Toward a Science of Consciousness 1998

Stephen Harris mulcyber at pacbell.net
Mon Apr 27 13:57:14 EST 1998


Oliver Sparrow wrote:
> 
>  tonmaas at xs4all.nl (Ton Maas) wrote:
> 
> "" According to neurophysiologists Varela & Maturana consciousness is
> "" restricted to autopoietic systems - which by definition produce their
> own
> "" organization by an evolutionary process not unlike "tinkering".
> 
> I do not disagree with the sentiment, but how can they possibly make this
> statement as anything more than a hypothesis?

I have some thoughts. One of the problems with AI is not knowing
what consciousness or the unconscious is. The problem of figuring
out how consciousness evolved over a few million years even with
humanity as a model seems very difficult.

There is no model for life of a magnetic nature which might
reside say on memory on a hard disk. Passing the Turing test
does not also insure that a mind, an awareness, a consciousness
is internally created. The Turing test compares outputs.

The internal electronic/magnetic configuration of a computer
which can pass the Turing test may have nothing to do with
the internal states required for memory to experience the
spark of awareness/consciousness...the idea of mapping human
brain functions which are embedded in protein to a ferro-magnetic
(non-protein) core, and that these will be in just the right
coordinates, as well as being the *needed* functions to create
Alife, seem even less likely than a bolt of lightning creating
Frankenstein's monster. Supposing that magnetic life is possible,
the chances of stumbling across the correct configuration(s) would
seem to be a few out of a nearly infinite number of configurations.

To recap. A program which can answer "hello Hal" with "hello Oliver"
does not evidence that this program has created the requirements
for a magnetic mind to come into existence. And we have no
knowledge about how to create life say for the interior of a sun,
or any peculiar environments for that matter.

Regards,
Stephen



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