There is no emergence

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

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Skepdick wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:00 am
bahman wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:58 amAgain. Salt is made of electrons, protons, and neutrons which not of them have smell or taste...
Then how do you even begin to explain the phenomena of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing except as emergent phenomena?

Reductionism and holism are two sides of the same coin...
I think you are right, so far as it goes.

If we say the parts of a brain are not conscious, but the whole is, then indeed we are saying consciousness is emergent - up to a point.

But when we can't account for the emergence, it means this statement tells us little. Because even our statement that the brain is the source of the consciousness is in doubt. Is it the whole brain that makes the consciousness, or something else that finds brains are good places to take up residence in.
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Re: There is no emergence

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PTH wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:26 am But when we can't account for the emergence, it means this statement tells us little.
But the opposite is also true. If I tell you that an object has an inherent property (mass) that tells you little.
How much mass? Well - you have to interact with it to determine that.

And it doesn't get any better if I asked you what is mass?
PTH wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:26 am Because even our statement that the brain is the source of the consciousness is in doubt.
The statement that mass is the source of gravity is also in doubt.
In the General Relativity view of the universe photons have no mass, yet are subjected to gravity by black holes.
In the quantum view of the universe gravitons are hypothetical particles.

And yet nobody doubts that gravity itself is a real phenomenon.

The phenomena are not doubted - apples really do fall from trees. What is doubted is the reductionist explanations of those phenomena.
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Re: There is no emergence

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RCSaunders wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:26 pm
bahman wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:23 pm Consciousness to me is the ability of the mind.
My cat is conscious, but she doesn't have a mind. The mind is the unique kind of consciousness that only human beings have. The mind is the intellectual and rational aspects of human consciousness.
So we are using different terms for different things. To me, the mind is the essence of any being/thing with the ability to experience and cause. The mind has intellect too. So to me, everything is intellectual. Intellect is not something which emerges in humans only and it is non-existence everywhere else.
RCSaunders wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:26 pm
bahman wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:23 pm
RCSaunders wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:39 pm
If there isn't, where did the idea come from? Don't you ever smell anything? It doesn't matter how or why you have that experience, whatever its cause or nature, it is that experience the word "smell" identifies.
I meant that the material does not have such a property. It just appears to the mind.
If you mean that chemicals and entities do not have properties that non-living entities can be aware of, that those properties do not exist (have any meaning) sans living organisms, you are right. Things only have properties to conscious organisms, and the properties (or more accurately, the qualities) of entities are what those entities are. If something really had no size, weight, temperature, texture, color, taste, smell, or made no sound, it would not exist. Everything else you know about physical existence is derived from the directly perceived qualities of existence. All of physics, chemistry, and biology are the study of perceived existence as it is perceived because there is nothing else to study. If what you perceive is not what actually is, all that you think you know is an illusion.
I mean that the physical properties of the material that are measured/experienced by a device are the result of how the device is structured and what matter causes. So we have two things, receiver, and emitter, where the receiver is the device and emitter, is the matter. All we know is that matter causes/emits something that the device perceives it which this gives rise to a measurable/experienceable property in the device. Matter, of course, doesn't emit color, taste, temperature, etc. Matter emits something which we don't know what it exactly is. Examples of what matter emmites are electromagnetic field, gravity, etc. Examples of the device, are thermometer, scale, brain, etc.
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Re: There is no emergence

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Skepdick wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:43 pm
PTH wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:26 amBecause even our statement that the brain is the source of the consciousness is in doubt.
The statement that mass is the source of gravity is also in doubt.
Indeed, and no-one seriously suggests a transcendent explanation for gravity like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_falling.

At the same time, is it fair to say that folk have found rules that seem to be able to predict the effects of gravity with reasonable accuracy? Even if we say "sure, Ptolemaic astronomy was the same; it could produce good estimates and its plain wrong in its explanations", I'd still have a wonder if we're dealing with a different sort of thing when we're accounting physical movements. So Ptolemy might have been wrong in his model. But, at some level, we know that we've looking a physical things moving in predictable ways. We're not trying to ascribe any intentions or motivations to the planets.

I thinks its more in the nature of a allegory if we say the emergence of consciousness cannot be explained, in the same way that gravity cannot be explained. If Newton had included some brain-related formula, that seemed to work for any mind-related activity that we might encounter on Earth, I'd feel that bit happier.

I know that may seem like fidgeting with the issue; maybe we should be appreciating that there's no more or less to our failure to explain gravity, than there is to our failure to explain the mind. Maybe we should be appreciating that all explanation is pointless. I'd simply return to that idea of the airplane - maybe all of the techniques we'd use to design a good aircraft are based on faulty explanations. But those explanations do seem to be exhaustive.

There's no mystery around why a plane with particular dimensions will take-off if it achieves a certain speed. I don't yet see a similarly convincing explanation the mind. Maybe gravity is just as mysterious, but I'm not finding that convincing, yet.
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Re: There is no emergence

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PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:03 am At the same time, is it fair to say that folk have found rules that seem to be able to predict the effects of gravity with reasonable accuracy? Even if we say "sure, Ptolemaic astronomy was the same; it could produce good estimates and its plain wrong in its explanations", I'd still have a wonder if we're dealing with a different sort of thing when we're accounting physical movements. So Ptolemy might have been wrong in his model. But, at some level, we know that we've looking a physical things moving in predictable ways. We're not trying to ascribe any intentions or motivations to the planets.
I think the key point here is that what physics does is constructing Mathematical models of reality, and to this end we cannot ignore the implications of model-dependent realism on society and language.

In Ptolemy's days we SAID that Sun rotates around the Earth. Now we SAY the Earth rotates around the sun. But it's not even that, because both the Sun and Earth are rotating around Sagitarius A. And Sagitarius A is rotating around... I don't even know what.

And all while we have been adjusting our language, reality hasn't really changed. So it's important to recognize that the constructivists may actually be right.

When you look at the big picture what is rotating around what, largely depends on one's choice of reference frame. And for each reference frame, a valid predictive model can be constructed which accurately describes the motion of all other objects. Which also means the perspectivists were correct too.

The thing about models is that they are all wrong. Some of them are useful for a particular purpose.
PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:03 am I thinks its more in the nature of a allegory if we say the emergence of consciousness cannot be explained, in the same way that gravity cannot be explained. If Newton had included some brain-related formula, that seemed to work for any mind-related activity that we might encounter on Earth, I'd feel that bit happier.
So lets say then that the way in which they are different is that we can construct a Mathematical model to predict how gravity behaves, but we cannot construct a Mathematical model to predict how consciousness behaves. Or can we?

If a computer running some software (which is just Mathematics/Logic in the background) was able to perform tasks equivalent to any human.
If a computer was able to pass the Turing test. Would you consider that as a "valid explanation of consciousness"?

And I make a point that the narrative which we call an "explanation" changes based on the scientific models which we call "real" (as per model-dependent realism).

So maybe we will have a robot by Google and Apple which both pass the Turing test. They run different software (e.g different models) but ultimately they do the same thing. So it would be silly to divide ourselves into Google-believers and Apple-believers.

They are just two competing models that describe the same phenomenon.

PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:03 am I know that may seem like fidgeting with the issue; maybe we should be appreciating that there's no more or less to our failure to explain gravity, than there is to our failure to explain the mind.
The problem lies with the limits of abstractions and epistemology itself. If the human is unable to tell the difference between two things then (epistemically) there is no difference.

If two models make exactly the same prediction from drastically different assumptions - how do you decide which one is "true" except aesthetically?

PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:03 am Maybe we should be appreciating that all explanation is pointless. I'd simply return to that idea of the airplane - maybe all of the techniques we'd use to design a good aircraft are based on faulty explanations. But those explanations do seem to be exhaustive.

There's no mystery around why a plane with particular dimensions will take-off if it achieves a certain speed. I don't yet see a similarly convincing explanation the mind. Maybe gravity is just as mysterious, but I'm not finding that convincing, yet.
Indeed. Fundamentally - this is the instrumentalist view. Science is not and never was after "truth". Science constructs predictive models. if they fit the data and future predictions - they are fit for purpose. If they make inaccurate predictions - they are not fit for purpose.

And yet - we cannot ignore the social/collective desire for answers.Where do we come from? What is this place? Where are we going?
So science is forced to make up stories, even though any scientists worth their salt would probably say "we are going too far by saying this".

Truth is the greatest brand name in human history, and science currently holds the rights.
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Interesting points, which raised a few thoughts
Skepdick wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 pmIn Ptolemy's days we SAID that Sun rotates around the Earth. Now we SAY the Earth rotates around the sun. But it's not even that, because both the Sun and Earth are rotating around Sagitarius A. And Sagitarius A is rotating around... I don't even know what.
I can recall reading something a while back, along the lines that it made equal sense to say the Sun rotates around the Earth - its just the maths are simpler if we say the Earth orbits the Sun. And, indeed, simpler maths don't mean its right or more correct than the more complex version.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 pmIf a computer was able to pass the Turing test. Would you consider that as a "valid explanation of consciousness"?
Here I might sound like I'm having my cake and eating it.

I think it is theoretically possible for a machine to pass the Turing test, and still not be conscious. That's what I get from Searle's Chinese Room argument, which I think makes a useful point.

On the other hand, I think we would need to have a good understanding of consciousness (i.e a much better explanation than we have at present) to be able to make a machine that could pass the Turing test. How else could we produce a machine that can seem to anticipate everything we might throw at it?
Skepdick wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 pmIf two models make exactly the same prediction from drastically different assumptions - how do you decide which one is "true" except aesthetically?
I think this is the nub of it, because there isn't an ultimate foundation beyond commonsense. And commonsense might vary over time - it would be commonsense in 1600 to say everything orbits the Earth, because the Earth is the centre of God's Creation and the fact that the Sun is a much larger body is just irrelevant.

Dobzhansky expresses it as explaining things in a way that isn't "extravagant". Wittgenstein said we're a community bound by science and education. Both of those approaches (and, very likely, others that can be put in their place) can be contested.

At the same time, while I admit its hard to suppress the familiar, there does seem to be a little bit more to it than that. Explanations of flight as emergence seem to satisfy. Explanations of mind as emergence seem to be missing something; that means they are speculation, in a way that explanations of flight are not.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 pmAnd yet - we cannot ignore the social/collective desire for answers.Where do we come from? What is this place? Where are we going?
So science is forced to make up stories, even though any scientists worth their salt would probably say "we are going too far by saying this".

Truth is the greatest brand name in human history, and science currently holds the rights.
For what its worth, I finished reading the Golden Bough again recently. I think its a much maligned work, as to an extent what you are saying is similar to what he says.

People need answers, and frequently answers to questions that impinge on their wellbeing and survival.

And if we admit all those answers are incomplete and works-in-progress, does that necessarily mean that they are only models and not explanations? Maybe, but I haven't quite given up yet on the possibility for explanation.
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Re: There is no emergence

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PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:32 pm I can recall reading something a while back, along the lines that it made equal sense to say the Sun rotates around the Earth - its just the maths are simpler if we say the Earth orbits the Sun. And, indeed, simpler maths don't mean its right or more correct than the more complex version.
Yes. This is the Occam's razor vs Hickam's dictum dichotomy.

The universe is what the universe is. Human comprehension of the universe is necessarily biased towards parsimony because our cognitive abilities are finite. The map is not the territory...
PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:32 pm Here I might sound like I'm having my cake and eating it.

I think it is theoretically possible for a machine to pass the Turing test, and still not be conscious. That's what I get from Searle's Chinese Room argument, which I think makes a useful point.
Searle is just exploiting a fundamental bug in human epistemology to make his argument. The necessity vs sufficiency distinction.
What is necessary for consciousness? What is sufficient for consciousness?

If you were to pass a Turing test, could it mean that you are not conscious?
PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:32 pm On the other hand, I think we would need to have a good understanding of consciousness (i.e a much better explanation than we have at present) to be able to make a machine that could pass the Turing test. How else could we produce a machine that can seem to anticipate everything we might throw at it?
This leads down a very problematic path. What or who is your paragon for 'consciousness'?
Even amongst humans there's variance in cognitive ability. What do we do with the humans who fail the Turing test?

Type I and Type II errors are a fact of ALL Binary classification.

PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:32 pm Explanations of flight as emergence seem to satisfy. Explanations of mind as emergence seem to be missing something; that means they are speculation, in a way that explanations of flight are not.
I think you are applying a double-standard here.

If an explanation of flight is sufficient because airplanes fly.
Why is explanation of consciousness insufficient if machines think?
PTH wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:32 pm And if we admit all those answers are incomplete and works-in-progress, does that necessarily mean that they are only models and not explanations? Maybe, but I haven't quite given up yet on the possibility for explanation.
Using the aphorism all models are wrong as a point of departure (which may or may not be interpreted to mean the same thing as Romans 3:10-12 from the Bible)

One must point to Isaac Asimov's argument on the relativity of wrongness.

When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.
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Re: There is no emergence

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Skepdick wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:14 pmSearle is just exploiting a fundamental bug in human epistemology to make his argument. The necessity vs sufficiency distinction.
What is necessary for consciousness? What is sufficient for consciousness?

If you were to pass a Turing test, could it mean that you are not conscious?
I think Searle's point is more substantial than that. I think his most succinct expression of the distinction is "syntax is not semantics". What's consciousness? Understanding or awareness. What's missing from a machine? Understanding or awareness.

What Searle sets out in the Chinese Room is a scenario that depicts how a computer works. And what the point the allegory highlights is that computers don't understand stuff, any more than a printed dictionary understands the words it contains. And the point isn't about whether we can know if the machine is thinking. It's pointing to a feature that needs to exist for consciousness to be present, but is absent.

I'd certainly say it is that it is, in principle, possible for a machine to pass the Turing test without being conscious. But, as I said, if we actually produced such a machine, we'd be able to show we know a lot about the mind.

I'd also say its possible to fail the Turing test, and be conscious. Its a useful concept in this kind of debate, but I wouldn't use it to determine if I was dealing with a human or a product of the Tyrell Corporation.
Skepdick wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:14 pmI think you are applying a double-standard here.

If an explanation of flight is sufficient because airplanes fly.
Why is explanation of consciousness insufficient if machines think?
I see it as applying the same standard. Our explanation of flight is satisfying. The right speed, plus wings, creates a vacuum that produces lift. And up it goes. (I remember feeling a little unnerved when I first read how an airplane works, as it feels next door to a party trick!)

There isn't an equivalent explanation of thought.What machines do is like the Chinese Room. No thought involved.
Skepdick wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:14 pmOne must point to Isaac Asimov's argument on the relativity of wrongness.

When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.
A good quote - from a writer of good stories that I greatly enjoyed!
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Re: There is no emergence

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PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am I think Searle's point is more substantial than that. I think his most succinct expression of the distinction is "syntax is not semantics".
Searle cannot make that distinction without venturing off into the land of mysticism, if Searle himself doesn't know what he means by 'consciousness' then how can he test for it? What is he testing for?

The syntax-semantics duality is well understood in Computer Science and is addressed in this concept.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am What's consciousness? Understanding or awareness. What's missing from a machine? Understanding or awareness.
Q.E.D Why are you asking these questions if you already know what consciousness is and what it means?
If you understand the meaning of consciousness, understanding and awareness then you can teach a machine how to be conscious, aware and understanding in accordance with your understanding of those terms.

To appeal to the syntax/semantics dualism is the same thing as saying "I can't quite capture the meaning of my words in language".
It's the same as saying "I know it when I see it, but I can't express it".

The Turing test is precisely that! If you saw it and you knew it as consciousness, then it is consciousness.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am What Searle sets out in the Chinese Room is a scenario that depicts how a computer works. And what the point the allegory highlights is that computers don't understand stuff, any more than a printed dictionary understands the words it contains. And the point isn't about whether we can know if the machine is thinking. It's pointing to a feature that needs to exist for consciousness to be present, but is absent.
Hence why I pointed at the necessity/sufficiency game Searle was playing.

What is that necessary feature of consciousness? You don't know? Exactly!
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am I'd certainly say it is that it is, in principle, possible for a machine to pass the Turing test without being conscious. But, as I said, if we actually produced such a machine, we'd be able to show we know a lot about the mind.

I'd also say its possible to fail the Turing test, and be conscious. Its a useful concept in this kind of debate, but I wouldn't use it to determine if I was dealing with a human or a product of the Tyrell Corporation.
Precisely the epistemic point. The Turing test measures for sufficiency, not necessity.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am I see it as applying the same standard. Our explanation of flight is satisfying.
You've just changed the word "sufficient" for "satisfying", but that doesn't change the semantic of my argument.

If an explanation of flight is s̶u̶f̶f̶i̶c̶i̶e̶n̶t̶ satisfying because airplanes fly.
Why is explanation of consciousness i̶n̶s̶u̶f̶f̶i̶c̶i̶e̶n̶t̶ unsatisfying if machines think?

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am The right speed, plus wings, creates a vacuum that produces lift. And up it goes. (I remember feeling a little unnerved when I first read how an airplane works, as it feels next door to a party trick!)
OK, why is this explanation sufficient; or satisfying?
If we build a working AI, we will have a narrative to go with it (e.g a theory). Why would that theory be unsatisfying?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:41 am There isn't an equivalent explanation of thought.What machines do is like the Chinese Room. No thought involved.
Earlier on you agreed to a point that if two predictive models predict with the same degree of accuracy, then there's no way to distinguish them except aesthetically.

So if an airplane flies 99.999999% of the time.
And if a machine-mind is indistinguishable from a human mind 99.999999% of the time.

What is your objective standard for drawing a distinction between the two models?
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Re: There is no emergence

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Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:00 amThe syntax-semantics duality is well understood in Computer Science and is addressed in this concept.
No, that doesn't address the point. Semantics gets ascribed in situations where it doesn't apply. For instance, the concept of embodied cognition, which is useful in dealing with some problems, sometimes talks about 'cognition' being reflected in the physical form of something.

So I might take a ratchet screwdriver. I flick the switch one way, and I could say (if I was that way inclined) that the screwdriver now "knows" that I want to put a screw in the wall. I can flick it the other way, and say the screwdriver now knows I've changed my mind and want to remove the screw. But, actually, the screwdriver knows nothing at all. The knowing is all my own.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:00 am Why are you asking these questions if you already know what consciousness is and what it means?
Indeed, I can't define what it is, but I can see when its absent.

Do you think a printed dictionary is conscious of the words it records? Do you think a person understands more than a dictionary? If you see no difference between a book and a person, then tbh you'll have strained my credulity
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:00 amEarlier on you agreed to a point that if two predictive models predict with the same degree of accuracy, then there's no way to distinguish them except aesthetically.

So if an airplane flies 99.999999% of the time.
And if a machine-mind is indistinguishable from a human mind 99.999999% of the time.

What is your objective standard for drawing a distinction between the two models?
This might be where some progress is possible.

Airplanes fly 99.999999% of the time (or, at least, very, very reliably).

On the other hand, machine-minds are distinguishable from human minds 99.999999% of the time (or, at least, very, very often).

That's why the application of emergence doesn't work, or at least doesn't work yet. Folk are selling us a product that doesn't exist yet. It would be like buying a flight to New York from the Wright Brothers when they were still making bicycles, accepting on faith their assurance that if they'd a large enough wing moving at a fast enough speed it would lift a light enough craft across the Atlantic.

That said, I suspect that even if our machines could predict human responses 99.99999% of the time, it would be a simulation rather than the real thing. It would be similar to the difference between a computer giving good predictions of the weather 99.99999% of the time and believing it was raining inside the computer. And my reason for that is that any machine will be like Searle's Chinese Room. Whereas planes actually fly.

But, I'd say again, if we produced such a machine, it would imply that we'd a very much improved understanding of the mind.
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Re: There is no emergence

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PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm No, that doesn't address the point. Semantics gets ascribed in situations where it doesn't apply. For instance, the concept of embodied cognition, which is useful in dealing with some problems, sometimes talks about 'cognition' being reflected in the physical form of something.
In this situation it does apply. You cannot put the semantic of the color "blue" into words. But you can recognize the color blue when you see it.
If I give you a bag full of coloured balls and I asked you to sort them into two piles (blue and non-blue) you will produce two piles.
Three piles AT MOST.

1. Certainly blue.
2. Certainly NOT blue
3. I can't decide

If you know what you mean by 'consciousness' you will be able to produce three piles also. Certainly conscious. Certainly unconscious. I can't decide.
Turning one mixed pile into multiple sorted piles is at the core of the scientific epistemology.

Sorting things.

The rest is Type I and Type II errors.
And the reproducibility of results.

That's how the scientific epistemology works.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm So I might take a ratchet screwdriver. I flick the switch one way, and I could say (if I was that way inclined) that the screwdriver now "knows" that I want to put a screw in the wall. I can flick it the other way, and say the screwdriver now knows I've changed my mind and want to remove the screw. But, actually, the screwdriver knows nothing at all. The knowing is all my own.
I am unsure how any of this applies.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm Indeed, I can't define what it is, but I can see when its absent.
Exactly! If your intuition tells you that Je ne sais quoi is absent, then that thing lacking the Je ne sais quoi fails the Turing test.

It goes into pile 2. Certainly not conscious.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm Do you think a printed dictionary is conscious of the words it records? Do you think a person understands more than a dictionary? If you see no difference between a book and a person, then tbh you'll have strained my credulity
I think you are strawmanning my argument. A thinking machine is nothing like a dictionary.

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm On the other hand, machine-minds are distinguishable from human minds 99.999999% of the time (or, at least, very, very often).
OK, but IF they became indistinguishable (e.g as in passing the Turing test), and therefore you placing them into Pile No.1 (Certainly conscious).
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm That said, I suspect that even if our machines could predict human responses 99.99999% of the time, it would be a simulation rather than the real thing.
You are playing the same game with yourself. Is this universe real or a simulation? How would you tell the difference?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pm But, I'd say again, if we produced such a machine, it would imply that we'd a very much improved understanding of the mind.
But this is not the position you were defending. You were defending Searle's position, which is "Something that passes the Turing test could still be unconscious".

And so I am asking: How would you distinguish a real-consciousness which passes the Turing test from a simulated-consciousness that passes the Turing test?

You may have committed a Type I error (false positive), you may have mistaken an unconscious thing for a conscious thing, but you don't know that it's an error. If you know that you are making an error - you wouldn't make an error.

It's the same as asking "How would you distinguish a real-blue ball from a simulated-blue ball?"

Linguistic distinctions without a demonstrable, empirical differences are the first sign of philosophical sophistry.
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Re: There is no emergence

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bahman wrote: Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:48 am There is no emergence because there is always a reason for something which occurs. Things cannot occur for no reason. Therefore there is no such thing as emergence if by definition there is no explanation for it. Emergence is meaningless if it is explicable.
So often an argument can be easily dismissed when the person making it fails on certain grounds.
In this case Bahman has failed due to exaggeration; and has failed due to a lack of definition.

Simply by offering a couple of standard defintions, along with examples of how, according to those definitions emergence is evident the argument is exploded.

1.
the process of becoming visible after being concealed.
"I misjudged the timing of my emergence"
synonyms: disclosure, becoming known, coming to light, exposure, unfolding, publication, publicizing, publishing, broadcasting
"the emergence of the facts"
2.
the process of coming into existence or prominence.
"the emergence of the environmental movement"
synonyms: appearance, arrival, coming;

3. In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own.

It does not take much imagination to supply valid examples of these versions of emergence.

Since 3 is probably the most in contention here. Genes alone are little more than a collection of DNA, until they are joined by the process of fertilization. After some time we have properties that are not present in DNA in a test tube. Hence the emergence of human life.

If that were not enough. All DNA is composed of only Carbon Hydrogen and Nitrogen.
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Re: There is no emergence

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Apologies on the line by line response, which I usually feel isn't that good for exchange - but hopefully this might get progress on some points.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 pmExactly! If your intuition tells you that Je ne sais quoi is absent, then that thing lacking the Je ne sais quoi fails the Turing test.

It goes into pile 2. Certainly not conscious.
I'd say the screwdriver certainly isn't conscious, but I haven't used the Turing test. I've just noticed that it is fully explained by its gearing.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 pmI think you are strawmanning my argument. A thinking machine is nothing like a dictionary.
A thinking machine wouldn't be.

But a computer isn't a thinking machine. Its an elaborate ratchet screwdriver. That would be clearer if it looked something like this:
Image
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 pmOK, but IF they became indistinguishable (e.g as in passing the Turing test), and therefore you placing them into Pile No.1 (Certainly conscious).
Well, I said I don't think the Turing test determines consciousness. That's the point of the Chinese Room argument.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 pmYou are playing the same game with yourself. Is this universe real or a simulation? How would you tell the difference?
We don't have to go there. Is a weather prediction systems real? No, it doesn't even pretend to be.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 pmBut, I'd say again, if we produced such a machine, it would imply that we'd a very much improved understanding of the mind.
But this is not the position you were defending. You were defending Searle's position, which is "Something that passes the Turing test could still be unconscious".
In fairness, I've said this a couple of times in my post. I'm absolutely saying something could pass the Turing test and not be conscious - but that we'd have to understand consciousness to make that something.

In the same way that we'd have to understand weather to be able to simulate it.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 pmAnd so I am asking: How would you distinguish a real-consciousness which passes the Turing test from a simulated-consciousness that passes the Turing test?
And, to be clear, I'm saying that the Turing test doesn't make a distinction. Its not what will separate the balls for us.

Say we devise a test that says we can distinguish whether people feel emotions or not by interpreting their facial expressions.

We show a group of 100 people pictures of cartoon characters and real people with different expressions, and ask them to sort them by whether the pictures are looking happy or sad or neither.

So we end up with 3 piles of pictures. Then we ask "how do we know which are the cartoon characters"?

We don't know. Not on the basis of that test.

The Turing test invites us to identify the cartoon characters, based on facial expressions. And that's an interesting prospect, but not enough.
Skepdick
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

I am not going to tackle your screwdriver analogy - it is taking us further away from the point. The point is. A thing is a thing. It does what it does. Irrespective of the English label we give it.

Consciousness is what it is and does what it does. Even if we had called it a 'walnut'.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm Well, I said I don't think the Turing test determines consciousness. That's the point of the Chinese Room argument.
OK. If the Turing test doesn't determine consciousness (and by proxy - the human; or humans who would design and administer such a test) then who or what determines consciousness?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm We don't have to go there. Is a weather prediction systems real? No, it doesn't even pretend to be.
No, no! We really have to go there. Are YOU a real consciousness or are you just pretending to be one?

How would I tell?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm I'm absolutely saying something could pass the Turing test and not be conscious.
Yes. This is called a Type I error. False positive. If you knew what consciousness was, and that thing before you was NOT consciousness, then why would you put it in Pile No.1 Certainly IS consciousness.. Are you putting things in the wrong pile on purpose?

Of course not! You just don't know any better.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm but that we'd have to understand consciousness to make that something.In the same way that we'd have to understand weather to be able to simulate it.
You are trapped in circular reasoning. If not the Turing test, then what other mechanism would allow you to answer the question: "Can we simulate consciousness?", or even the question "Do we understand consciousness?"

The only way science knows how is via functional equivalence. Here is the paragon of consciousness (a human), can consciousness recognize an imitation of itself? If real-consciousness self-identifies with fake-consciousness.... then there's only one conclusion to be made.

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm Say we devise a test that says we can distinguish whether people feel emotions or not by interpreting their facial expressions.

We show a group of 100 people pictures of cartoon characters and real people with different expressions, and ask them to sort them by whether the pictures are looking happy or sad or neither.

So we end up with 3 piles of pictures. Then we ask "how do we know which are the cartoon characters"?

We don't know. Not on the basis of that test.

The Turing test invites us to identify the cartoon characters, based on facial expressions. And that's an interesting prospect, but not enough.
This is a terrible analogy. On the basis of what test do you know that YOU are conscious? Is it possible that you are not conscious? And if you are NOT conscious, then could you give me some idea of how you are using the word "consciousness".
PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pmConsciousness is what it is and does what it does. Even if we had called it a 'walnut'.
Yes. Its what it is, and what it does.

If we devised a machine that predicted what it does, it wouldn't be what it is.

Just as a weather prediction system wouldn't be wet.

It's unfortunate you don't like the screwdriver analogy, because that's really the point. A computer is just a massive assembly of ratchets.

I honestly feel if we'd a huge Babbage engine clanking away, powered by a battery of steam engines, it would put the argument to rest for most people. But computers look so slick, they're seductive.

So there you go. I can believe a computer is seductive, but not conscious!
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pmOK. If the Turing test doesn't determine consciousness (and by proxy - the human; or humans who would design and administer such a test) then who or what determines consciousness?
Oh, we don't know yet.

That's probably why we're nowhere near developing a machine that could convince us that it had passed a Turing test.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pmNo, no! We really have to go there. Are YOU a real consciousness or are you just pretending to be one?

How would I tell?
Oh, easy. You'd never invest this much time exploring consciousness with a machine.
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