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Re: Read this; digital versus analog sensor??

 
 
Bryan
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      03-12-2012
Mxsmanic wrote:
> It is their effect, not their purpose. Having a purpose implies conscious
> design.


'Specially if the purpose is desperate need for attention.
 
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Chris Malcolm
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-12-2012
Mxsmanic <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Chris Malcolm writes:


>> That's only because you've defined purpose as only applying to
>> consciousness. That's a rather restrictive definition which makes it
>> impossible to say that the purpose of a hawk's wing to fly or the
>> purpose of a hawk's eye is to see.


> But you've proved my point. Yes, I've defined something. Only a conscious
> entity can define things. Definition is one of many, many activities that
> indirectly require consciousness.


I can't do mental arithmetic without consciousness, because in order
to do it I have to consciously work through the arithmetic rules (such
as the multiplication tables) I have learned in my mind. But I know
that it's possible to build machines which are not conscious which can
do arithmetic. I also know that it's possible to argue that these
machines aren't really doing arithmetic because they're not
conscious. They're just blindly automatically blundering through a
process we interpret as doing arithmetic.

By the same kind of argument the computer system Deep Blue didn't
really beat Kasparov at chess, because only a conscious entity is
capable of the judgments and decisions required to play chess.

Is that what you think? What words would you use to describe what I
call a computer beating Kasparov at chess?

> Nothing in the physical world loves or hates. Both activities require
> consciousness, and consciousness is a metaphysical phenomenon (because it
> cannot be observed or measured).


Having a conscious feeling necessarily involves consciousness. It's
true we can't observe or measure consciousness. But is that because
it's logically impossible to do so, or is it something that's simply
beyond the technology we currently have available, as weighing the
moon once was?

>> Has no physical existence? There's a collection of nerve cells in your
>> brain which are always activated when you're thinking about the
>> concept of information.


> Perhaps, but they are not my consciousness.


Nor is Oxford university its buildings, staff, and students. But if
you remove those physical things, Oxford university has ceased to
exist. Nor is Beethoven's 5th symphony any of its recordings, scores,
or musician's memories. But destroy all recordings, scores, and
musicians who can play it from memory and it will cease to
exist. There are many kinds of existence, some of which depend on
physical embodiment in rather subtle and complex ways.

>> If a stroke kills those cells you will be
>> unable to think about the concept of information.


> But that doesn't have anything to do with consciousness.


It most certainly does if consciousness, like computation, or like
information, requires physical embodiment of some kind to exist.

>> And I hope you're not suggesting that Wikipedia has no physical existence?


> Wikipedia has a physical existence, but that existence is limited to electrons
> and circuits. The information it contains exists only in association with
> conscious entities.


Computer scientists consider a computer program to be information
which can read and acted upon by a computer program. Of course most
computer programs are written by human beings. So there's the
association with consciousness. But some are written by other computer
programs.

What word do you use to describe encoded information which was created
and used by machines, information which no human being has ever
decoded?

>> So the the concept of information does require some physical mediation
>> in order to exist. But not of course the same kind of physical
>> existence as is required for the existence of a stone.


> But consciousness does not require a physical infrastructure.


That's how you have chosen to define it. So why are we wasting good
taxpayers' money on funding all those researchers who are trying to
discover what kind of physical infrastructure underlies consciousness?

>> There is for us. It's called scientific investigation.


> That is an activity carried out by conscious entities only.


It is as far as we know. But the question is whether that is
necessarily the case, or only accidentally the case. Could there be on
another planet some non-conscious beings doing scientific
investigation?

>> It is. Are you not familiar with biological evolution?


> So it's not information. It's just random chance. QED.


Scientists use the term "genetic code" because they consider it to be
encoded information. It describes how to build a living creature in a
symbolic manner using symbols and a grammar. But according to you the
genetic code does not contain information, so it's not a code, it's
"just random chance"? Have I got that right?

>> The point is that if you keep collecting chance modifications to a
>> design which work better and discarding chance modifications which
>> work worse you end up with a design which works much better.


> A design requires consciousness; unconscious molecules and proteins and such
> do not have consciousness (right?). The laws of thermodynamics say that
> everything tends to disorder. The distinguishing feature of living systems is
> that they reverse this tendency.


The laws of thermodynamics refer to global system order and
disorder. There's nothing to stop local order developing in a local
system at the expense of increasing disorder external to it. Living
systems aren't the only things which do that. Stars do it for example.

>> We now use computer-based models of that process to develop engineering designs.


> The computer-based models were designed by conscious entities.


That's true, but the models weren't invented by us, they were
discovered by us in the biological world. They're copies of biological
evolutionary processes.

>> That's true, but what does that matter so long as we know it works?


> It has many metaphysical implications, which scientists are often reluctant or
> adamantly opposed to recognizing. That's what irritates some scientists about
> the Copenhagen Interpretation.


If we made contact with an alien technologically advanced race from
another planet how would we discover whether or not they were
conscious?

>> Computer-based design evolution keeps turning up things which work
>> which we don't know why they work. If it's important to know why we
>> investigate it until we do. Often we don't bother because it doesn't
>> matter.


> But those computer-based design systems didn't build themselves.


The important question is whether that's simply because that's as far
as we've got with the development of artificial intelligence etc. or
whether it's impossible for such systems to be built without the
intervention of consciousness.

>> The hawk's wings and eyes worked very well long before human beings
>> existed, let alone started to wonder how they worked.


> Yes. I wonder why.


I've long been under the impression that Darwin started an amazingly
successful and fruitful research project which has answered that
question.

I know that the kind of definitions you've been making of the
relationship of information and consciousness are very popular in the
US because they enable one to conclude that the hawk's wings and eyes
prove the existence of God.

--
Chris Malcolm
 
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J. Clarke
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-12-2012
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
says...
>
> Mxsmanic <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > Chris Malcolm writes:

>
> >> That's only because you've defined purpose as only applying to
> >> consciousness. That's a rather restrictive definition which makes it
> >> impossible to say that the purpose of a hawk's wing to fly or the
> >> purpose of a hawk's eye is to see.

>
> > But you've proved my point. Yes, I've defined something. Only a conscious
> > entity can define things. Definition is one of many, many activities that
> > indirectly require consciousness.

>
> I can't do mental arithmetic without consciousness, because in order
> to do it I have to consciously work through the arithmetic rules (such
> as the multiplication tables) I have learned in my mind. But I know
> that it's possible to build machines which are not conscious which can
> do arithmetic. I also know that it's possible to argue that these
> machines aren't really doing arithmetic because they're not
> conscious. They're just blindly automatically blundering through a
> process we interpret as doing arithmetic.
>
> By the same kind of argument the computer system Deep Blue didn't
> really beat Kasparov at chess, because only a conscious entity is
> capable of the judgments and decisions required to play chess.
>
> Is that what you think? What words would you use to describe what I
> call a computer beating Kasparov at chess?
>
> > Nothing in the physical world loves or hates. Both activities require
> > consciousness, and consciousness is a metaphysical phenomenon (because it
> > cannot be observed or measured).

>
> Having a conscious feeling necessarily involves consciousness. It's
> true we can't observe or measure consciousness. But is that because
> it's logically impossible to do so, or is it something that's simply
> beyond the technology we currently have available, as weighing the
> moon once was?
>
> >> Has no physical existence? There's a collection of nerve cells in your
> >> brain which are always activated when you're thinking about the
> >> concept of information.

>
> > Perhaps, but they are not my consciousness.

>
> Nor is Oxford university its buildings, staff, and students. But if
> you remove those physical things, Oxford university has ceased to
> exist. Nor is Beethoven's 5th symphony any of its recordings, scores,
> or musician's memories. But destroy all recordings, scores, and
> musicians who can play it from memory and it will cease to
> exist. There are many kinds of existence, some of which depend on
> physical embodiment in rather subtle and complex ways.
>
> >> If a stroke kills those cells you will be
> >> unable to think about the concept of information.

>
> > But that doesn't have anything to do with consciousness.

>
> It most certainly does if consciousness, like computation, or like
> information, requires physical embodiment of some kind to exist.
>
> >> And I hope you're not suggesting that Wikipedia has no physical existence?

>
> > Wikipedia has a physical existence, but that existence is limited to electrons
> > and circuits. The information it contains exists only in association with
> > conscious entities.

>
> Computer scientists consider a computer program to be information
> which can read and acted upon by a computer program. Of course most
> computer programs are written by human beings. So there's the
> association with consciousness. But some are written by other computer
> programs.
>
> What word do you use to describe encoded information which was created
> and used by machines, information which no human being has ever
> decoded?
>
> >> So the the concept of information does require some physical mediation
> >> in order to exist. But not of course the same kind of physical
> >> existence as is required for the existence of a stone.

>
> > But consciousness does not require a physical infrastructure.

>
> That's how you have chosen to define it. So why are we wasting good
> taxpayers' money on funding all those researchers who are trying to
> discover what kind of physical infrastructure underlies consciousness?
>
> >> There is for us. It's called scientific investigation.

>
> > That is an activity carried out by conscious entities only.

>
> It is as far as we know. But the question is whether that is
> necessarily the case, or only accidentally the case. Could there be on
> another planet some non-conscious beings doing scientific
> investigation?
>
> >> It is. Are you not familiar with biological evolution?

>
> > So it's not information. It's just random chance. QED.

>
> Scientists use the term "genetic code" because they consider it to be
> encoded information. It describes how to build a living creature in a
> symbolic manner using symbols and a grammar. But according to you the
> genetic code does not contain information, so it's not a code, it's
> "just random chance"? Have I got that right?
>
> >> The point is that if you keep collecting chance modifications to a
> >> design which work better and discarding chance modifications which
> >> work worse you end up with a design which works much better.

>
> > A design requires consciousness; unconscious molecules and proteins and such
> > do not have consciousness (right?). The laws of thermodynamics say that
> > everything tends to disorder. The distinguishing feature of living systems is
> > that they reverse this tendency.

>
> The laws of thermodynamics refer to global system order and
> disorder. There's nothing to stop local order developing in a local
> system at the expense of increasing disorder external to it. Living
> systems aren't the only things which do that. Stars do it for example.
>
> >> We now use computer-based models of that process to develop engineering designs.

>
> > The computer-based models were designed by conscious entities.

>
> That's true, but the models weren't invented by us, they were
> discovered by us in the biological world. They're copies of biological
> evolutionary processes.
>
> >> That's true, but what does that matter so long as we know it works?

>
> > It has many metaphysical implications, which scientists are often reluctant or
> > adamantly opposed to recognizing. That's what irritates some scientists about
> > the Copenhagen Interpretation.

>
> If we made contact with an alien technologically advanced race from
> another planet how would we discover whether or not they were
> conscious?
>
> >> Computer-based design evolution keeps turning up things which work
> >> which we don't know why they work. If it's important to know why we
> >> investigate it until we do. Often we don't bother because it doesn't
> >> matter.

>
> > But those computer-based design systems didn't build themselves.

>
> The important question is whether that's simply because that's as far
> as we've got with the development of artificial intelligence etc. or
> whether it's impossible for such systems to be built without the
> intervention of consciousness.
>
> >> The hawk's wings and eyes worked very well long before human beings
> >> existed, let alone started to wonder how they worked.

>
> > Yes. I wonder why.

>
> I've long been under the impression that Darwin started an amazingly
> successful and fruitful research project which has answered that
> question.
>
> I know that the kind of definitions you've been making of the
> relationship of information and consciousness are very popular in the
> US because they enable one to conclude that the hawk's wings and eyes
> prove the existence of God.


It's my experience that fundamentalist Christians (who contrary to what
you seem to think are not in particularly good odor in the US) generally
don't think so far as to define their terms.


 
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