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There is no “Hard Problem”

 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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18 May 2016 18:52
 
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 05:33 PM
bbearren - 18 May 2016 04:07 PM
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 02:53 PM

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

The Musical Genius

Wouldn’t that be a result of “thousands of hours of nurturing the talent” along with a keen ear for music?

How did “thousands of hours of nurturing the talent” stick, and where?

From whence come the thousands of songs that he can play on request, if there is no memory in the brain?

Did you watch the second video as well?  95% accuracy (measured) in replicating a jazz composition he has never before heard.  No memory involved?

What we see from a number of savants make Epstein’s assertions seem more than a bit off base, and his examples rather trite.

 
 
KathleenBrugger
 
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18 May 2016 19:38
 
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 02:53 PM

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

Thanks for posting the article LJ. It was quite informative. I particularly liked this sentence:

The mainstream view is that we, like computers, make sense of the world by performing computations on mental representations of it, but Chemero and others describe another way of understanding intelligent behaviour – as a direct interaction between organisms and their world.

 

 
 
LadyJane
 
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18 May 2016 19:52
 
bbearren - 18 May 2016 06:52 PM

95% accuracy (measured) in replicating a jazz composition he has never before heard.  No memory involved?

If he played a song he’d never heard before he wouldn’t have made a memory to access.  That’s not what they figured out, though.  After listening to it once he was able to mimic what he heard.  That was accomplished with 95% accuracy.  Hearing a song once and having the ability to play it forever after is highly impressive but not impossible.

From whence come the thousands of songs that he can play on request, if there is no memory in the brain?

In the Nyeep Pool, of course.

 

 
 
Poldano
 
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18 May 2016 20:44
 
bbearren - 18 May 2016 06:52 PM
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 05:33 PM
bbearren - 18 May 2016 04:07 PM
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 02:53 PM

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

The Musical Genius

Wouldn’t that be a result of “thousands of hours of nurturing the talent” along with a keen ear for music?

How did “thousands of hours of nurturing the talent” stick, and where?

From whence come the thousands of songs that he can play on request, if there is no memory in the brain?

Did you watch the second video as well?  95% accuracy (measured) in replicating a jazz composition he has never before heard.  No memory involved?

What we see from a number of savants make Epstein’s assertions seem more than a bit off base, and his examples rather trite.

There is memory in the brain, but the article’s assertion is that it is not organized like a typical computer memory. There are no memory cells containing bits of information. Instead, the structure of the brain changes so that an evocation of an experience or some features of an experience become possible. I’m chomping at the bit to invoke my procedural knowledge theory, but I’m not that confident of it.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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19 May 2016 06:11
 
EN - 17 May 2016 03:04 PM

If it’s not a hard problem, then we should be able to simply replicate it in machines.  We should be able, with our knowledge of matter and physics, to create a conscious, intelligent machine that we can communicate with. But we can’t.  At least not yet.  So right now, consciousness is something that does not suffer from erectile dysfunction - it’s still hard.

I think consciousness is well understood. Just look at how many essays, treatises, dissertations, speeches and books have been written about it. We’ve yet to replicate animated life in the lab, either. Plenty of hard problems are all around us. How do we solve violent struggles in the Mideast? Doesn’t that qualify as The hard problem?

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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19 May 2016 06:47
 

I would add life to consciousness as hard problems.  I disagree that the phenomenon of experience is well-understood.  Sure, lots of people say they understand it, but it rings hollow.

 
KathleenBrugger
 
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19 May 2016 06:56
 
Poldano - 18 May 2016 08:44 PM
bbearren - 18 May 2016 06:52 PM
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 05:33 PM
bbearren - 18 May 2016 04:07 PM
LadyJane - 18 May 2016 02:53 PM

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

The Musical Genius

Wouldn’t that be a result of “thousands of hours of nurturing the talent” along with a keen ear for music?

How did “thousands of hours of nurturing the talent” stick, and where?

From whence come the thousands of songs that he can play on request, if there is no memory in the brain?

Did you watch the second video as well?  95% accuracy (measured) in replicating a jazz composition he has never before heard.  No memory involved?

What we see from a number of savants make Epstein’s assertions seem more than a bit off base, and his examples rather trite.

There is memory in the brain, but the article’s assertion is that it is not organized like a typical computer memory. There are no memory cells containing bits of information. Instead, the structure of the brain changes so that an evocation of an experience or some features of an experience become possible. I’m chomping at the bit to invoke my procedural knowledge theory, but I’m not that confident of it.

My husband knew hundreds of songs. I learned many of them over the years we lived together. And I knew the words—but only as we played them. For example, I just watched a video of us playing “The Universe Song” by Monty Python. Arthur forgot the line that begins the last verse, and I supplied it to him. If you had asked me what that line was at any other time I would have been unable to think of it. But something mysterious happens when you play a song; the next lines appear in your consciousness without effort if you are really present in the singing. Same with the chord changes.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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19 May 2016 07:35
 

The computer analogy is dodgy because most folks have a cartoony idea about computers and how they do things. It deserves the same thoughtful scolding as our notion of our brains. There is no memory as such in a computer either. Your holiday snap is not stored as a holiday snap. It is info about pixels and layout and it’s spread all over the hard drive.

I assume when our nuero-vacationists talk about recreating the mind in a computer, they are talking about some new kind of machine based on the operation of nuerons as we understand it. But even then, it seems like a dubious pursuit.

If there was some kind of consciousness manifested in electronic circuitry, it would not be because of what we designed the electronics to do. None of the electronics in your computer has any notion of what is on your screen right now. If a computer duplicated a human mind, only it’s builders would know.

If there is any awareness in electronic circuits, it is already there. Does it feel like something to be a power supply? Is there a sensation of regulating current flow? I doubt it, but if there is consciousness to find, it would be in the way the current flowed and not what we asked it to do.

We build little controlled cascades of electric current that, while going about their inevitable electrical business of charging, dissipating and following the path of least resistance, also do little jobs for us along the way without knowing it. Like the ‘logic gate’… two YES’es make a YES with an AND gate, and one YES makes a YES with an OR gate. But the gates don’t know that. They have no perception of being gates and millions of gates don’t know they are a computer. Might they think they are something else?

Imagine invisible aliens orbiting the earth and looking down on us. They have been marking the top of our heads with invisible ultraviolet paint and are accomplishing some kind of data processing by tracking our normal daily movements. The aliens have seen something in what we already do that they can harvest for a task that is beyond our perception. The paint on our heads will never spring into awareness. Same with the electronics. The task will never come to life.

A computer will never hold a model of the human mind if the model of mind being modeled is wrong. When it doesn’t work, will we then start questioning the model?

I would suggest a different course in using machines to chase down what we are. We could build a bioon computer system consisting of two mostly autonomous computers that are set up to partially interact. They could share a power supply, hard drive, and casing but would be like two separate mother boards and RAM. Each computer runs its own pre-programmed routine but with a difference. Every action taken by either machine must involve at least one unpredictable parameter presented by the other machine. Each machine behaves predictably, but not to the other machine, which has no knowledge of what makes the other machine predictable. The computers share control of a variety of periphrial devices.

If we could identify and or design a system that resolved any conflict and harmoniously operated the devices, that might crack open the door to understanding awareness. Not a third controlling computer but some sort of adaption of the two that manifested as a resolving operation within their interaction. If it worked, it would appear to us as volition.

That’s wild and crazy but perhaps a knotch or two less than some of these other notions careening about the icebergs and white wine.

 
 
MachineThought
 
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MachineThought
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19 May 2016 08:52
 

I read the article in the posted link. I think some of the hasty conclusions being made in that article come from a lack of knowledge about how computational systems work.  Even though two systems (brains) could be unique (neuronal placement wise) they do still behave functionally the same so there is in a sense an encoding algorithm that the brain uses that must be shared (probably something to do with DNA). There are features of the brain used for specific functions and this is clearly shared among human brains. Even if the pattern of 86 billion neurons might vary as would be expected. There is still a similar function. There is more than one model for memory storage in computing also and not every model requires silicon. If I pulled 2 hard drives out of systems on my network here and they were the same brand size etc would you expect the data they contain to be exactly the same? Also a number like 86 Billion might seem large on the surface but it is trivial for powerful computer systems. i am not saying however it would be trivial to model a brain in a computer but I don’t see the number of neurons alone being a problem. The re-experiencing model that is suggested in the article might be partially correct but I do not see that it accurately reflects other types of brain process.

Language, Math, and Logic use also seem to be different from for example remembering how something looks or sounds. I don’t feel like I have to re-experience math classes I took to understand how to add, subtract, etc. It really seems stored to me. I mean obviously there is some storage mechanism in the brain or even the sketchy image of the dollar bill that the student draws would not be reproducible. This seems trivial to see. Also consider the autonomic nervous system which is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions. It doesn’t seem to need a memory storage at all (I could be wrong here) yet functions like an expert system in computing would. In fact I think it is exactly like an unconscious inference engine.

I find the article not very compelling in its conclusions.

[ Edited: 19 May 2016 09:10 by MachineThought]
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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19 May 2016 13:15
 
MachineThought - 19 May 2016 08:52 AM

I read the article in the posted link. I think some of the hasty conclusions being made in that article come from a lack of knowledge about how computational systems work.  Even though two systems (brains) could be unique (neuronal placement wise) they do still behave functionally the same so there is in a sense an encoding algorithm that the brain uses that must be shared (probably something to do with DNA). There are features of the brain used for specific functions and this is clearly shared among human brains. Even if the pattern of 86 billion neurons might vary as would be expected. There is still a similar function. There is more than one model for memory storage in computing also and not every model requires silicon. If I pulled 2 hard drives out of systems on my network here and they were the same brand size etc would you expect the data they contain to be exactly the same? Also a number like 86 Billion might seem large on the surface but it is trivial for powerful computer systems. i am not saying however it would be trivial to model a brain in a computer but I don’t see the number of neurons alone being a problem. The re-experiencing model that is suggested in the article might be partially correct but I do not see that it accurately reflects other types of brain process.

Language, Math, and Logic use also seem to be different from for example remembering how something looks or sounds. I don’t feel like I have to re-experience math classes I took to understand how to add, subtract, etc. It really seems stored to me. I mean obviously there is some storage mechanism in the brain or even the sketchy image of the dollar bill that the student draws would not be reproducible. This seems trivial to see. Also consider the autonomic nervous system which is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions. It doesn’t seem to need a memory storage at all (I could be wrong here) yet functions like an expert system in computing would. In fact I think it is exactly like an unconscious inference engine.

I find the article not very compelling in its conclusions.

I agree—not very compelling in its conclusions. It’s is an example of a type of verbal deconstruction that seems to dominate publications these days.

The “self” has been found not to be at all how it’s been depicted in past literature, both technical and literary. So there is no “self.” None. Don’t argue with me because I (the de-constructor) have a Ph.D. in this very subject.

“Freedom” in respect to human cognition-behavior has been shown by neuroscience philosophers to be something utterly different from what historically has been depicted. As a result, humans, just as with every other animal born or hatched, lack even a minuscule speck of will and it combines with freedom only in our imaginations.

And now, no brain actually contains memories! It turns out that brains operate in entirely different ways from how past researchers, reporters and literary artists have portrayed things to be. Therefore, ZAP—our brains have no memory capability! Nothing, I tell you!

I prefer opting for revising antiquated terms to fit new findings, simply by continuing to use the terms. Dictionary definitions eventually catch up, though in some cases, quite a bit of time may pass, first. That way, we don’t need to toss out—figuratively—all of our relevant literature, scientific journals and textbooks.

 
 
MachineThought
 
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MachineThought
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19 May 2016 15:07
 
nonverbal - 19 May 2016 01:15 PM
MachineThought - 19 May 2016 08:52 AM

I read the article in the posted link. I think some of the hasty conclusions being made in that article come from a lack of knowledge about how computational systems work.  Even though two systems (brains) could be unique (neuronal placement wise) they do still behave functionally the same so there is in a sense an encoding algorithm that the brain uses that must be shared (probably something to do with DNA). There are features of the brain used for specific functions and this is clearly shared among human brains. Even if the pattern of 86 billion neurons might vary as would be expected. There is still a similar function. There is more than one model for memory storage in computing also and not every model requires silicon. If I pulled 2 hard drives out of systems on my network here and they were the same brand size etc would you expect the data they contain to be exactly the same? Also a number like 86 Billion might seem large on the surface but it is trivial for powerful computer systems. i am not saying however it would be trivial to model a brain in a computer but I don’t see the number of neurons alone being a problem. The re-experiencing model that is suggested in the article might be partially correct but I do not see that it accurately reflects other types of brain process.

Language, Math, and Logic use also seem to be different from for example remembering how something looks or sounds. I don’t feel like I have to re-experience math classes I took to understand how to add, subtract, etc. It really seems stored to me. I mean obviously there is some storage mechanism in the brain or even the sketchy image of the dollar bill that the student draws would not be reproducible. This seems trivial to see. Also consider the autonomic nervous system which is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions. It doesn’t seem to need a memory storage at all (I could be wrong here) yet functions like an expert system in computing would. In fact I think it is exactly like an unconscious inference engine.

I find the article not very compelling in its conclusions.

I agree—not very compelling in its conclusions. It’s is an example of a type of verbal deconstruction that seems to dominate publications these days.

The “self” has been found not to be at all how it’s been depicted in past literature, both technical and literary. So there is no “self.” None. Don’t argue with me because I (the de-constructor) have a Ph.D. in this very subject.

“Freedom” in respect to human cognition-behavior has been shown by neuroscience philosophers to be something utterly different from what historically has been depicted. As a result, humans, just as with every other animal born or hatched, lack even a minuscule speck of will and it combines with freedom only in our imaginations.

And now, no brain actually contains memories! It turns out that brains operate in entirely different ways from how past researchers, reporters and literary artists have portrayed things to be. Therefore, ZAP—our brains have no memory capability! Nothing, I tell you!

I prefer opting for revising antiquated terms to fit new findings, simply by continuing to use the terms. Dictionary definitions eventually catch up, though in some cases, quite a bit of time may pass, first. That way, we don’t need to toss out—figuratively—all of our relevant literature, scientific journals and textbooks.

And I also agree with what you have said here. Redefining terms like memory. Memory was used long before computer systems were invented. He really is kind of loose with his arguments. But then he is a psychologist not a philosopher. The argument he supposes people accepted is ridiculous (I won’t repeat it here) but I think very few scientists would start with the universal claims he suggests. I would like to see him explain how when a human does math it is not a computation???? The reason the IP model is accepted as much as it is, is because there is a lot of evidence to suggest that at least partially its exactly what our brains do. I also think that a psychological B.F. Skinner model does not explain how consciousness emerges or what it exactly is. Other than probably saying its functionally reducible and doesn’t exist. Clearly we have an experience of it. Saying we are organisms doesn’t really explain anything we didn’t already know.

 
Poldano
 
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19 May 2016 23:18
 
KathleenBrugger - 19 May 2016 06:56 AM

...

My husband knew hundreds of songs. I learned many of them over the years we lived together. And I knew the words—but only as we played them. For example, I just watched a video of us playing “The Universe Song” by Monty Python. Arthur forgot the line that begins the last verse, and I supplied it to him. If you had asked me what that line was at any other time I would have been unable to think of it. But something mysterious happens when you play a song; the next lines appear in your consciousness without effort if you are really present in the singing. Same with the chord changes.

Whoa! Thanks for a great example of procedural knowledge.

A near-equivalent for me was when I had to write or review installation or service procedures. The only way I could do either was by envisioning myself actually performing the operation, and attempting to note in detail every action I had to make to complete the task.

 

 
 
nonverbal
 
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20 May 2016 04:55
 

Regarding The Hard Problem, from the NY Times:

. . . We don’t know the intrinsic nature of physical stuff, except — Russell again — insofar as we know it simply through having a conscious experience.

We find this idea extremely difficult because we’re so very deeply committed to the belief that we know more about the physical than we do, and (in particular) know enough to know that consciousness can’t be physical. We don’t see that the hard problem is not what consciousness is, it’s what matter is — what the physical is.

The question is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” What is the fundamental stuff of physical reality, the stuff that is structured in the way physics reveals? The answer, again, is that we don’t know — except insofar as this stuff takes the form of conscious experience.

. . .

We can say that it is energy that breathes fire into the equations, using the word “energy” as Heisenberg does when he says, for example, that “all particles are made of the same substance: energy,” but the fundamental question arises again — “What is the intrinsic nature of this energy, this energy-stuff?” And the answer, again, is that we don’t know, and that physics can’t tell us; that’s just not its business.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/16/opinion/consciousness-isnt-a-mystery-its-matter.html?_r=0

 
 
KathleenBrugger
 
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20 May 2016 07:40
 
Poldano - 19 May 2016 11:18 PM
KathleenBrugger - 19 May 2016 06:56 AM

...

My husband knew hundreds of songs. I learned many of them over the years we lived together. And I knew the words—but only as we played them. For example, I just watched a video of us playing “The Universe Song” by Monty Python. Arthur forgot the line that begins the last verse, and I supplied it to him. If you had asked me what that line was at any other time I would have been unable to think of it. But something mysterious happens when you play a song; the next lines appear in your consciousness without effort if you are really present in the singing. Same with the chord changes.

Whoa! Thanks for a great example of procedural knowledge.

A near-equivalent for me was when I had to write or review installation or service procedures. The only way I could do either was by envisioning myself actually performing the operation, and attempting to note in detail every action I had to make to complete the task.

And I think this is an example that a lot of people can relate to. Think about singing along to some old song you haven’t heard in years. You would never have been able to sit down and write out the lyrics but once the music starts somehow you remember them and sing along.

Another thing that is interesting is how little it takes to stimulate the memory. In the example I gave, I only fed Arthur the first two words of the line, “The universe” and he jumped right in. Most of us have also experienced this when trying to memorize a poem or speech. When we forget a section all we need is a little prompt to cue the memory of a long passage.

One of the absolutely wonderful parts of being a musician is that is requires presence in the moment. If you’re thinking, you’re not making good music. Probably the reason Arthur forgot that line was a stray thought went careening through his mind at that moment pulling him out of the flow of the music and song and moment.

 
 
MachineThought
 
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MachineThought
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20 May 2016 08:02
 

“Music is math” - Boards of Canada

Interesting.

Quoted from the Vancouver Sun.

“In the field of cognitive research, the mind-body connections between music and mathematics have fuelled continuing debate surrounding the so-called “Mozart Effect,” which was first popularized in the early 1990s. In some studies, test subjects performed better on spatial-temporal tasks — such as visualizing a boat in one’s mind and then building it with Lego pieces — immediately following exposure to a Mozart sonata.

This might be explained by the fact that the same parts of the brain are active when listening to Mozart as when engaged in spatial-temporal reasoning.

Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been heavily involved in research on music and cognitive performance. She gives far more credit to the active playing of instruments than simply passive listening.

In her 2006 article published in the Educational Psychologist, she explains that “young children provided with instrumental instruction score significantly higher on tasks measuring spatial-temporal cognition, hand-eye coordination and arithmetic.” Part of this is due to the amount of overlap between music skills and math skills. For example, Rauscher says the part-whole concept that is necessary for understanding fractions, decimals and percents is highly relevant in understanding rhythm. “A literate musician is required to continually mentally subdivide beat to arrive at the correct interpretation of rhythmic notation,” she writes. “The context has changed, but the structure of the problem is essentially the same as any part-whole problem posed mathematically.””

 
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