Amazing Things

"The less fortunate get all the breaks!"

Not that any of this is true, it is mere conjecture by me, off the top of my head:
The selected advantage of consciousness is the ability to learn without experience. To evolve the "best choice algorithms" inherent in all organisms without having to wait around for something new to happen to you (the way most creatures capable of learning, learn). In order to simulate something it must be abstracted, a symbolic representation must be established. Qualia are those symbols. They range from simple (like the color red, which merely represents a specific energy photon hitting a specific kind of receptor in our eyeball), to very complicated, (like all the wonderful physical sensations accompanied by falling in love). What are those sensations we experience? Surely they are nothing more than the chemicals and electrical signals passing through our bodies, right? Sever your spinal cord and see what feelings remain. And you might say you would still be capable of imagining the sensation, after the injury, like a person would remember the color red, even if their eyes completely failed them. But what you'd then be experiencing is the symbolic representation of the color red.

No one asks, "what does the moon mean?" or, "what does the Local Group mean?", right? So why do we continue asking what life means? Why is everyone so afraid of the obvious answer, that it means nothing!? Is it really so terrible that we have to make life mean what we want it to, to ourselves? (Instead of being handed some assignment. I know people often avoid making decisions.) Did lunch taste better when you thought you were put on earth with some grand purpose by some mysterious force? Or can't it taste just as good knowing that we find ourselves in this physical reality that appears to have very strict rules governing it's behavior? The tragedy here is that with such a large portion of society seeking solace in religious, mystical, supernatural, and other unfounded beliefs, distracts us from seeking solace in one another. People say they feel sorry for me, for not believing in some kind of god. They say they can't imagine feeling so alone. But it's not as if I can just choose to believe in a god, anymore than a normal adult could choose to believe in Santa Claus again. Or the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, or any childhood fantasy. And learning that humanity as an species, is alone, is not frightening. We have seem to have limitless potential to please one another, and ourselves. We find ourselves in a rich environment, too vast to explore even a small fraction of it in our limited lifespans. We are magnificent bodies, capable of experiencing an enormous range of physical and emotional sensations. And to find out that there is no cosmic parent showing us the ropes should only remind us how important we are to one another.

So this is incredibly speculative, but if it's possible for an organism to be completely insusceptible to viruses, would that become a selection disadvantage? Due to lateral gene transfer, wouldn't it be at a disadvantage in the rate of evolution department? I've had similar ideas before with other aspects of life... that was how I first thought you could resolve our limited lifespans, though I think later I read a more interesting explanation, supported by both good evidence, and I believe a calculation. Very simply, an organism that lives forever would no longer evolve, so it simply can't happen. I think it was Randolph Nesse's interview with Dawkins that had that... I should maybe look it up and put it here. Six minutes in. Actually, you have to watch to the end, because the important stuff comes near the end. Really the whole 5-part interview has a lot of beautiful information, but for my purposes the bit on aging was all that was relevant.

Apply GP to NN! (Do you think I'll remember what this meant? GP = genetic programming, NN = Neural Networks.)

I just noticed something in Dr. Strangelove that reminded me of something in Grosse Pointe Blank, which makes me think there must be some reference, but I'll have to go back and check again—almost immediately I forgot what it was. Though it was during the Air Force guy's earlier scenes in the war room. It was about jumping to conclusions before all the facts are in.

Peace on Earth
Purity of Essence
The Commie Conspiracy to steal our precious bodily fluids.


Would you buy T-shirts that say, "Too stupid to breed"?

You know, even without all the child-rape and other abuse the catholic church is now being revealed for, it would still be a despicable organization, deserving of absolutely no respect.

"Locality is just an approximation." I want to learn more about this...

Ha ha ha:
"I could make a good argument based on the statutes and case law where I live that what my spouse does to me regularly with my consent is a felony." Beautiful.

"The victim of theft by deception is still a victim of theft, whether she realizes it or not."

I don't really buy the Fermi paradox as an argument against E.T., but I do find it a powerful argument against E.T. having developed A.I. and a von Neumann probe (a self-replicating machine), at least not long enough ago for us to have detected it. This is also what I consider the best argument in a finitely old universe. My opinion will change if I can be convinced that von Neumann probes (as a concept) have some real-world limitation that would prevent us from seeing them, even over very long periods of time. This could be as simple as: organisms capable of building A.I./"Universal Assemblers", may be exceedingly rare and spread out. I suppose it is even possible that we may be the only organism capable of such a feat of engineering. I suppose it could be that even we are incapable of constructing such devices, though I consider that very unlikely.



Creativity Algorithms

Of course, the whole series is interesting, but that video in particular has something amazing happening.
Thats what artificial intelligence is missing: sex drive. Or more generally, any motivator.
Your words say one thing, but all of your behavior points to the opposite conclusion—and my brain wrestles to fit the two together and find a coherent explanation.
Had a beautiful dream [REDACTED].

Try pleasing with stealth.

Mark Ruffalo describing his fake religious experience.

Binary days:

10.10.10 — its a Saturday. We should have a huge celebration for some unrelated reason.

Did I miss any?

Ha ha ha ha:
"without reading your entire post i have a couple things to say.
First of all you make the comment that i wouldnt listen. I am listening but i think"

"Rowing to Galveston"
I'm not going to allow the theistic to have a monopoly on publicly acceptable, expressive, "swear" words, goddammit!

It is so easy to think that position and distance are meaningful values, and to think that it is possible to know and talk about where we are. It feels so natural, with such a solid footing. But if you look very carefully, and you keep very precise track of what happens and when and where, you discover that what really matters is velocity. Standing still becomes nothing more than a "special case" of velocity, itself requiring reference to an origin elsewhere.

This makes me feel bad. But it's still kind of funny.
Well, at least I know I'm not a psychopath.

Don't mistake the numinous, and transcendent, with supernatural.

Maybe all those religious people who claim that morals can't exist without a overbearing creator are actually psychopathic, and only behave because of religion? Could the prevalence of psychopathy be greatly masked by religion? That would certainly motivate me to consider reducing the vocalness of my criticism of religion.

"Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion." —Steven Weinberg

"…it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life ! "

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." —Kant
Categorical Imperative

Is godhole a swear word?

There is an interesting reluctance for people to admit that morals are not absolute, but rather evolve in parallel to our culture and intelligence. Just 43 years ago, some of the states still had laws against interracial marriage! Not long before that, morals allowed for even more outrageous laws, obviously leading right back into slavery just 150 years ago, with Women's rights and many other civil rights battles being sprinkled in along the way. If morals are so clear and eternal, why is it so obvious to us now that all humans are created equal, when it was socially acceptable to deny that fact in our oh-so-recent past.

You know, Islam might mean peace, and there may be many muslims, of both genders, who are just very wonderful people. But the fact remains that there exists a strong correlation between religions (most harmfully in both islam and christianity), and many specific acts of violence, terrorism, persecution, etc. A handgun, by any other name...

Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. Which, in the age of the internet, is anyone with a good story. David's sling & stone mean nothing to the Streisand effect.

Holy crap!!! So the Chinese room argument claims that you + ultra-cheatsheet does not equal understanding Chinese, but I would argue that you do! But you have sacrificed speed for basic process complexity. So perhaps the overall complexity of the problem has increased, but the "instruction set" required to "speak" Chinese has significantly decreased. If we were to move the instructions from the book into your hypothetically enormous brain, would that make you feel better? So you didn't really know what you were saying, but you could take confidence that your book was sufficiently complex to convince a fluent Chinese-speaker that you too were fluent. This is the trade off we must find, and balance. Humans have repeatedly "traded up", constructing larger symbol sets out of smaller ones, increasing the capacity drastically!

Must study this:
DNA->gene->protein->amino acid->…?
I don't think this is an unreasonable question to answer, I just need to give it some good solid time to think about it.

Also must consider more: creativity from an algorithm!
Create the creative algorithm! Make it a website!

"At this rate, by Tuesday it will be Thursday, by Wednesday it will be August, and by Thursday it will be the end of existence as we know it!"

"If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong." —Richard Feynman

Holy crap we're building a brain!!!
One of the biggest areas for variety in multi-core architecture is the composition and balance of the cores themselves. Some architectures use one core design which is repeated consistently ("homogeneous"), while others use a mixture of different cores, each optimized for a different, "heterogeneous", role.
(From the multi-core page on wikipedia.) I predict that we will see processors specialize in similar ways to the various parts of our brains.

I feel like I'm playing a game where no one is allowed to help me and there is something very specific but foreign to me that needs to be completed for me to move on to the next level.

Must read/consider/think about DSR & Bee's criticism & the uncertainty principle: is it possible that physical uncertainty is a function of your inertial frame? Seems like this should already be known with Dirac's work.

"In 1962, U.S. President Kennedy told a gathering of Nobel laureates at the White House that it was "...probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius in this house except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.""

So what about morally responsible free will? Here is the standard dilemma. The mind-brain is a deterministic dynamical system, a la Newton, but different "neural" equations. So you were determined by that dynamics to kill the old man in the wheel chair. Not your fault. You didn't do it. No responsible free will.
Alternatively, we have a little or a lot of quantum chance, in the simplest case, like the random decay of a radioactive nucleus. So you are sauntering down the street, and by random chance, kill the same old man in the wheel chair. Not your fault, just a random event.
Again we are stuck. We can have no responsible free will.
Disagree completely.

Is it unreasonable to think we could make a computer that makes decisions? Like for instance, we have built autonomous cars, right? So we give the car a destination, and the car then navigates its way there. Ideally, the car observes and obeys all traffic regulation. We might say it has the "free will" to decide how to get to the destination, and we have instilled in it, a "moral" sense, to obey traffic laws. Why is the car moral? because we made it so. Now of course the car could be so complex that a slight change in conditions causes it to change its behavior rapidly. (For instance, if it were to find itself completely "fenced in," incapable of traveling to the destination, it may behave in unexpected ways, unless the programmers behind it have already compensated for this. I'm getting way off point...)

Holy crap:
Why did consciouisness evolve anyway? Suppose an algorithmic robot with sensors could calculate exactly what will happen in its world. Why bother to be "aware" of its world, just buzz around and plug yourself into power sockets and pop oil into your joints.

I can answer this for you!
The answer is that you can be far more efficient if you are aware! Consciousness allows us to rewire circuitry in our brains without external influence. Consciousness is simply genetic programming.
The ability to evolve our algorithmic thinking, to improve the circuits that allow us to do things.
And as far as
"What use, if mind is a machine, such as a connectionist machine, is there in being conscious, having awareness, or "qualia"? "
goes, "qualia" are merely abstract symbols representing potentially-influential aspects of reality for which it is beneficial to have a symbolic representation of inside the organism.
Red is important in messaging one another through sight, conveying emotions silently, across space.
"But this answer won't do. The unconscious, but able computerized robot could sense the difference between its predictions about the world and the world, reset the initial conditions and recompute. Why be conscious? There seems no answer."

This is why I argue that consciousness is merely the observation of computation. Because that is the advantage. A computerized robot that sensed the difference between it's predictions and reality, recomputing, evolving it's model, and so on, WOULD IN FACT BE CONSCIOUS!!!
Also, I don't understand these claims that consciousness relies on quantum effects. I admit it is possible that quantum phenomena are integral to the brains' structure, much like photosynthesis appears to rely on quantum effects. But the idea that consciousness needs quantum mechanics does not seem born out by the data. It is not as if humans are particularly good at BQP problems or anything of the sort.
I very strongly disagree with your statement, "the unconscious, but able computerized robot could sense the difference between its predictions about the world and the world, reset the initial conditions and recompute." I would argue that if the robot is capable of sensing discrepancies between its model of the universe and reality itself, and if it is capable of revising its own programming (not just initial & boundary conditions, but the underlying model/algorithm as well), then it is in fact conscious. Notice that the definition of consciousness as "an algorithm capable of revising itself," provides a natural grading of conscious organisms: humans are good at this, dogs not as much, worms even less so; it also provides a good reason for organisms to evolve towards higher degrees of consciousness: the faster one can rewrite neural circuitry the faster they can adapt to their environment. Free will then is the (difficult) choice of how exactly the underlying algorithm should be rewritten, as well as the consequences of such changes.

So the real issue they have here is that they don't see how to make an algorithm that we would call creative. I'm having trouble seeing why we shouldn't be able to do that, though I don't see a clear path to it yet. So I will have to try to figure that out; I suspect I can.

"The purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide." —Mike Russell
"Hey baby, wanna come over and hydrogenate some carbon dioxide with me?" —Dr. A (no, not really)

I should add, to describe humans as machines does not require they be perfectly deterministic, nor does the absence of brute-force algorithmic lifeforms imply that we are not algorithmic. There is a very large cost to our big brains, and they are far from perfect reality simulators. On the contrary, they are full near to the brim of shortcuts and habits, and they contain many layers of symbolism and abstraction, allowing us to model situations in highly simplified, symbolic ways. And even then we are very often wrong, because even the simplest of situations can become intractably complex in the very near future. Furthermore, we are all processing on incomplete information, we are all adjusting our plans in light of new evidence and evolving environments. And this isn't even considering chaos theory, where even the near future is essentially unpredictable because the process is so sensitive to initial conditions. And these are very simple systems that often express these properties, something as complicated as life.

The uncertainty, is nearly too much to bear.

It's only me!
(Exclamation point or period, I changed my mind many times.)