Free will and consciousness

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Free will and consciousness

Post by bahman » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:12 am

Well, it seems that we can will unconsciously based on situation where situation is defined as a set of options each has its own weight: The option which has more weight is chosen. This approach, weighting, however doesn't work when weights of options are equal. Therefore we need a conscious decision to will on such a situation.

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Re: Free will and consciousness

Post by thought addict » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:35 pm

If the weights were really close to equal, wouldn't that be one of those decisions that absolutely grind you to a halt, that you end up putting off for years? Some decisions never get made. A lot of people try the "flip a coin" route when pressed but there are some decisions where the consequences seem just too important for that so the whole process just gets postponed indefinitely.

Having said that, it's worth thinking about what would happen in an artificial neural network with two outputs where the weights are exactly matched. If you consider individual neurons with threshold functions, each neuron either fires or it doesn't depending on whether or not the input reaches its threshold. Similarly, if you build a digital logic gate, every combination of inputs has a clearly defined output, so there's never a possibility for indecisiveness of the state of one output. When adjusting the sensitivity of a transistor circuit, you can get to a point where the output will flicker but this is sensitivity to very small changes in the input (and noise) when at the threshold.

If you built a neural network (or just logic gates) with two outputs, where each output represents one of the two choices, then of course you can get a situation where both outputs are active at the same time, indicating the indecisive outcome.

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