presentation (matter).

Extra credit: Re-interpreting subatomic physics

Very early on, at 3:19, the question of what fundamentally exists is brought up. It is mentioned that currently, we suppose that there are forms of existence which are more subtle than matter, such as electromagnetism. I agree that is the consensus, but I have a crazy conjecture that all physical phenomena that seem to be more subtle than matter may be better explained as dynamic sensory-motive modifications to matter’s definition. Instead of of a quantum mechanical reality beneath matter, I propose an aesthetic-participatory context, in which realism is qualified and quantified into different appearances. QM is only half of the story.

Even very efficient nuclear fusion is only thought to convert less than one half of one percent of its matter to energy. Over 99.5% of a nuclear explosion is just the energy released from changing the particular spatial configuration in which the atom’s nuclear particles happen to be bound. What is released mostly ‘binding energy’, but what would that realistically mean? How would moving particles away from each other result in an enormous appearance of ‘energy’?

E=mc² is a fact, however in this view, energy, mass, light, and spacetime may not be entities that are independent from matter. I think it is possible that they are behaviors of matter, or more specifically, they are the symptoms of how sense experiences spatiotemporalize themselves into objectified appearances of tangible, geometric structures, aka ‘matter’. The spatiotemporalizing (or disentangling-contextualizing) I suggest, would accomplished by modulation of aesthetically creative sensory-motive qualities which are cosmologically primitive and absolute.

In the view that I propose, nuclear particles can be thought of as analogous to groups of dancing musicians. When a group comes together or breaks apart, those musicians play very loud and fast music, which causes other groups of musicians to increase the volume and tempo of their own dancing and playing, which then sets up the nuclear chain reaction. Notice how the model of the atom has progressed from mechanical objects to a more ephemeral cloud. It doesn’t necessarily make sense just because we can get valid predictions out of it. The reality of atoms may be a more complicated story of pseudo-corpusculization via aesthetic modulation in the sense modality of tangibility. We may be counting rainbow colors on our fingers again.The-History-of-the-Atom-–-Theories-and-Models

To use another analogy, when we see a flag flapping in the wind, we understand that the flag is being passively pushed around by the wind that surrounds it. In a vacuum, gravity or acceleration would also passively cause changes in the shape of the flag. With electromagnetism though, there is no material medium…no wind moving anything around. Electromagnetic theory has developed into a way of believing a sort of intangible ‘wind’ that is made of probability. What I propose is completely different: It’s the flag itself that is acting and reacting to other flags directly. I think that recent scientific insights about perception may be leading in that direction. Our experience may not a ‘simulation’ in the brain, rather, physics is perception on the astrophysical scale.

Could our entire concept of electromagnetism as force-fields in physical space be misguided? Are we presuming a pseudo-material forcefield that pushes passive particles around, when the truth may be that the appearances of ‘particles’ or ‘waves’ are themselves reflections of the instruments and methods we are using to perceive?

My proposal is that EM radiation can be reduced conceptually to certain kinds of fundamental perceptual interactions. Under this theory, there would be no literal waves or particles of EM radiation in a vacuum – no photons or electrons traveling across the empty-ish space between atoms. Instead, it would be the atoms themselves which become more and less sensitive to each other’s states, or even better, the experiences behind the appearance of atoms which expand and contract in a kind of ‘stimulation space’ that is aesthetic/qualitative and concretely non-spatial.

I suspect that it is possible that we’ve gotten Quantum interpretation all wrong. Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory is one of the few interpretations that I think may have been on the right track. I would extend it by suggesting that the subatomic particle-waves may not literally be ’emitted’ or ‘absorbed’ across space, but rather they are more like sensations which rise to a contagious level of activity and then pass into a dormant phase. Certain changes in an atom’s properties can be shared directly, and those can become a channel for other re-connections to larger experiences to be shared also. Another way of saying it is that I am proposing that instead of defining the speed of light in terms of vacuum permeability and permittivity of magnetic and electric fields, light itself becomes the permeability and permittivity, or shareability of phenomenal stimulation. Just as sight allows us to touch something from a distance, so too might all light, sound, smell, emotion, etc represent a partial re-connection of phenomenal experiences which have been spatially disentangled and temporally contextualized to appear separate to each other.

 

Even Wilder-Ass Sh*t

June 19, 2017 Leave a comment

I’m only about 20 minutes in to the video, but I wanted to post some comments before I forget them.

Topic 1. Non-Foundational sets
Take the idea of non-foundational sets and infinite probability distributions of infinite probability distributions but invert it. Literally, invert the language and then conceptualize the result. If I do this and apply it as a hypothesis, the foundation of consciousness and nature in general would be Absolutely foundational setless-ness. Consciousness now no longer needs to be positively asserted as an agent which instantiates itself recursively, rather it is the appearance of unconsciousness which is a negative assertion which is temporarily instantiated by manipulating relative degrees of sensitivity. Think here of how the color black or white are colors which stand in for colorlessness. Desaturating an image is analogous to how conscious experience is truncated into forms and functions which are quantifiable.

Consciousness now no longer needs to be positively asserted as an agent which instantiates itself recursively, rather it is the appearance of unconsciousness within consciousness which is a negative assertion which is temporarily instantiated by manipulating relative degrees of sensitivity. Think here of how black or white are colors which stand in for colorlessness. Desaturating an image is analogous to how conscious experience is truncated into quantifiable, finite forms and functions.*

To continue then: Instead of infinite probability distributions, I propose the inverse: Finite, but absolutely pervasive improbability. If we trace back any consideration of first cause we run into a something that we have to admit is being considered beyond causality and existed ‘just because’. Instead of banishing this miraculous-seeming appearance of ‘existence’ from nothing or vacuum potential or God, I see that all phenomena have some degree of uniqueness, and that uniqueness is by definition idiopathic (aka ‘strongly emergent’). Blue comes out of nothing but itself, and ultimately the uniqueness of any given moment does the same thing. By grounding our view of nature in infinite improbability, we can re-frame our own interest in probability as a function of our subjective desire to defy incompleteness rather than an impartial assessment of nature as a phenomenon.

Topic 2: Hypercomputation
I like this line of thinking. I would suggest thinking first of ‘transcomputation’ rather than hypercomputation, that is, instead of conditions which are inaccessible to computation simply because they exceed quantitative limits of finite-ness, think of finite-ness itself as only the monochrome edges which bound a deeper and dynamically expanding spectrum of universal phenomenology. Because this spectrum is pervasive, communication is a matter of triggering each entity’s unmasking of their own separation from the totality rather than generating a new understanding which is copied from one entity to another.

To communicate is to subtract a seperation between two minds, and the separation between minds and the totality of cognitive truth, and between that totality of truth and the universal phenomenal spectrum. To communicate is to dissolve some of the masking of underlying unity across all phenomena.

Topic 3: Morphic Resonance
Morphe = form, shape. I like Rupert Sheldrake’s famous idea of MR, but again I would invert it. The name ‘Morphic Resonance’ draws us to the exteriors of tangible and visible objects. It implies that forms hold meaning which propagates to other forms. Turning that inside out, I find the resonance to be ‘phoric’ rather than morphic. This neologistic use of the Greek root ‘phor’ (pherein, to carry, bear) is intended to inspire associations with terms like ‘metaphor’, ‘euphoria/dysphoria’ and even ‘semaphore’. Between these three terms, we might glimpse a sign of three ‘primary colors’ of human consciousness: The the personal, the sub-personal or impersonal, and the transpersonal. I am a holon of experiences (‘phoria’), my body is a holon of biochemical code (‘semaphoria’), and my lifetime is a leaf on a branching ‘zeitgeist tree’ of mytho-poetic themes propagating from the top down (‘metaphoria’ or anthro-metaphoria for us humans).

In all cases where we talk about ‘patterns’ (morphe) we should substute ‘sense’ (phor), i.e. instead of an ontological, existential phenomenon, we should think of a phenomenon which expresses itself to itself by self-masking, unmasking, and residuating novelty (in a similar way to the residuation of color from the diffracting of visible light which is ‘white’, i.e. colorless, clear, and representative of visibility itself).

*sidebar: If we have color, we can use it to point to the potential for colorlessness. This pointing can’t be accomplished mechanically because there can’t literally be a color which implies colorlessness, but because of the aesthetic quality of black and white in relation to the other colors, we can pick up on a metaphor. By being able to access the difference between monochrome and color vision, and compare them, we ‘break the fourth wall’ which separates the content of visible phenomena from the modality of our visual sense, and we can carry that metaphorical wall breaking to the larger context of the wall between our personal experience and the totality of all possible experience. We can see that visibility is possible with only one dimension of hue, but only if we have more hues that we can compare it with. If there were no color vision, there would be no way to conceive of more than one type of hue (luminosity).

Where Is This Video?

April 16, 2014 40 comments

The reducibility of our body to elementary functions and forms does not necessarily have to reduce us to forgeries. There is another possibility, which is that there is something to be forged that is precisely the opposite of a copy. As hinted at in the video, each experienced moment is a kind of unrepeatable performance. Instead of focusing on the absence of a concrete physical object, we can look at the aesthetic content of the experience itself as the concrete phenomenon – not a simulacrum (pronounced sim-you-lah-crum) but a localized fragment of authenticity itself. Is color basically a bad copy of white light? Is the universe basically a bad copy of nothingness?

Humans are not bad copies of anything, but the degree to which we are unique snowflakes is relative to the proximity of our scope of consideration. Within our own frame of reference, we are absolutely unique. Within a social frame of reference, we are stereotyped culturally. Moving out from the human context, an individual human becomes more and more generic – a mammal, an animal, a biological organism, a chemical reaction, etc. This variance is, in my view, what the universe is ‘made of’, so that no one context of description is the final ‘real’ description.

In other words, this commentary is literally “here”, and that video is actually “there”, and that is what relativity ultimately means…perception itself – awareness, is the ultimate frame of reference, and without perception, there is nothing to frame.

m-zombie: A Challenge to Computationalism

March 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Have a look at this quick video, or get the idea from this gif:

Since the VCR can get video feedback of itself, is there any computational reason why this doesn’t count as a degree of self awareness?

Turning the Systems Reply to the Chinese Room on its head, I submit that if we consider the Chinese room to be an intelligent *system*, then we must also consider the system of VCR+camera pointed at itself to be a viable AGI as well.

The correlation of corrupted video feed with the actual physical attacks on the system must be construed as awareness, especially since the video effects are unique and specifically correlated so as to present a complex vocabulary of responses. If functionalism rejects the evidence of this correlation as being experienced qualitatively, then it must posit the existence of an m-zombie (machine zombie), in which the system unintentionally mimics the responses expected from sentient computations from a sub-computational level.

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