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View Poll Results: What do you believe happens when we die
We simply cease to exist (like before we were born) 544 79.53%
We go to heaven for eternal life 39 5.70%
We keep reincarnating 40 5.85%
We stay around the earth as ghosts 8 1.17%
Other 53 7.75%
Voters: 684. You may not vote on this poll

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29-10-2020, 12:13   #511
smacl
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Ok, I see where you are coming from but it was thought by many scientists that consciousness was the by electrochemical byproduct of the functioning brain. Thus it would not be expected to remain after brain activity ceases at all yet it does for a time at least.
I think the issue there lies with the limitations of our current instrumentation's ability to measure this activity. Deep anesthesia for example can result in a flat EEG. This does not indicate brain death, simply levels of brain activity too low to measure by this method.
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29-10-2020, 12:41   #512
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I think the issue there lies with the limitations of our current instrumentation's ability to measure this activity. Deep anesthesia for example can result in a flat EEG. This does not indicate brain death, simply levels of brain activity too low to measure by this method.

Indeed that seems to be the case but 'death' is becoming further pushed back. The question is how far? Is consciousness simply a function of the complexity of the brain or is it something else and perhaps independent of the brain. We have very complex AI systems now have any been deemed to be conscious?
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29-10-2020, 12:51   #513
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We have very complex AI systems now have any been deemed to be conscious?
Not yet. But if they were and we turned it off for a year.... then turned it back on.... would you think the consciousness "went" somewhere or wonder what happened to it in the interim?

Or would it be something that can simply be turned on and off at will so long as the underlying hardware remains undamaged?

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Thus it would not be expected to remain after brain activity ceases at all yet it does for a time at least.
Only if you are holding on to the assumption that I am questioning in the AI thought experiment above, and the candle thought experiment from my earlier posts.

Basically where I think the locus of your unwarranted assumption lies is in what you appear to me by the word "remain" here. What is it you think that means exactly?

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29-10-2020, 13:06   #514
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Indeed that seems to be the case but 'death' is becoming further pushed back. The question is how far? Is consciousness simply a function of the complexity of the brain or is it something else and perhaps independent of the brain. We have very complex AI systems now have any been deemed to be conscious?
I think you have two different questions rolled into one there. Human consciousness, as I understand it to be, is a function of not just the complexity of the brain but also its dynamically changing state. If and when we create a conscious AI this will be very different indeed. The consciousness will be stored in something akin to a computer network with all that that entails. Notably it can potentially be saved and restored at a later time using a persistent backup, and replicated to new hardware (i.e. effective immortality). It can potentially use any accessible sensor or data source connected to its network (i.e. omniscience lite). This is the tip of the iceberg for conscious AI, we stand to make an intelligence potentially far superior to our own. While it might never happen and could all go tits up, I'm quite excited by the prospect.
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29-10-2020, 13:40   #515
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The candle idea is too simple.



AI consciousness, if it ever happens, may or may not be similar to ours. I would expect that such an AI consciousness would not be able to return with its former consciousness if stopped.



I too am excited by the AI prospect if a little worried also.


'Remain' I would take to mean that the personality stays intact while the brain is deemed inactive.
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29-10-2020, 13:56   #516
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The candle idea is too simple.
Unqualified assertion. Merely stating this and saying no more about it is no more useful than your you tube link dumping from earlier.

The point of the analogy is based on neither simplicity nor complexity however. But on the error of assumption in the types of questions and ideas you are expressing about consciousness. To repeat: There is no more reason to think of where a consciousness "goes" when it is "out" than there is a flame on a candle.

The problem is we as humans like to THINK of consciousness as this uninterrupted single flow from end to end, from birth to death. Like in the post above where you say "I would take to mean that the personality stays intact while the brain is deemed inactive."

There is no reason I know of to think that:

a) it does remain "intact" during that period or
b) that anything requires that it does, or does not make sense if it doesn't.

I merely question that that core assumption is warranted, especially when it leads to other ideas and assumptions that are themselves entirely unsubstantiated. Such as consciousness lifting off, or surviving the death of, the brain.

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I would expect that such an AI consciousness would not be able to return with its former consciousness if stopped.
And is that expectation based on anything, other than the assumption I just described above? Is there any actual argument, evidence, data or reasoning on offer to lend credence to such an expectation?

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I too am excited by the AI prospect if a little worried also.
Agreed, I am both also. But I think that is healthy. The people who really scare or worry me are the people who are one OR the other and not both.
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29-10-2020, 13:57   #517
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I would expect that such an AI consciousness would not be able to return with its former consciousness if stopped.
Why not? It seems that AI consciousness would correspond to a machine state which can be losslessly backed up and restored.
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29-10-2020, 16:45   #518
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Why not? It seems that AI consciousness would correspond to a machine state which can be losslessly backed up and restored.
If it is a function of some electronic network 'learning' being set up in a complex system it may not be restorable
No one can tell until an AI with consciousness is produced some say that that isn't too far away.


As for the candle idea I'd say that it's self evident that a complex system such as the human brain cannot be compared in its workings with re lighting a candle. I know you used it as an analogy but it is a very poor one.

Last edited by saabsaab; 29-10-2020 at 16:54.
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29-10-2020, 18:16   #519
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Physicist David Baum ( Colleague of Oppenheimer) postulated that the universe was a mystical place where past, present, and future coexisted. He believed that there may be a realm of pure information (the implicate order) from which the physical, observable phenomena unfold. He also thought of the universe and the brain as a form of Hologram. He may be wrong but this idea comes close to an idea of God and the meaningless of death as we know it.
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29-10-2020, 18:24   #520
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If it is a function of some electronic network 'learning' being set up in a complex system it may not be restorable
I disagree. If the AI is running on a network of digital computers, as is the case with current deep learning and other neural nets, it can be made persistent. More specifically, execution can be suspended and the state of all non-persistent storage (e.g. RAM) can be saved to or read from external storage. Think about it like being able to save and load your game position in the likes of Call of Duty. You can always restore the last saved state, but may lose a certain amount of information between the last saved state and the last executed state.

It is possible that AIs may end up running on quantum computers but even then I can't see why they would not support persistence.
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29-10-2020, 18:31   #521
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I disagree. If the AI is running on a network of digital computers, as is the case with current deep learning and other neural nets, it can be made persistent. More specifically, execution can be suspended and the state of all non-persistent storage (e.g. RAM) can be saved to or read from external storage. Think about it like being able to save and load your game position in the likes of Call of Duty. You can always restore the last saved state, but may lose a certain amount of information between the last saved state and the last executed state.

It is possible that AIs may end up running on quantum computers but even then I can't see why they would not support persistence.

Yes, I can see that being the case if the conscious AI is part of a network but would it come back if the whole network was shut down? The brain is not interconnected (as far as current thinking accepts) and yet it can come back with consciousness and memories (perhaps even from the time during shut down) intact.
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30-10-2020, 08:04   #522
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No one can tell until an AI with consciousness is produced some say that that isn't too far away.
Well exactly. That is why I question the "expectations" you claim to hold. I see no basis for any useful expectations based on something we have no idea about at this time.

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As for the candle idea I'd say that it's self evident that a complex system such as the human brain cannot be compared in its workings with re lighting a candle. I know you used it as an analogy but it is a very poor one.
Or your evaluation of it is poor.

A mountain is a simple lump of rock. A car has a lot of complex moving parts and functions. I can STILL compare them though depending on the locus of comparison. For example if I was comparing them on the basis of Color, they might both be grey.

The failure in your evaluation is in thinking that something simple can not be compared with something complex..... just because. The reality is that it depends on what exactly is being compared.

In this case all that is being compared is the concept that the output of either has to "go somewhere" when the out put ceases, rather than simply stopping at the idea the out put has ceased. Or that anything magical or mystical can be read into the fact output can resume after a period of it having ceased.

So there is absolutely bugger all wrong with the analogy.

Perhaps the locus of your error here is in nothing more than common human hubris. Which is to simply balk at anything that even remotely suggests belittling consciousness or the brain and not treating them as some lofty magical wondrous thing to be worshipped and adored and awed at.

Also side note, making unsubstantiated assertions and then when called on them merely declaring the assertion "self evident"..... tends not to wash around here

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30-10-2020, 11:49   #523
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Surely the poll should have included:

O We simply don't know

O 42
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30-10-2020, 19:33   #524
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Well exactly. That is why I question the "expectations" you claim to hold. I see no basis for any useful expectations based on something we have no idea about at this time.



Or your evaluation of it is poor.

A mountain is a simple lump of rock. A car has a lot of complex moving parts and functions. I can STILL compare them though depending on the locus of comparison. For example if I was comparing them on the basis of Color, they might both be grey.

The failure in your evaluation is in thinking that something simple can not be compared with something complex..... just because. The reality is that it depends on what exactly is being compared.

In this case all that is being compared is the concept that the output of either has to "go somewhere" when the out put ceases, rather than simply stopping at the idea the out put has ceased. Or that anything magical or mystical can be read into the fact output can resume after a period of it having ceased.

So there is absolutely bugger all wrong with the analogy.

Perhaps the locus of your error here is in nothing more than common human hubris. Which is to simply balk at anything that even remotely suggests belittling consciousness or the brain and not treating them as some lofty magical wondrous thing to be worshipped and adored and awed at.

Also side note, making unsubstantiated assertions and then when called on them merely declaring the assertion "self evident"..... tends not to wash around here

I don't know what 'washes' around here but you claim to know what it is, in your opinion. I will leave it to others to see my point and make up their own minds.
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30-10-2020, 20:24   #525
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I don't know what 'washes' around here but you claim to know what it is, in your opinion. I will leave it to others to see my point and make up their own minds.
Not my opinion, reporting on my experience and observations of being on the forum for years.

If you do want to come back and substantiate your claims however I will be here.

I am not sure how anyone will see your point though. You just asserted something, and then when I asked about it you just called it "self evident". There is no point there TO see.
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