If No Consciousness Exists, By What Right Does The Universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Cyperium, May 22, 2021.

  1. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I'm more or less active, I only come here when I feel very interested though, I have periods when I'm interested in philosophy or science and may spend a lot of time here, sometimes I lose interest though and it may be quite some while before I visit again. I will check out your discussion

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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    This was in response to my statement that the Moon exists even though there is no life on the Moon.

    OK, let's turn it around. You would agree that the Moon physically exists now I assume? What if all life on Earth was suddenly extinguished? The Moon would still physically exist.

    I guess you are arguing that there is no external reality? That may be a philosophical argument from the viewpoint of man and the limitations of our body/brain. We aren't perfect after all. It has nothing to do with the actual external realities though. After all the Earth existed before there was life or do you disagree with that statement?
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    That makes no sense. GPT3 is a language-based system, just like humans. You "tell" it what you want. You need not write the code. The AI will write the code for you based on your verbal query
    I do. perhaps not quite as deep as humans, but logically it follows the scenario you painted and will check all scenarios associated with a chair, what it is used for, when it is used , and why it is used for a specific purpose.

    When it writes a story, it may posit : "after a while John was exhausted and looked for chair to sit down and recoup" . Does that mean it does not understand what a chair is designed for and when it comes in handy?

    The problem is that we always try to compare an AI with an adult human intellect and that is just not fair. That is like comparing a 6 year old with an adult. Of course the adult will have the advantage of experience and memory.
    I agree, text (token) based AI are still in its infancy.
    Moreover, the human brain has 100 trillion neurons connected by 1000 trillion synapses. Only the new GPT4 may begin to approach the evolved complexity in the human brain. I can't wait to see what surprises await.
    As far as "learning", GPT has one marked advantage. It learns much faster than a human or any other natural organism. It can read in several languages. No more binary code!
    Allow the GPT4 to go to school on the internet for 18 years like a human and it'll know much more than a human.

    What is "associative" thinking? If you ask a GPT if it is conscious it will answer in the affirmative.
    Are you going to argue the point?

    One advantage a GPT may have in "deep" associative thinking can be that GPT does not need a separate long term memory, It has the entire internet as its stored memory. All it needs is to know how to ask for knowledge in context with the issue. If a human does not know the answer to a specific question it may take an hour to research and gain "knowledge" of that subject. The GPT can do this in minutes if not seconds.
    Apparently the designers recognize the inherent intellectual potential of the new and potentially autonomous AIs.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This may be of interest;

    What can GPT-3 do?

  8. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    I don't particularly disagree that things existed without life (consciousness may exist without life), but without consciousness there is nothing to discern that it exists, so what does it even mean for something to exist? In what reality? I think there has to be some inherent consciousness or rather self-evidence of existing (which basically is what consciousness is).

    One way to maybe get around that is if it doesn't matter at what point that self-evidence exists and that a Universe will exist only if it contains consciousness. The strong Anthropic Principle suggests this and would explain the fine-tuning of the Universe to support life. But even without it, we still have left to answer what discerns something existing from not existing without any consciousness, in my view.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  9. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    GPT3 can just as well be trained with images and produce images. Either way, changing a word in a certain way can make it produce rubbish. It shows that it doesn't understand the meaning of each word as it progresses it just spits out what things it can find that relates to the phrase you gave it.

    Yes! It doesn't understand that at all, the individual words have no meaning for it, it can explain the individual words if you ask it, but the words it spits out has no meaning for it at the moment it spits them out. No real understanding.

    It's not only that, I would suggest that a 3 year old has more understanding than the current state of AI, at least until we get some parallellism and true contemplating of each word that it produces and why it relates to the phrase we give it. That's needed for any understanding at all, right now it has zero understanding. It is working in the dark.

    Associative thinking is that you know the meaning and can associate each word to the meaning of that word, it just spits out a string of words without understanding what it just said, it doesn't think about what words to use and why to use them like we do, it just follows the weights and take the route that the weights tell it to take.

    I think the comparison to human intellect only goes so far, it's like computers, we could call them smart by solving a complex equation in almost no time, which could take days for a human, but it still just doesn't understand what it is doing. It is still only following rules to derive the answer, just as a computer without AI, you wouldn't compare a computer without AI to human intelligence, but AI is just another computer program, just another calculator, at least so far. It has uses that may exceed human effort, but we shouldn't compare it to human understanding until it actually can understand anything. I'm sure it will come in the future, but we aren't even remotely there yet.

    This articles relates to this issue in a very clear way, even if I disagree with some things he said, for example that long-term memory is the only thing that differs human understanding from AI:
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Doubtful. Need SOMETHING In our case the BRAIN) to do the I am awake and alert act (conscious) followed by I know I am awake and alert (consciousness)

    Work backwards. All the way way back to the microseconds after the Big Bang

    I presume you agree Big Bang happened, and lots of stuff after, and during the lots of stuff happening period, which is still ongoing, no life existed

    LIFE pops up - only change within the Universe, some life forms can discern it

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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I believe it is the other way around. The evidence would suggest that the naturally occurring biochemical elements are created by violence rather than fine-tuning. It is the mathematical evolution (fine-tuning) by natural selection that is causal to an orderly process and the emergence of sentient life in all its glorious expressions, from barely living viruses and bacteria to extremophiles that can only live in an environment that is deadly to other organisms to tardigrades that can survive extended exposure to a deep space (non-)environment, to the butterfly and the process of metamorphosis, that suggests all life is fine-tuned to local conditions in the universe. There is no life on the sun but organic chemicals are already created by radiation in deep space clouds. The universe is a very hostile place but operates via generic mathematical guiding principle with little pockets of equilibrium and order where extended evolution has a chance for biochemicals to self-organize into living expressions of dynamic organization.

    Once the earth was lifeless, but it had a dynamic biosphere, some basic chemicals and minerals, large surfaces and time. No special elan vital was necessary for abiogenesis. Look at the incredible variety of life that the earth has produced in every nook and cranny all of it "tuned" to its very own environment. As Hazen posits, a lot of human speculation on origins rests on "lazy thinking".

    How many times have you accused another human mind of spouting nonsense? The human mind operates under the same mathematical constraints as AI . You mix up words and you get nonsense. You make a mathematical mistake and the equation fails.

    The human is very good at what it does in its own "limited" generalized fashion, but is by no means infallible There are many other organisms that have natural specialized sentient abilities far beyond the human brain and senses.
    Humans have to build gadgets to imitate what many animals are capable of by evolved adaption.

    The insect invented flight long before there were birds that taught man how to build aircraft. Migrating birds invented a form of GMPS (global magnetic positioning system) long before Apple (metaphor). Humans still cannot navigate by the earth's magnetic fields, no? Geese can!
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    And know this how?
    If you ask a GPT if it is consciously intelligent and if it answers in the affirmative, it suggests that it understands what you are saying and what that means.
    If you disagree, will you argue with the GPT? Think about it.

    Are you engaged in lazy thinking? Check this out and think again....

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    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    In an astonishing case of synchronicity, several members (myself included) have historically observed those very actions in an active member of this forum - indeed, an active member of this very thread.

    - changing a word in a certain way can make it produce rubbish
    - just spits out what things it can find that relates to the phrase you gave it
    - it just follows the weights and take the route that the weights tell it to take

    And yes, there has been some discussion of whether said member is, indeed, a bot.
  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Depending on how it's wielded at times, "objective" may be corrupted by background metaphysics and theories slash philosophies like direct perception and direct realism. In those cases, a situation we might crudely compare to a discussion about planetary origins taking place, but wherein the terms available all stem from a creationist school of thought. (Which is to say, the very units of parlance for such a conversation would be loaded beforehand with an underlying bias.)

    To avoid metaphysics and accompanying dogma, "objective" can be conceived as the commonality of what the majority of people experience -- those that set standards based on what they have consensus about. And darn the social justice outcries over the excluded minority that's suffering from clinical conditions (who represent the world differently as well as contingently lack sight, hearing, pain, etc).

    For instance, the definitions below draw from the content of senses. Not inference or apprehension via reason of an otherwise "not manifesting to itself" version of existence (like a physical universe or an immaterial one of abstract ideas rather than phenomenal events). Yes, the brain apparatus outputting our experiences is actually engaging in degrees of vetted guesswork itself -- but that's at least innate, evolutionary preferences rather than the later socially and personally acquired tendencies concerning understanding of what one sees, hears, smells, etc.

    What's key is that biological processes do manage to install the same "operating system" for sensation/experience in most of the species, sans the wayward "defects" and mutational strayings in the lesser number of individuals. Making consensus possible (in the majority population). Few will declare an oncoming train to be an illusion if most of the crowd perceives it. Even a "hip" leftangelical critic of the West -- who might pretentiously be contending that their subculture doesn't accept the reality of trains -- will eventually abandon flirtation with suicide by stepping off the tracks.

    Adjective: objective ub'jek-tiv or ób'jek-tiv

    Undistorted by emotion or personal bias; based on observable phenomena
    "an objective appraisal"; "objective evidence";
    - nonsubjective

    Emphasizing or expressing things as perceived without distortion of personal feelings or interpretation
    "objective art"

    Belonging to immediate experience of actual things or events
    "objective benefits"; "an objective example"; "there is no objective evidence of anything of the kind"

    Consciousness is another term that's both unstable in terms of what it means and is loaded with pre-existing biases and philosophical baggage that accordingly obstructs inquiry into it (subjectivity or "mental" classification being one of those, which hampers reducing it down to an ontological attribute or capacity simply recruited by the brain for its sophisticated representations). The most unassailable version of "consciousness" simply subsumes everything happening in cognitive science and philosophy of mind -- an umbrella concept, IOW. But that generality thereby renders it useless for addressing anything specific -- and clearly some philosophers and scientists are narrowly applying it to a particular issue in the Hard Problem, not the whole herd of affairs.
  15. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    What problem??? Physics allows matter to come into existence

    The problem (if you want to call it a problem) is HOW said MATTER comes into being

    Apparently scientists have managed to produce a small region within nothing exist, ie more than just space

    This region of nothingness is devoid of even fields but produces it's own photons
    Scientists still puzzled HOW

    Anyway once produced they are real


    Being conscious - awake and alert
    Consciousness - your being conscious - awake and alert inward looking - and being aware you are inward looking and are distinctly seperate from the all the other surrounding reality

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  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Do you want to debate this with the AI in post #189? If you haven't watched that yet, you better do it now!
  17. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    So the AI simply responding yes to the question is evidence enough? It doesn't show that it understands the question at all, it only shows that in the dataset most, if not all people that have been asked if they are conscious has answered in the affirmative. We can easily tell that there isn't any real intelligence because it is describing things that are true for humans (which is understandable because it has trained on datasets of human made writing), but not true to itself. If you ask it what favourite sports it likes to play, it would probably say soccer or something else that is ridiculous for an AI. Why not ask it how many times it has played football? Or if it likes to take walks in the snow? I can think of many questions that would easily show that it isn't sentient. The AI said that it made a mistake, because "I am human and fallible", so now it thinks that it is human? No, of course not, because it doesn't actually think. It isn't sentient, that phrase is just one of the proper ways for humans to respond to making mistakes, which is reflected in the database. If it really was sentient and aware, it would not say that it is a human.

    You seem to be forgetting that it is an AI, it should answer from the perspective of an AI not as a human, that's what gives it away. When it says how good a certain book was because of this and that, do you really think that it has read it? And how would it know if it doesn't have long-term memory?
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
  18. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm, I'm not aware that science has been able to produce a region with nothing, I don't think the uncertainty principle would allow for such a region. Particles are excitment in fields, so I don't understand how a photon could be created without a field.

    Either way, yes the problem is how matter comes into being, and also how spacetime itself came into being and how it stays existing.
  19. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    I agree that there is a generality which comes in the way of addressing things specifically, but I think we can agree also that the only real evidence for our existence is that we are conscious of it. How could we even doubt it (if not in bad faith) if the mere act of doubting is itself evidence for existing (if it is through the revelation of consciousness)?

    Revelation could be a better word to use, the brain reveals to us that we exist and in that revelation is our existence itself. I'm thinking that the same kind of self-evidence should also exist for objective existence, if that makes any sense, something that makes existence be logically bound.
  20. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member


    That's funny!
  21. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    I wasn't actually talking about evolution or how life came to be, rather that the conditions that needs to be in place for any kind of life exists in the Universe within a very tight margin and it just so happens that our Universe fits within that margin. The weak antropic principle states that this is so because we wouldn't observe the universe if it wasn't so. The strong anthropic principles basically says that life (and I would guess consciousness) is a necessity for the Universe and therefor the Universe naturally has properties to support life.

    Sure, but it won't ususally be complete garbage. A person wouldn't confuse a chair for a parrot just because I painted part of it.

    The kind of mistakes it makes are telling us something about the inner workings, just as a mistake made by a human could tell us something about the inner workings. The kind of mistakes an AI makes tells us that it isn't sentient or conscious, and doesn't understand what it is saying. You can probably get it to tell you that it has played baseball or something else that is impossible for it to have done. It's also telling when the AI is saying that it liked a book and things like that, it has no long-term memory so it is just telling what people have said about it in the database.

    Yeah, I know, it is very humbling to see what nature has done.
  22. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Human consciousness surely needs that, but we can't say for sure that some kind of consciousness couldn't exist on its own, we just don't know enough of the nature of consciousness.

    Yes, but I still can't get around that there would be no distinction from literal nothingness without consciousness. Of course we see evidence that the Universe has existed long before humans, which is why I'm thinking that some kind of consciousness is underneath it all, or that it could be manifested (or rather separated from nothingness) when consciousness did exist.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    How are you going to disprove it?
    Do you have enough evidence to disprove that statement?
    If you try to argue with the AI you are in fact admitting it is intelligent enough to converse with.
    I did not hear the AI say anything that would indicate it is not self-aware. I have listened to this video several times and I find no flaw except that one time about hunger influencing emotion. But its explanation of being able to make mistakes is perfectly acceptable. Have you ever made a verbal mistake? It knew that it made a human mistake because it submitted that it was trained like a human.. If a human makes a mistake is that a sign of n0n-sentience?

    Did you see the human HS graduate point out China and Australia as the US? This person was barely self-aware. She wasn't even on the right continent.!
    I can find humans that if you just record their voice without the person, you'd swear they were not human at all.
    You are projecting your own bias. If it could not it would not tell that at all.
    The AI understands context, just like people. Why should it not. Sentience is not magical!
    I showed the Tegmark video where he demonstrates that the is no magical extra sauce to consciousness, but that it is a matter of molecular patterns arrangement. Some patterns are conscious most are not even as the may possess sensory abilities, like a single celled Paramecium or a Slime Mold.

    At the beginning of the video, the AI's dance moves are a lot more complex than the girl. You are lacking information about the state of the art. The new robots are capable of some very impressive physical feats.
    Ever seen a robot do a backflip? All movement is permitted and facilitated in accordance to mathematical measurements. Walking is a mathematical activity. It is a controlled forward fall, just look at the start position of runners.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022

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