Downloading Consciousness .. Immortality?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by goose, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I understand your perspective, but if we build an AI with the ability to look at an object and name it plus tell us what its use is, we can make a case that the AI is now consciously aware of the object and can describe it in detail.
    What is unconscious about that?

    It depends on the scope of the term "consciousness" Single celled paramecium are conscious, they avoid obstacles.
    Bacteria have "quorum sensing", a hive consciousness which directs the bacterial behavior of all bacteria in tandem.
    These are forms of conscious awareness of the environment, exotic forms I grant, but "aware" at some level and "awareness" is a self-referential assessment.
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  3. DNA100 Registered Senior Member

    I am not sure that that alone will be sufficient to classify it as conscious.
    The real question is - is it aware of the uses of the object? This awareness or experience is what determines whether it is conscious or not.

    A lot of animal behavior is actually unconscious. We can call them zombie processes or programmed behavior.

    For example when we walk we are not usually aware or conscious of every minute step we are taking. It is a programmed or habitual behavior. This however does not change the fact that if we want to, we can pay attention to our walking. We can experience our walking, whereas a robot like Asimo can walk but is probably never aware of it. That is the real issue.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    OK where does conscious awareness start and where does it end?
    No, it's not unconscious, it is sub-conscious. A lot of human behavior is subconscious. It's called "interoception" and is the sub-conscious motor and system control of our organs
    No, you'r still on the wrong track. Can you stop your heart from beating? No, because it is under subconscious autoresponse control.

    You compare consciousness with human consciousness, but that is a false equivalency.
    A Bloodhound is a 1000x more aware of odors than humans, An Eagle has 100x better vision than humans, A cat has 100x better auditory range and sensitivity than humans. Bats and Whales navigate via sonar, sharks by electrical impulses. All of these animals are more aware of these specific natural phenomena than humans and they take conscious action based on those abilities.

    IMO, the main problem is a sense of touch as all living things have. It requires an enormous number of tactile sensors but were already working on that.

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  7. DNA100 Registered Senior Member

    By awareness I mean subjective experience. We all know what a subjective experience is. Beyond that I don't think anyone in the world has the answers as to what it actually is.

    We all know what time is. But where it starts and where it ends - who knows?

    How do you define subconscious and unconscious?

    I think cats, bloodhounds, whales, bats, eagles and sharks are all conscious at some level. So are humans. Sophia is not conscious IMO.

    Sophia isn't that impressive.
    The earliest chatbots were already there in 1960s and the earliest robots that can either walk or have facial expressions were already there in 1980s and 1990s.
    Obviously, all these technologies have become more powerful over the years. Combine these technologies and you get a Sophia.
  8. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

    We all know what time is

    Not in my experience

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  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    So does a slime mold. A single celled organism that can remember time intervals and solve mazes. However it does so without a brain, so technically it is unconscious.
    It communicates with itself as a hive mind. Quite remarkable.

    Interoception is subconscious background activity hidden from conscious control. Much like your computer maintenance program.

    Unconscious means no brain activity or lacking a brain.

    Perhaps awareness is not necessarily a purely brain function, but sensory experiences may be achieved by several other means.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  10. DNA100 Registered Senior Member

    When I say 'conscious' I mean presence of experience or awareness. Whether a brain is involved or not is of secondary importance.(it probably is)

    What is a 'brain' BTW? Does an ANN(Artificial Neural Network ) count as a brain? Does an Intel processor count as one?
  11. DNA100 Registered Senior Member

    I also want to clarify that while I don't think we can just "store" or "download" consciousness itself in a typical hard disk, I think it still may be possible to stream or download experiences digitally. But that will require developing new kind of interfaces between our brain(assuming that is where experiences occur) and computer. So while a youtube video is viewed via a monitor and speaker through our eyes and ears, these interfaces will allow us to get information directly to our brains and we will not be restricted to just sight and sound.

    Anyway, later.
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Unless I missed something along the way, I don't think anyone is suggesting this.

    In my view "downloading consciousness" is, in effect, making an artificial brain (the materials and structure of which are a separate issue) and copying the pathways and connections of a conscious brain to it.

    In principle (i.e. taking it to its logical conclusion, assuming no technological barriers), one could make such a thing if one could make an exact copy of a living brain, including neurons and synapses. It would be a living brain, just constructed, rather than grown from the womb.

    The question then becomes: what are the critical structures that a brain must have, in order to be a brain, what what structures are simply nature's choice? How different can an artificial brain be from a natural one, and still faithfully mirror what is needed for consciousness?

    No. It definitely lacks the minimum structures and processes to act as a brain - let alone one that can hold consciousness.
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    If an AI of machine learning caliber (especially equipped in that area with developing its own commonsense routines and principles) can identify patterns, classify them, and relate them to other patterns and concepts in memory... Then that takes care of the understanding part.

    The older "meaning" issues revolving around a symbol grounding problem can be remedied by giving the AI external environment information via cameras, microphones, haptic sensors, etc. And augmenting it with the capacity to analyze that data in such detail (in conjunction with manipulating wholes as needed) that it can infer/discern shapes and other characteristics in at least a p-zombie like processing fashion (non-phenomenal consciousness).

    Consciousness is an umbrella concept subsuming a variety of items, of which phenomenal activity ("showing forth", not happening invisibly) is just one member. The latter can be shucked and there are still other features that can qualify _X_ as being conscious (albeit of a non-phenomenal or p-zombie like type). Since one can't access the private manifestations which another human supposedly has, we are judging that other things are conscious on the basis of outward signs, behavior, and measurements anyway (including verbal reports if the organism or apparatus is such a communicator).

    However, skepticism (in the experience context) is warranted with regard to smart machines since engineers haven't deliberately designed them to generate subjective manifestations (visual, auditory, tactile, etc). The planners could not intentionally do so even if they desired to since it is not known what sets of procedures and structural relationships conjure phenomenal events. The latter "brute emergence" (conjure) is applicable if no already existing science-recognized precursors are posited for complex experiences to be built-up from. (In contrast to non-tested fringe stuff that's simply speculative, which due to that current status accordingly does not deeply answer or solve anything, either).

    The "hard problem of consciousness" should instead be called "the problem of manifestation". Since repeatedly using the word "consciousness" grants flexibility to those uncomfortable with or embarrassed by the lack of deep explanation to wander off into other items and affairs subsumed under the broad term, so as to thereby avoid addressing it or staying on track (also facilitating "bait and switch"). Even qualiophiles detour from the actual problem via they and their opponents fixating on what is actually just more content of manifestation.

    Qualia are elemental content recruited by the system as building-blocks to represent objects and circumstances with complicated properties and structural details. Whereas the problem of "manifestation" is directly confronting how there can be something present at all. The conventional nature of the non-conscious universe in general, from subatomic to macroscopic, is that it lacks a showing of itself as anything whatsoever. It is the "not even nothingness" of being dead that people who do not believe in an afterlife expect (extinctivism). Panpsychism would differ with respect to matter being absent to itself, but panpsychism is not a mainstream view nor apparently testable, at least for the time being. It has the ridicule challenge to overcome as well.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  14. river

    In the machine .
  15. river

    What are the limits to AI ?

    It has no life .

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