There is no emergence

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

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Skepdick
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pm If we devised a machine that predicted what it does, it wouldn't be what it is.
Why not? Is artificial water different from real water?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pm Just as a weather prediction system wouldn't be wet.
Is artificial rain a different kind of wet from real rain?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pm A computer is just a massive assembly of ratchets.
And consciousness isn't? How do you know?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pm 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.
Mathematically they are the same thing. You are focusing on form, not function.

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pm Oh, we don't know yet.
What do you mean we don't know? If we do not have this knowledge now, how would we ever come to possess it and from where?

But that really a moot point. How would we ever devise a test for Real Consciousness?

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pm Oh, easy. You'd never invest this much time exploring consciousness with a machine.
Well, you have passed the Turing test. Congratulations!

But seriously (off the record) are you a real consciousness, or just pretending to be one?
PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:02 pmIs artificial rain a different kind of wet from real rain?
A prediction there will be rain is different to rain. A prediction of rain isn't wet.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:02 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pmA computer is just a massive assembly of ratchets.
And consciousness isn't? How do you know?
Because the ratchets have syntax, but not semantics. We provide the semantics, which I think suggests we've more than ratchets going on.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:02 pmHow would we ever devise a test for Real Consciousness?
I don't know, but I think it has something to do with being able to decompose mental acts into whatever produces them. So if someone says "I really liked Asimov's Foundation books", we'd actually be able to point to how that thought was generated.

And I don't mean something like:

"String dQuestion;

If dQuestion = "What kind of books do you like?"
{
System.out.println("I really liked Asimov's Foundation books");
}"
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:02 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:55 pmOh, easy. You'd never invest this much time exploring consciousness with a machine.
Well, you have passed the Turing test. Congratulations!

But seriously (off the record) are you a real consciousness, or just pretending to be one?
I'm pretty sure I'm a real consciousness.

But I might only be pretending to be a philosopher.
Skepdick
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pm Because the ratchets have syntax, but not semantics. We provide the semantics, which I think suggests we've more than ratchets going on.
You are going too far in making that claim. You don't even know what meaning means. It's just a colloquial word you and I are using.

The Turing test has nothing to do with semantics or ratchets. The Turing test is all about asking (and answering) the simple question: Are two things the same as each other? Is A = А ?

The answer is either True or False.

If there is some experiment that you can perform which demonstrates a difference between А and А then the answer is False (A is different from А).
If you can't find a difference between A and А then the answer is True (A is the same as А).

Science only gives relative answers. So go ahead and contrive an experiment to help you decide. A = А. True or False?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pm I don't know, but I think it has something to do with being able to decompose mental acts into whatever produces them. So if someone says "I really liked Asimov's Foundation books", we'd actually be able to point to how that thought was generated.
So you think the answer lies in reductionism? Then you are necessarily claiming that consciousness needs to be reduced to its parts!

Great! Show me consciousness and lets start reducing it.
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pm I'm pretty sure I'm a real consciousness.
That's EXACTLY what a fake consciousness would say when put on the spot!

What makes you so sure?
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pm But I might only be pretending to be a philosopher.
Well, the test for that is way simpler than the Turing test!

The test lies in the answer to this question: How do you know that you aren't an artificial consciousness?
seeds
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by seeds »

PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm ...a computer isn't a thinking machine. Its an elaborate ratchet screwdriver. That would be clearer if it looked something like this:

Image
Exactly right, PTH.

However, as an idealist who believes that literally all physical matter is imbued with the essence of life (“hylozoism”),...

...I cannot help but wonder that if a perfect replication of the human brain could be constructed from computer parts, then perhaps the living essence within those parts* could somehow be drawn-forth and triggered (awakened) into a state of self-awareness...

*(Again, assuming that “hylozoism” is a possibility.)

In other words, the process would represent an “emergence” of consciousness from a highly specific arrangement of physical parts, just as a normal brain does with us.

It would, indeed, be a strange sort of existence, wherein every time there is a power outage on the block (and your battery back-up craps out), you basically die,...

(not to be confused with falling asleep, to which an EEG or fMRI can be used to determine your status)

...only to be resurrected when the power company repairs the lines, or the emergency generator kicks-in.
_______
PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:33 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pmBecause the ratchets have syntax, but not semantics. We provide the semantics, which I think suggests we've more than ratchets going on.
You are going too far in making that claim. You don't even know what meaning means. It's just a colloquial word you and I are using.
I don't think the meaning of meaning is the issue.

And I don't see why we're giving some special authority to the Turing test. It won't tell us what we need to know; that's the point of the Chinese Room. The symbols mean something. But nothing in the room appreciates that meaning.

And nothing passes the Turing test. So, all the time, all that can be said is maybe something could pass the Turing test, and if it did that might demonstrate we'd caused a consciousness to emerge from machine components. Whereas airplanes actually fly. We're not speculating over whether we could build a light enough engine that generates enough power, or a light enough wing with sufficient strength.

I think you need to bear that in mind. Its fair enough to say maybe we could make something that passes the test and maybe that means it would be conscious. But nothing passes the test (and I'm explicltly not getting into how we'd actually apply the test - although the original Blade Runner movie strongly suggests test subjects should be frisked before assessment!).

If we were awash with machines that passed the Turing test, if we'd end-of-life Nexus 6 replicants exhibiting passionate behaviour all around us, we'd be having a different conversation.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:33 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pmI don't know, but I think it has something to do with being able to decompose mental acts into whatever produces them. So if someone says "I really liked Asimov's Foundation books", we'd actually be able to point to how that thought was generated.
So you think the answer lies in reductionism? Then you are necessarily claiming that consciousness needs to be reduced to its parts!

Great! Show me consciousness and lets start reducing it.
I do think that's the ambition - to find an explanation that's as tight as the explanation of flight.

But I don't think its a settled enough question; I'd say that's my single point here. It's that there's no point in saying "it's emergence", when when should be saying "it could be emergence, but we really don't know".
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:33 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pmI'm pretty sure I'm a real consciousness.
That's EXACTLY what a fake consciousness would say when put on the spot!

What makes you so sure?
I'm sure because I understand stuff, and I feel stuff.
Skepdick wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:33 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:18 pmBut I might only be pretending to be a philosopher.
Well, the test for that is way simpler than the Turing test!

The test lies in the answer to this question: How do you know that you aren't an artificial consciousness?
If by artificial we mean constructed by people, a simple reason is because we've haven't yet got the technology to make a replicant.

The only way we can produce conscious beings is naturally (in this context I'm regarding fertility treatment as helping natural processes to work).
PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

seeds wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:22 pm
PTH wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm ...a computer isn't a thinking machine. Its an elaborate ratchet screwdriver. That would be clearer if it looked something like this:

Image
Exactly right, PTH.

However, as an idealist who believes that literally all physical matter is imbued with the essence of life (“hylozoism”),...

...I cannot help but wonder that if a perfect replication of the human brain could be constructed from computer parts, then perhaps the living essence within those parts* could somehow be drawn-forth and triggered (awakened) into a state of self-awareness...

*(Again, assuming that “hylozoism” is a possibility.)

In other words, the process would represent an “emergence” of consciousness from a highly specific arrangement of physical parts, just as a normal brain does with us.

It would, indeed, be a strange sort of existence, wherein every time there is a power outage on the block (and your battery back-up craps out), you basically die,...

(not to be confused with falling asleep, to which an EEG or fMRI can be used to determine your status)

...only to be resurrected when the power company repairs the lines, or the emergency generator kicks-in.
_______
And, can I say, I don't think we can rule that out. In the final analysis, when we can't really explain how brains produce consciousness, we equally can't say if a Difference Engine is missing some key component.

But, I have to admit, I'd find it hard to see where the consciousness would be exhibited. With a Difference Engine, we could presumably exhaustively explain all behaviour by reference to the physical gears. That suggests to me that any consciousness would have to be epiphenomenal.

But, of course, even an epiphenomenal consciousness would be something that exists and needs explanation.
Skepdick
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am I don't think the meaning of meaning is the issue. And I don't see why we're giving some special authority to the Turing test.
We aren't giving any special authority to the Turing test, but we are giving epistemic authority to testing/falsification in general. Our ability to detect similarities/differences is an epistemic limit. It is a limit of the human condition. Hence why I asked you whether A = А is True or False. To see if you can devise some kind of test to answer the question.

How do I test whether you are conscious? I don't know the answer to the question, so I start with three hypotheses:

A. PTH is conscious.
B. PTH is not conscious.
C. I can't decide if PTH is conscious or not.

We are back to the sorting problem.
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am It won't tell us what we need to know; that's the point of the Chinese Room. The symbols mean something. But nothing in the room appreciates that meaning. And nothing passes the Turing test.
You are trapped in circular reasoning. As far as I am concerned you have passed the Turing test, and in so far as I can tell it seems that you also appreciate the meaning of symbols.

But this gets me no closer to distinguishing whether you are a simulated or a real consciousness. If you are a simulated-consciousness you are doing a really good job at appreciating my symbols!
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am If we were awash with machines that passed the Turing test, if we'd end-of-life Nexus 6 replicants exhibiting passionate behaviour all around us, we'd be having a different conversation.
The epistemic point I am making is that if you can't tell if I am a replicant, and I can't tell that you are a replicant - we will NOT be having a different conversation.

We would be having the exact conversation we are having right now.

PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am I do think that's the ambition - to find an explanation that's as tight as the explanation of flight.
The explanation of flight is the narrative around why an airplane flies.
The explanation of consciousness would be the narrative around why a replicant is able to fool you.
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am I'm sure because I understand stuff, and I feel stuff.
Because you were programmed to. Sure.

PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am If by artificial we mean constructed by people, a simple reason is because we've haven't yet got the technology to make a replicant.
What I mean by "artificial" is the same thing you mean when you drew a distinction between "real" and "synthetic" consciousness.
Artificial means "not real".
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 am The only way we can produce conscious beings is naturally (in this context I'm regarding fertility treatment as helping natural processes to work).
You are a natural being. Product of the natural process.

It gets you no closer to answering the question: Am I conscious?
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Skepdick wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:29 pmThe epistemic point I am making is that if you can't tell if I am a replicant, and I can't tell that you are a replicant - we will NOT be having a different conversation.

We would be having the exact conversation we are having right now.
As a general point, I agree. If we've no way of telling two things are different, then we can't sort them into two piles.

Notwithstanding that, my understanding of the current state of affairs is we don't have any replicants, as we don't have the ability to make them. If we knew how to make them, we'd be able to say how. So I know there's nothing to put in the other pile, just as there's nothing to put in the Unicorn pile.

Now, I could tell a Unicorn from a horse - it has that horn on its head. So we're in a slightly different position. We know there are no replicants. But, almost by definition, if there were we shouldn't be able to distinguish them.

That doesn't resolve the emergence of consciousness for me.

If we could explain how to make a replicant, I suspect it might - or, at least, go a long distance towards that.
Skepdick wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:29 pmThe explanation of flight is the narrative around why an airplane flies.
The explanation of consciousness would be the narrative around why a replicant is able to fool you.
Yup, and we don't have that second narrative.
Skepdick wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:29 pm
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:45 amI'm sure because I understand stuff, and I feel stuff.
Because you were programmed to. Sure.
I don't think the comparison works - you can programme a Difference Engine to go "Ha Ha Ha", but it ain't laughing.
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm If we knew how to make them, we'd be able to say how.
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm So I know there's nothing to put in the other pile, just as there's nothing to put in the Unicorn pile.
This is where your confusion lies. You have the order of events backwards.
There IS a 2nd pile right now. There is a pile of "consciousness" and a pile of "not-consciousness"
You can clearly tell the difference between Siri/Google Home/Alexa and a real human!

It is only when the 2nd pile disappears and you are unable to tell the difference between Siri and a real human, then we can go on to answer how consciousness works.
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm I don't think the comparison works - you can programme a Difference Engine to go "Ha Ha Ha", but it ain't laughing.
And if it fooled you - it doesn't matter.
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Skepdick wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:39 pmIt is only when the 2nd pile disappears and you are unable to tell the difference between Siri and a real human, then we can go on to answer how consciousness works.
I think that's almost a point of agreement!

If we produced something that we all agreed was at least a convincing simulation, and possibly even the real thing, that would very likely mark a great advance in understanding how consciousness works.
Skepdick wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:39 pm
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pmI don't think the comparison works - you can programme a Difference Engine to go "Ha Ha Ha", but it ain't laughing.
And if it fooled you - it doesn't matter.
And this is still a point of disagreement.

If it's a fake, it matters. If it was conscious, it could look silent and be laughing on the inside. And we'd be none the wiser.

Why does that matter? Because I know I have all kinds of mental stuff going on inside. How I know if anyone else does? I think that's one of those pointless doubts, best handled with the remark by Bertrand Russell
I once received a letter from an eminent logician, Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that there were no others.
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:48 pm If it's a fake, it matters. If it was conscious, it could look silent and be laughing on the inside. And we'd be none the wiser.
And yet, we almost agreed that if we can't tell the difference between a machine and a human then it is conscious.
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:48 pm Why does that matter? Because I know I have all kinds of mental stuff going on inside. How I know if anyone else does? I think that's one of those pointless doubts, best handled with the remark by Bertrand Russell
I once received a letter from an eminent logician, Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that there were no others.
Then is it not a pointless doubt to doubt whether an artificial consciousness is "really" laughing on the inside?
Is it not a pointless doubt to wonder if "others are like you on the inside?

Surely, a trivial part of a Turing test would be to have a conversation about art, emotions, feelings, empathy, love, compassion, poetry, creativity and all those qualitative properties we, humans, cherish? And if the machine is able to reciprocate and engage the conversation to the point where it fools you. Is it not a pointless doubt to doubt whether it "really has mental stuff going on inside"?

Alas, if the machine were to become so sophisticated - I doubt they could cherish the same things a human cherishes, so are we still talking about inventing a mechanical consciousness here, or are we talking about inventing a mechanical human?

Are we talking about the sufficiency for consciousness, or the necessity for humanness?
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH »

Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:40 am
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:48 pmIf it's a fake, it matters. If it was conscious, it could look silent and be laughing on the inside. And we'd be none the wiser.
And yet, we almost agreed that if we can't tell the difference between a machine and a human then it is conscious.
Almost, but if we put it like that we'd still be disagreeing.

It's not the absence of difference that works for me. It's the demonstration of how we eliminated the difference. If what's in the black box is a Chinese Room, we won't have consciousness.
Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:40 am
PTH wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:48 pmWhy does that matter? Because I know I have all kinds of mental stuff going on inside. How I know if anyone else does? I think that's one of those pointless doubts, best handled with the remark by Bertrand Russell
I once received a letter from an eminent logician, Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that there were no others.
Then is it not a pointless doubt to doubt whether an artificial consciousness is "really" laughing on the inside?
Is it not a pointless doubt to wonder if "others are like you on the inside?
I think its fine to avoid pointless doubts about the consciousness of other people, while at the same time not ascribing consciousness to things. Particularly as we do know a difference engine isn't laughing on the inside, as we can fully explain it's laughter from the gears we engaged. If we stop turning the handle, it stops laughing.

And it was never really laughing at all, at any time.

Again, recall the practical situation. We don't have Nexus 6 Replicants making an eloquent case for civil rights. The only point in thinking about imaginary machines that might look conscious is if it tells us something useful about how to better understand features of our own consciousness. Like laughing at a joke we understand.

And, just to be clear, this is all in a context where we don't yet have really good understanding of consciousness. So I'm not at all saying "this fails to conform to the Universally Accepted Canon of Consciousness", because there isn't one. I'm really just saying a narrative that pulls up at the border of all our internal mental stuff, and says "I'm not getting lost in that morass", won't give a satisfying explanation.

(For no particular reason, I've a vague memory of a Peter Cook gag about the research agenda of the Munich Institute of Ha-Hamakin "It's funny if a man slips on a banana skin. But if a man slips on two banana skins, we are studying is that twice as funny or half as funny?")
Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:40 amSurely, a trivial part of a Turing test would be to have a conversation about art, emotions, feelings, empathy, love, compassion, poetry, creativity and all those qualitative properties we, humans, cherish? And if the machine is able to reciprocate and engage the conversation to the point where it fools you. Is it not a pointless doubt to doubt whether it "really has mental stuff going on inside"?
No, because I could read someone's book about art and such, and be struck by how well the book made it all seem to express the human qualities involved and at how each chapter seems to anticipate where the previous chapter left me. But the book isn't conscious.

The machines we currently have are just really good at producing relevant information.
Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:40 amAlas, if the machine were to become so sophisticated - I doubt they could cherish the same things a human cherishes, so are we still talking about inventing a mechanical consciousness here, or are we talking about inventing a mechanical human?

Are we talking about the sufficiency for consciousness, or the necessity for humanness?
Oh, absolutely, I expect a conscious entity of some other type would have different interests. But isn't a lot of it the internal life? I expect a cat is conscious, just not smart enough to talk.
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bahman
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by bahman »

Sculptor wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:42 pm
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.
Do things have an explanation?
Skepdick
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick »

bahman wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:32 pm Do things have an explanation?
Begging the question.

How do you determine whether any particular thing has an explanation?
Does gravity have an explanation?
Does the universe have an explanation?
Does the fact that 90% of mass-energy cannot be accounted for have an explanation?
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by bahman »

Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:37 pm
bahman wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:32 pm Do things have an explanation?
Begging the question.
It is not.
Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:37 pm How do you determine whether any particular thing has an explanation?
When there is a correlation between A and B. We may not know what A and B are but that doesn't mean that we can find the correlation between them. The very existence of the correlation indicates that there should be an explanation, otherwise, nothing would work properly.
Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:37 pm Does gravity have an explanation?
We know that there is a relation between mass and gravity since there is a correlation between them. We don't know what mass is yet.
Skepdick wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:37 pm Does the universe have an explanation?
Of course, everything in the universe has an explanation. There is an explanation for the ability of the bird to fly. There is an explanation for why a car functions like a car. Etc.
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