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Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 1:53 am
by Belindi
Steve3007 wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 3:35 pm
Belindi wrote:There is no extra ingredient added however subjective human brain-minds create entirely novel information whereas intelligent machines' software is deductive and analytic. I think.
Funnily enough, I think this is pretty much the point that the poster called Syamsu, in his own way, has been repeatedly making for years. For all those years he's claimed that nobody else gets this. (They did, but that's another story). I'm not comparing you to him. Just noting a similarity in this particular point.

So, do you think that there is no way, even in principle, that something we would refer to as a machine could add this extra ingredient? To use a popular computing term, do you think in their case it's always "garbage in, garbage out"? Whereas for natural brains it can be "garbage in, work of art out"?

If so, do you think that this view inevitably leads you to say that there is something about brains that could never, even in principle, be manufactured? If so, aren't you leading yourself down a road towards some form of dualism?
The question as I see it is "can intelligent machines feel qualia, or are they capable only of knowing about qualia? "

Because there are or is physical aspect of qualia in brain structures and activity it must be theoretically possible to make an intelligent machine that can feel qualia. So it's a technical problem.

If some technologist managed to do it the intelligent feeling machine would have the same problem as Frankenstein's monster; people would be horrible to him. People are already horrible to others because of their skin colour and all manner of other traits. People are already horrible to sentient animals because for the same reason, lack of ethical universality .

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 6:30 am
by Gertie
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:48 pm
Gertie wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 4:14 pm


Agree.

I saw some artist had basically tied a paintbrush to a tree branch blowing in the wind across a canvas. It wasn't the wind or tree being creative, it was the idea the artist had which made it creative.
Were the results interesting?
I image there would be a certain amount of luck achieving something worth looking at. More chance that a chimpanzee would offer a better canvas.
About what you'd expect as I recall. But I liked it as a whole thing.
I like wind harps too.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 10:07 am
by Steve3007
Belindi wrote:The question as I see it is "can intelligent machines feel qualia, or are they capable only of knowing about qualia? "
I think that's a reasonable question provided that when considering the definition of an "intelligent machine" we don't restrict ourselves to thinking only of the current generation of machines made by humans. In its most general sense, I think we mean any way in which it would, in principle, be possible to assemble pieces of matter.

If we do restrict ourselves then the restriction is arbitrary. We'd have trouble saying why we've chosen it.
Because there are or is physical aspect of qualia in brain structures and activity it must be theoretically possible to make an intelligent machine that can feel qualia. So it's a technical problem.
Yes. Given that we accept "qualia" as a suitable term to use for subjective conscious experiences, either it is physically possible to make a machine that can feel qualia as natural brains do, or there is something in natural brains that is non-material.

If we think that the part after the "or..." is false, then the part before it must be true. So, as you say, it's merely a technical problem. As philosophers, we rarely trouble ourselves with technical problems. We leave that to the stamp collectors, bean counters and engineers. We consider issues of broad principle, not down-in-the-weeds practice.
If some technologist managed to do it the intelligent feeling machine would have the same problem as Frankenstein's monster; people would be horrible to him. People are already horrible to others because of their skin colour and all manner of other traits. People are already horrible to sentient animals because for the same reason, lack of ethical universality.
Yes, I'm sure there are all kinds of tribe-based prejudices awaiting us in the age of intelligent machines. I think lots of fiction has already been written about it since Frankenstein.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 10:54 am
by Terrapin Station
Steve3007 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 10:07 am
Yes. Given that we accept "qualia" as a suitable term to use for subjective conscious experiences, either it is physically possible to make a machine that can feel qualia as natural brains do, or there is something in natural brains that is non-material.
I agree with that, but again for the first part, it might turn out to be necessary to make the machine exactly like a brain--the same materials, structures and processes, because consciousness might turn out to be a property only of those particular materials in those particular dynamic relations.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 5:40 pm
by Sculptor1
Gertie wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 6:30 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:48 pm


Were the results interesting?
I image there would be a certain amount of luck achieving something worth looking at. More chance that a chimpanzee would offer a better canvas.
About what you'd expect as I recall. But I liked it as a whole thing.
I like wind harps too.
The artistry is in the design of the harp.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 4:21 am
by Steve3007
Steve3007 wrote:Yes. Given that we accept "qualia" as a suitable term to use for subjective conscious experiences, either it is physically possible to make a machine that can feel qualia as natural brains do, or there is something in natural brains that is non-material.
Terrapin Station wrote:I agree with that, but again for the first part, it might turn out to be necessary to make the machine exactly like a brain--the same materials, structures and processes, because consciousness might turn out to be a property only of those particular materials in those particular dynamic relations.
Yes, that might turn out to be true. If we abstract what we believe to be the essential functionality of brains (the workings of neurons, synapses and such like) and then attempt to simulate them, perhaps using computer software, it's possible that there is some feature of their physical nature and interactions that we've missed. But either way, from whichever direction we approach the task, we have the classic Turing Test style problem of the criteria we use to decide whether we've succeeded.

On another point: If I was trying to put all of this in as general language as possible (as I said I was trying to do in that previous post) then I shouldn't have used the words ""physically", "matter" and "material". I should have said something like this:

Given that we accept "qualia" as a suitable term to use for subjective conscious experiences, either it is possible, by deliberate human action, to construct a machine that can feel qualia as natural brains do, or there is something in natural brains that is not objectively accessible to observation and action.


I suspect you'll disagree with that second part.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 6:19 am
by Belindi
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:40 pm
Gertie wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 6:30 am



I like wind harps too.
The artistry is in the design of the harp.
Yes, and every work of art is a designed assemblage of natural objects or of forces of nature. The pictorial effect of tying of a brush to a windswept twig is not a work of art it's a work of nature except in the skill of tying the knot and placing the canvas. The wind harp is a more contrived instrument. The wind harp and the twig brush are alike in both are not unlike found objects like the seashell when held to the ear, and the patterns of waves on sand.

More sophisticated reworkings of natural objects i.e. what we call art include intention of the artist to communicate or express an idea. I'd not call it "an idea" to tie a brush to a twig and let it make marks on a canvas.I suppose it is an idea of sorts but it does not communicate anything very illuminating although it might be aesthetically pleasing in a sensory way. Such a natural picture or sound might also stimulate thoughts of nature as a wondrous harmony which might be made visible by simple means like the twig picture or the wind harp.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 8:28 am
by Sculptor1
Belindi wrote:
May 23rd, 2020, 6:19 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:40 pm

The artistry is in the design of the harp.
Yes, and every work of art is a designed assemblage of natural objects or of forces of nature. The pictorial effect of tying of a brush to a windswept twig is not a work of art it's a work of nature except in the skill of tying the knot and placing the canvas. The wind harp is a more contrived instrument. The wind harp and the twig brush are alike in both are not unlike found objects like the seashell when held to the ear, and the patterns of waves on sand.

More sophisticated reworkings of natural objects i.e. what we call art include intention of the artist to communicate or express an idea. I'd not call it "an idea" to tie a brush to a twig and let it make marks on a canvas.I suppose it is an idea of sorts but it does not communicate anything very illuminating although it might be aesthetically pleasing in a sensory way. Such a natural picture or sound might also stimulate thoughts of nature as a wondrous harmony which might be made visible by simple means like the twig picture or the wind harp.
Indeed.
But more than any of this the art is only so when it is apprehended, as such. By at least the mind of the artist. But to be declared as such by others is important.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 8:30 am
by Sculptor1
Belindi wrote:
May 23rd, 2020, 6:19 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:40 pm

The artistry is in the design of the harp.
Yes, and every work of art is a designed assemblage of natural objects or of forces of nature. The pictorial effect of tying of a brush to a windswept twig is not a work of art it's a work of nature except in the skill of tying the knot and placing the canvas. The wind harp is a more contrived instrument. The wind harp and the twig brush are alike in both are not unlike found objects like the seashell when held to the ear, and the patterns of waves on sand.

More sophisticated reworkings of natural objects i.e. what we call art include intention of the artist to communicate or express an idea. I'd not call it "an idea" to tie a brush to a twig and let it make marks on a canvas.I suppose it is an idea of sorts but it does not communicate anything very illuminating although it might be aesthetically pleasing in a sensory way. Such a natural picture or sound might also stimulate thoughts of nature as a wondrous harmony which might be made visible by simple means like the twig picture or the wind harp.
I've heard the idea that a sunset is a work of art, but I regard that as an abuse of language. Were certain features to be pointed out to another, but a pictoral, verbal, or literate description, that is when art happens.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 9:16 am
by Gertie
Belindi wrote:
May 23rd, 2020, 6:19 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:40 pm

The artistry is in the design of the harp.
Yes, and every work of art is a designed assemblage of natural objects or of forces of nature. The pictorial effect of tying of a brush to a windswept twig is not a work of art it's a work of nature except in the skill of tying the knot and placing the canvas. The wind harp is a more contrived instrument. The wind harp and the twig brush are alike in both are not unlike found objects like the seashell when held to the ear, and the patterns of waves on sand.

More sophisticated reworkings of natural objects i.e. what we call art include intention of the artist to communicate or express an idea. I'd not call it "an idea" to tie a brush to a twig and let it make marks on a canvas.I suppose it is an idea of sorts but it does not communicate anything very illuminating although it might be aesthetically pleasing in a sensory way. Such a natural picture or sound might also stimulate thoughts of nature as a wondrous harmony which might be made visible by simple means like the twig picture or the wind harp.
[Just to mention I didn't actually make the post about wind harps, I'm guessing that comment to me might've been Greta accidentally pressing the wrong admin button. Not that it matters, because I like them too!]

I personally am happy to call the tree painting art, that label doesn't really change what's going on, rather the context in which we think about it, as Sculptor says. I think the creative communication here lies in the whole process not just the finished artifact/painting. A lot of conceptual art is Art about Art, for example asking us to consider just what you're talking about here.

On top of that, it might not be everybody's cuppa, but there's something rather beautiful about it to me.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 12:08 pm
by Terrapin Station
Steve3007 wrote:
May 23rd, 2020, 4:21 am
Given that we accept "qualia" as a suitable term to use for subjective conscious experiences, either it is possible, by deliberate human action, to construct a machine that can feel qualia as natural brains do, or there is something in natural brains that is not objectively accessible to observation and action.
Re the latter part, I actually agree and think that in a way (sans strict interpretation per my definition of "objective") that it's a truism about everything.

This relates to my ontological "perspectivalism" or "reference pointism" or whatever we want to call it.

The basic idea, including the "groundwork," is that:

(i) physicalism is the case a la everything extant being comprised of matter, relations (which amount to structures as well) and processes (or in other words, everything is dynamic relations of matter)

(ii) properties are simply the characteristics of matter/relations/processes, where (a) properties are particulars (particular characteristics), and (b) everything necessarily amounts to properties,

(iii) all matter, relations and processes are unique particulars a la nominalism, and thus so are all properties,

(iv) properties are also unique at all "reference points"--that is, all observation (in the scientific sense) locations (locations being spatio-temporal),

(v) there are no "correct" or "preferred" reference points (objectively). There are simply different reference points.

So, it follows from all of this that the properties of anything, at the reference point of "being (part of) that thing" (so in other words, say that we're talking about something like an electron, the reference point in question would be the spatio-temporal location of the electron in question) are not accessible from a different reference point. In other words, the properties are different from a reference point that's not identical to the spatio-temporal location of the electron in question. And they'd be different from every different reference point.

So it's not just the case that for brains, there are properties that are not "objectively accessible"--that is, that are not accessible from reference points that aren't the brain in question, but that's a truism for everything.

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Posted: May 26th, 2020, 3:20 pm
by Steve3007
Terrapin Station wrote:Re the latter part, I actually agree and think that in a way (sans strict interpretation per my definition of "objective") that it's a truism about everything.
Ok. A reason why I thought we might disagree is because of our recent discussion, and disagreement, about the ontological status of energy. As we know, you regard energy as a property of the dynamic relations of matter. As such, it clearly could not, without contradiction, be said to exist in the absence of matter (a property can't exist without the thing of which it is a property). I proposed that observational evidence suggests energy exists as a "thing", in the same sense that matter exists as a "thing". Except that I would tend to put it as: it is useful to regard energy as existing like that. It is that proposition which leads me to suggest that my use of the word "matter" in a previous post in this topic was too specific, and to suggest the more general alternative wording that I gave.

Generalizing from that, I would have to say that the number of sorts entities that we propose to exist as "things" depends on what we actually observe to apparently be the case. Given my tendency to say things like "It is useful to regard...", this probably leads down a route towards a sort of observation-centric, instrumentalist, anti-realist view of the world. In a conversation several months ago you noted that lots of physics-oriented people that you've talked to tend to take positions like that, and they often tend further towards an idealist, "observer-created reality" kind of view, and/or what you regard as the reification of abstract concepts like mathematics.

Anyway, I'm going on about this for too long and it's not massively relevant to the substance of your post, so I'll park it there for now.
This relates to my ontological "perspectivalism" or "reference pointism" or whatever we want to call it.

The basic idea, including the "groundwork," is that:

(i) physicalism is the case a la everything extant being comprised of matter, relations (which amount to structures as well) and processes (or in other words, everything is dynamic relations of matter)
Ok. That is consistent with the things you've said previously. It seems that physicalism is thereby defined as the view that all real things are composed of a thing we call matter and the behaviour and interactions of matter.
(ii) properties are simply the characteristics of matter/relations/processes, where (a) properties are particulars (particular characteristics), and (b) everything necessarily amounts to properties,
This mention of "particulars" would presumably be the nominalist rejection of the idea of real classes (because classes are abstract concepts and therefore not real.)
(iii) all matter, relations and processes are unique particulars a la nominalism, and thus so are all properties,
And so would this.
(iv) properties are also unique at all "reference points"--that is, all observation (in the scientific sense) locations (locations being spatio-temporal),
This part, taken on its own, seems to be saying that those properties of matter mentioned in part (ii) are different depending on the reference point/observation location from which they are viewed. But the following part, below, seems to suggest that by "reference point" you mean the location of the matter/object, not of any observer. To clarify, which of these things do you mean by the terms "reference point" and "observation location" as used in (iv)?
(v) there are no "correct" or "preferred" reference points (objectively). There are simply different reference points.
This is the part which in the context of science would be called relativity. Not just Einstein's relativity, but the thing which is generally viewed as having started with Galileo and extended via Newton and electromagnetism to (the theories which are conventionally attributed to) Einstein (but obviously the name of the person that we happen to use to label ideas isn't relevant to analysis of those ideas). I think it's one of those ideas that has often been extended, metaphorically, to other realms, such as ethics. And metaphors, like any other models, can sometimes be strained beyond the manufacturer's recommended tolerances.

I think one way that the concept of relativity is sometimes misused, or at least strained, is when people say things like "everything is relative", as if the principle of relativity proposes that nothing can be said to be constant for all observers and that literally everything "just depends on your point of view". But the principle of relativity explicitly identifies those things that are constant to all observers. That's its point. I think people who say "everything is relative" often completely miss that point. (I'm not saying you've done that. Just making a general point about misconceptions around relativity.)
So, it follows from all of this that the properties of anything, at the reference point of "being (part of) that thing" (so in other words, say that we're talking about something like an electron, the reference point in question would be the spatio-temporal location of the electron in question) are not accessible from a different reference point. In other words, the properties are different from a reference point that's not identical to the spatio-temporal location of the electron in question. And they'd be different from every different reference point.
What you seem to be saying here is simply that two things that are otherwise the same as each other are different by virtue of being in different spatio-temporal locations. Is that what you're saying?
So it's not just the case that for brains, there are properties that are not "objectively accessible"--that is, that are not accessible from reference points that aren't the brain in question, but that's a truism for everything.
Ok. So you're saying that there are properties of every object (not just of brains) that are not accessible unless you are that object. I think.