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

    By recognition. Others recognize what kind of experience we are talking about because they have had the same experience themselves.
    The words doesn't produce the qualia, it makes us remember and associate to it. Since we only remember and associate to it, it cannot fully define what the qualia is that we are talking about. Hence people can see a different color for red than you and you would never know it. You can only express the association to the qualia, not the actual qualia. The actual qualia is without words and can't be defined (at least not according to our current knowledge of it).

    I've seen my fair share of clips and videos about GPT3, very fascinating, but not the same process that produces human intelligence. There are a lot of differences.

    You divert from what the GPT actually does. It does not experience anything. It can create sounds and all kind of data based on what it has trained on, but it is no different from the way that it can produce a sentence based on what sentence came before it. It is the full cornerstone of what GPT3 is. It is all based on having a lot of weighs based on training on datasets which makes it able to "predict" based on those weighs what comes next.

    There was no verification at that time, that is what I was saying. We can of course verify it today and ever since consciousness has existed, so you kind of missed the point.

    What do you mean by self-referential? Normally, as I understand it, self-referential systems examines it's own output to adjust for imperfections. Evolution doesn't work that way, it isn't referring to anything so I don't really know what you mean. Maybe you can elaborate on it?

    CDT was a interesting read, don't know how it relates to this, but thanks for sharing the link.

    I don't see any advantage to having consciousness. Why couldn't a person without consciousness accomplish the very things that the person with consciousness accomplishes? That's why we often hear that it is a indirect result of the complexity of the brain, and emergent property, rather than something that evolution has produced from selection.

    I also like maths very much, but it's hard to know in what way mathematics exists, if it even has a existence beyond our use of it.
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Coincidentally, this last week...

    The universe is not made of mathematics

    EXCERPT (Michael Epperson): . . . We commit the fallacy of misplaced concreteness when we identify any object, conceptual or physical, as universally fundamental when, in fact, it only exemplifies selective categories of thought and ignores others. In modern science, the fallacy of misplaced concreteness usually takes the form of a fundamental reduction of some complex feature of nature—or even the universe itself—to some simpler framework. When that framework fails, it is replaced with a new reduction—a new misplaced concreteness, and the cycle repeats.

    Scientific progress is marked by these cycles because “failure” doesn’t mean the reduction was entirely wrong; it just means it wasn’t as fundamental—as concrete—as previously supposed. Our understanding of nature does increase, just not at the expense of nature’s complexity. In this regard, the reductive mathematization of natural philosophy over the last 500 years has proven to be both its greatest strength and its greatest hazard. The fundamental objects of modern physics are no longer understood as material physical structures but rather as mathematical structures that produce physically measurable effects. The waves of quantum mechanics are not material-mechanical waves; they are mathematical probability waves. The “fabric” of spacetime in relativity theory is pure geometry.

    With his “Mathematical Universe Hypothesis,” physicist Max Tegmark has concretized these and other examples of fundamental mathematical objects into a simple reduction: the universe is mathematics. In contemporary mathematical physics, he argues, there is no longer a distinction between a world described by mathematics and a world explained as mathematics. Tegmark characterizes physics as entailing nothing less than a one-to-one correspondence between physical reality and the mathematical structure by which we define this reality. “If our external physical reality is isomorphic to a mathematical structure,” he concludes, “it therefore fits the definition of being a mathematical structure… In other words, our successful theories are not mathematics approximating physics, but mathematics approximating mathematics.

    The artful incoherence of “mathematics approximating mathematics” evinces the misplaced concreteness of the premise it presupposes... (MORE - details)​
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes, this is clearly explained by Anil Seth. He cites that the brain makes a best guess of the incoming data, based on prior experience (memory).

    An excellent illustration is this qualia that produces an optical illusion, which cannot be overridden by conscious thought.

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    I believe the PGT3 learning process is the same text based process as humans, but not yet quite as sophisticated, due to storage capacity. But that is a problem which can be solved.
    And how is this different from human brain making "best guesses" of incoming data?
    The universe needs no human verification, humans do.
    Evolution doesn't work that way, but Natural Selection does. The combination is responsible for all extant patterns in the universe.
    What you cite is a self-aware system, which is the ultimate evolutionary state of a self-referential system.
    Newton's Law of Motion addresses its fundamental beginning; " for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" i.e. a fundamental self-referential process which acts in a non-random manner.
    We know from the table of elements that all things have specific compound (atomic) values . It is logical and reasonable to propose that these values must interact with each other in a non-random way. Non-random = Mathematical = Quasi Intelligent (unconscious intelligent behavior)
    To me the proposition that fundamental spacetime unfolds in a fractal (self-similar) manner strikes me as an important consideration in any discussion of non-random self-organization.
    I agree completely and is the reason why there is a hierarchical evolutionary ordering of greater and more sophisticated consciousness along with complex brains, starting with photo-sensitive organisms.

    And evolving with each generation from single celled organisms all the way up the evolutionary ladder to highly intelligent conscious animals (octopus, whales, dolphins, humans).

    I equate evolved sensory refinement with greater ability to analyze and identify (and internalize) external reality.
    I don't think mathematics exist as a dimension, but more as a fundamental way things work. i.e. objects with specific values MUST interact via specific non-random (mathematical) functions.

    As ex-bookkeeper, I don't bother with numbers and conscious counting. That's human stuff.

    I believe in universal "specific generic values" and "ordered algebraic processes" (mathematical functions).

    I really cannot understand the resistance to this excellent notion that would establish once and for all the "way the universe works".
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
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  7. river

    And it is also true that the minority can be right and the majority is wrong .
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
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  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It's not a mass delusion, though. To be a mass delusion, strictly, one must be able to demonstrate that it is not true. Science has not demonstrated that "God exists" is a false proposition. At best it can say "I don't know", and delusions are not determined by "I don't know". Delusions, afaiu, are belief in the face of contradicting reality. Reality can't prove God to not exist, hence belief that God exists - i.e. theism - is not delusional.

    But this is a detour into religion, not really the thread topic, right?
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  9. river



    I can take away the mathematics of anything physical and that physical will still exist , Galaxies , Stars etc . But take away the physical , the mathematics will also cease to exist .

    Without the physical there is no mathematics , obviously , really .
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  10. river


    Yes .
  11. river


    Controlled consciousness .
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    As atheist I consider the belief in a supernatural intelligent motivated being, delusional. I know science cannot commit to 100 % certainty, but I can.

    The concept of a humanlike omnipotent God is IMO a human delusion, a conceptual contradiction, purely invented from human hubris.
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree.
    The author completely ignores the fact that the universe is a dynamic object and as with all other processes and function universal mathematics need not produce exact equivalencies. As long as universal mathematics act as guiding principles then perfection need not be achieved. There is no such thing as a perfect circle, but their sure is a circular tendency in say, cell formation, a spherical object caused by surface tension, etc. These are mathematically observable and translatable processes.

    That entire paragraph is logically flawed. The author states that reductionism is erroneous? Is he proposing that "irreducible complexity" is an acceptable proposition?
    He speaks of the pitfalls contained in abstract concepts and promptly resorts to a much more complicated abstract concept of "physical relations begetting new physical relations", as if physical relations is equal to consciousness?
    And where does that consciousness resides? In thin air or inside the dark silent skull of a brained animal.



    I believe it has been proven that a complex system acquires qualities which are greater than the sum of its parts.

    Else we are right back to dualism and that is considerably more complex than the physical model.

    The Many Fallacies of Dualism

    By Brian Tomasik
    First written: fall 2013. Last nontrivial update: 10 Nov 2017.

  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes, the herd mentality where everyone follows the leader over the cliff.
  15. river

  16. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    "cannot be overridden by conscious thought", it isn't easily overridden, but I would hesitate to say that it can't. Maybe it's harder for this particular illusion since it gives such a strong indicator for the color of the shadow, but there are several illusions where it is easier to override the illusion or change the way the illusion behaves by conscious thought.

    Not merely due to storage capacity though, there are structural differences evolved for millions of years in the brain where it has already connections established, also the structures themselves are thought to have a function in intelligence. You can't really compare it to AI at this time. Sophistication is a pretty general term though, but if computers could simulate the structural component, then maybe we could get somewhere close.

    It is only part of the story, the brain is much more complex than that and also much more just different than that, where it also relies on structures and how much oxygen different parts receives and chemical actuators and all kind of things that the AI just doesn't do. Today AI can very accurately recognize the difference between different animals for example, but change the image in just the right way and it could just as well deem it to be a car or something completely different than that which is shown. There are similarities in certain ways between AI and the brain, and that is obvious since AI from the very start was made to mimic what the brain did but right now there are far more differences than similarities. And we still don't know where in all of this actual conscious experience begin to arise. If we don't understand how consciousness works, then we can't attribute it to the AI even though it says that it is conscious (because that would be the overwhelming response in the data set that it has). It just isn't intelligently making the judgement, it just looks at the data set that we feed it. It is very unlike when I say that I am conscious and you believe me cause we are basically made the same and we share the experience. How can we do that with the AI when we know that it is much more different than us? Today we can know that we can't trust it, because we know that it relies on what is in the dataset. It isn't describing that it is conscious based on the experience of being conscious, like we do. There might come a day where we don't know if we can trust it or not and that presents a moral dilemma for us.

    I think it does need some kind of foundation that discerns it from nothing. Without any consciousness (doesn't need to be human, or even similar to the human level of consciousness) there is fundamentally nothing since consciousness is the verification of existence and, to me, the closest thing that I can think of that is suitable as a foundation for existence. It is intrinsic to our own existence and by method of extrapolation could be intrinsic to all existence. There is a correlation but not necessarily a causation there, but it's still the best thing we have to go on. Seeing as we have no other alternative, this can at least be a world view that makes sense in many ways. I also see no way to test it, but having it as a alternative can direct us to how to test it when we become advanced enough to actually be able to understand consciousness and might find a way to apply a test to it for the universe and existence itself.

    I don't see any reference to itself. For every action is an equal and opposite reaction, but not a reference, I don't see how that reaction refers to itself, it is just the reaction (itself) propagating. But I'm not really familiar with the concept strictly physically the way that you seem to imply. I think of it, like the eye, has the ability to correct for light that comes in by adjusting the pupil. It is referencing the output of the input (the light) and adjusting to get a better image. Or better yet when the image is out of focus and it adjusts the lens until the image is in focus. It is referencing it's own output and adjusting for it. I'm not sure what to make of it in a strictly physical sense. To be honest I don't have anything particularly against it either, I just don't see the connection.

    Ok, well it was interesting.

    Since you see the basic "building block" of cause and effect as self-referential (still not sure how it applies but) do you then think that cause and effect is conscious in some primitive sense?

    We really only know about our own consciousness, that's why we equate intelligence with consciousness, we also equate our complex brain to consciousness, but as we have no other example we should also look at the alternatives, we do know that low-intelligence people are also consciousness, and frankly I don't think it does anything to the level of consciousness that they possess. You can be "dumb" and very conscious. So...I think we shouldn't rule out any possibilities.

    lol, a book-keeper is human too, but alright, let's continue...

    Well, things relate to each other, mathematics is a way to understand that relation. I'm not resisting per se, it's just that it has to have a discernable reality for me to call it something that exists. It exists as a theoretical concept, and the relations that it describes exist. I don't think we should be satisfied until we understand why the relations can be described by a certain mathematical function. Maybe we can never know? Then maybe, we should never be fully satisfied with our quest for knowledge.

    Recently I found out that for any inverse square law the constant that comes before it partly consists of 4 times pi. So we have extracted some information even from the unchanging constants, and with the advent of quantum physics we also came to understand some of the other mathematical relations that before was only the mathematical relation (it is what it is) but now we know why it is. I expect more of this in the future as our knowledge increases.
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  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I think you expect that, though, don't you? I mean, on the basis that a constant amount of "influence" is spread out over the surface (=4πr²) of a sphere of radius r, around the source of the influence.
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Oh, I agree with many optical illusions one can find some way to cancel the illusion. But as Anil Seth observes, in this particlar example which deals with an evolved survival mechanism of "shadowed objects", it is impossible to avoid the appearance of a difference in shade between squares A and B. The only way to avoid the false appearance is by a continuous block as illustrated. Remove the block and it looks different, no matter how many times and how hard you try. There is no possible way of telling the brain to view the two squares as identical as illustrated. I think it's one of the greatest optical illusions I have seen.
    I believe that the concept of unconscious self-reference has an implied potential for an evolving conscious self-awareness.
    Oh, I agree, IMO, consciousness already appears in very primitive organisms. I believe that it covers an hierarchy of awareness of self in relation to the environment.

    It is fundamental to survival and natural selection usually selects for the most efficient awareness of one's environment . Consciousness itself is not an indication of general intelligence. I believe it is more a refinement of sensory abilities, which already starts with the brainless single celled paramecium and the remarkably smart slime mold.

    There are many animals with specific sensory awareness that far outstrip human abilities. The Eagle's eyesight, the bloodhound's olfactory prowess, the insect's awareness of atmospheric pressure long before the thunder clouds move in. Or a mayfly that can call a mate from 20 miles away with pheromones when the wind is right and only has 24 hrs to live.

    These are specialized abilities. But where humans lack natural ability we can build artificial measuring devices which are even more sophisticated than any specific naturally evolved ability. That is why we also have acquired the capability to destroy nature, rather than be part of the natural cycle.

    But if we consider homeostasis, the "quasi intelligent" subconscious control mechanism that keeps most living organisms alive and in electro-chemical balance, and acts completely independent from conscious awareness, it becomes clear that consciousness and intelligence are not necessarily related. The only time the control system warns the conscious brain is when something goes wrong and we experience discomfort like pain, or sweat, or dizziness, yet it continues to control homeostasis even when the subject is under anesthesia and completely unconscious.

    In short, I believe that consciousness is the evolved emergent result of ever greater sensory acuteness and sophistication, which produces a self-aware experience of sensory stimulation, along with the eletro-chemical responses to sensory stimulation of neurons.
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Are Universal constants not self-referential algorithms?

    I believe the Fibonacci Sequence is a beautiful naturally occurring example of a self-referential exponential function.

    In mathematics

    "If <---> Then" seems to me a self referential function.

    Where is self referential structure used?

    Self Referential Structures and Linked Lists - NIELIT

    And if my affinity to this concept is correct then IMO it logically would extend to evolutionary processes where self-referential processes evolve into consciously self-aware sensory processes in biological organisms.

    If Abiogenesis ( life from chemicals) is a correct assumption of evolutionary processes , then why not emergent (consciousness from chemical reaction) by a similar process?[/quote]
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  20. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but the constant of G for example, wasn't constructed by us with that in mind, it was just measured, turns out that 4pi was part of it but disguised since that is also a constant. My point is that constants can have hidden relations within them that are also constants and because of that "hidden" until we understand it better.
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  21. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but that doesn't apply to all illusions even of that type. It is indeed a very good illusion because it gives such a strong indications that the colors are different. Where the indication isn't that strong we could with conscious thought break the illusion.

    Ok, so do you believe that there is a gradient of consciousness, so that the more complex a system is, the more conscious it is? Would a computer then, using that logic, have some primitive consciousness? Or does it have to scale to the complexity of brains?

    When I was a kid I was just as conscious as I am today. I didn't know as much, I didn't understand as much, but I was just as much conscious. It seems to me that consciousness has a pretty flat slope, seemingly a flat line from being a kid to adulthood, even though the brain has become more complex. Now, living things are generally much more complex than, a rock for example, but seeing that it doesn't change much, if at all, with change in complexity in humans, I wonder if it is such a big stretch to say that complex inorganic things have consciousness (such as computers, trees, rocks, etc.). What do you think about that?

    Actually, we still don't know what role consciousness has, so to say that it is fundamental to survival would be jumping to conclusions. If information is qualia then it would be fundamental to survival, cause we need information to survive, but we don't know that it is. I believe it is, so I'm not particularly arguing against you, I believe that the foundation of everything is consciousness. But we have to separate belief from fact. Unlike you, I don't think that the foundation is just a building block to consciousness, I think it is consciousness and it takes different forms depending on the system. I also don't think cause & effect is the foundation, I think it goes deeper than that. I also don't think that consciousness needs self-reference, I think it is what is without reference. A true foundation.

    Ok, given your premises, it makes sense that you should believe that. Do you think that this building block of cause & effect that consciousness eventually emerge from when scaling up to complex brains, could also scale up to, for example, the earth (as one system of great complexity)? What could we do to prove/disprove that?
  22. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for the link. I don't know if the Universal constants are self-referential, usually they are seen as "it is what it is", I do believe that they are composed of other constants that can be derived though, but we don't know what those constants are for most of the Universal constants. It's then hard to say that it is self-referential when it, as far as we can tell, are the one thing that is not referencing anything within. Fibonacci sequence and fractals are all self-referential, that much I can see, I can also conceive of crystals as self-referential structures - but I'm not that knowledgeable about crystals, so I can't say for sure. I just think that we should be careful to use words without fully knowing how it actually applies to the context that we use them, or to arrive at a conclusion where the premise is our own wording and not what it actually is (if you know what I mean?).

    I don't think we can necessarily equate the two (abiogenesis to life and chemicals to emergent consciousness), we need to derive both separately to understand what we are doing, they aren't one to one correlated (and even if they were they aren't necessarily causally correlated).
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I believe in proto- consciousness. i.e. responses to sensory stimulation already present in very primitive organisms. The fundamental fight or flight response has evolved in so many different ways. It always comes down to natural selection of that behavior which gives the organism a higher survival probability. Time does the rest.
    Consider a cuttlefish which has the perfect dual technique of shape shifting in a perfect blend with the environment, successfully hiding from predators and at the same time offer a hunting advantage of ambush.

    According to the GPT3 developers the limit has not yet been reached and they believe that with more capacity and inter-referential connections, an AI may acquire a form of consciousness that is not necessary connected to emotional chemistry, but more on a logical level, what Vulcans strived to attain in StarTrek

    I think that the breakthrough occurred with the concept of text based algorithms, where the AI can access any definitions, synonyms, and antonyms of words and sentences and learn to use express itself in "context", rather than pure binary number data processing.

    Ask a GPT3 to design a welcome page with a Google logo and it will design it, but at the same time it will write the code that designs it and when modifications are desired of the original, the AI will promptly execute the requested modification along with a modification in the code. It will design a number of pictures based on a simple premise, such as "design a chair that looks like an avocado.

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    GPT3 is not anything like Siri or Alexa . GPT3 learns from illustrated text books just like humans and applies what it learns in real time responses. What is there to stop GPT3 from acquiring artificial conscious intelligence?

    I believe consciousness intelligence is not only an ability to observe, but also very much connected with understanding the thing that is being observed. And I believe AI can rise to that level if it is taught as if it were human. It takes a human to learn conscious intelligence (IQ) some 18 years to fully develop. Give GPT3 that amount of time and large numbers of Memory and RAM and it will essentially gain the same "understanding" as humans.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021

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