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pierredv : consciousness   36

A Talk With Marvin Minsky [2.26.98], introduction by John Brockman

Alerted to this by "An AI conference warns us why we need to mind our language" New Scientist Jan 2019, "In his 2007 book, The Emotion Machine, computer scientist Marvin Minsky deplored (although even he couldn’t altogether avoid) the use of “suitcase words”: his phrase for words conveying specialist technical detail through simple metaphors. Think what we are doing when we say metal alloys “remember” their shape, or that a search engine offers “intelligent” answers to a query."

I haven't thought about this enough, but it seems to me that every important word, sufficiently closely examined, is a suitcase...

Here are some quotes from the interview:

"Most words we use to describe our minds (like "consciousness," "learning," or "memory") are suitcase-like jumbles of different ideas. Those old ideas were formed long ago, before "computer science" appeared. It was not until the 1950s that we began to develop better ways to help think about complex processes."

"Let's get back to those suitcase words (like intuition or consciousness) that all of us use to encapsulate our jumbled ideas about our minds. We use those words as suitcases in which to contain all sorts of mysteries that we can't yet explain. This in turn leads us to regard these as though they were "things" with no structures to analyze. I think this is what leads so many of us to the dogma of dualism—the idea that "subjective" matters lie in a realm that experimental science can never reach. "

"Consciousness, instead, is an enormous suitcase that contains perhaps 40 or 50 different mechanisms that are involved in a huge network of intricate interactions. "

"We shouldn't be so involved with those old suitcase ideas like consciousness and subjective experience. It seems to me that our first priority should be to understand "what makes human thought so resourceful." That's what my new book, The Emotional Machine is about."

"But "consciousness" is only a name for a suitcase of methods that we use for thinking about our own minds. Inside that suitcase are assortments of things whose distinctions and differences are confused by our giving them all the same name."
neuroscience  mind  consciousness  language  words  interviews  Marvin-Minsky  meta 
may 2019 by pierredv
The 'me' illusion: How your brain conjures up your sense of self | New Scientist Sep 2018
Complexity doesn't imply consciousness: "In other animals, the well-trodden paths in the brain will be different. In bats, for example, it might be those transmitting information from the echolocation clicks used to construct a 3D model of the world. There will be a huge diversity of emergent mental patterns that serve the various survival needs of different species. Looked at this way, there is no clear hierarchy of consciousness corresponding to mental complexity."

"This challenge might have triggered the evolution of a bodily self-awareness akin to that of primates, but Godfrey-Smith sees a clear distinction between the two. “When one watches an octopus squeeze through a tiny space, it certainly looks [different],” he says. Either way, we can rest assured that if an octopus has a sense of self, it will have very little in common with the “self” that inhabits our brains. It is even less likely to be something we can measure with a mirror."
NewScientist  consciousness  psychology 
january 2019 by pierredv
Metaphysics and consciousness | New Scientist Oct 2016
"Despite your metaphysics special (3 September, p 33), philosophy is not in a competition with science to see which can come up with the better answers to the same questions. Philosophy in every area is the art of thinking as clearly and deeply as we can. In science, its task is to understand the nature and scope of scientific investigation. The idea that science can supersede philosophy is therefore ludicrous."
NewScientist  philosophy  consciousness  scientific-method 
march 2017 by pierredv
People who meditate are more aware of their unconscious brain | New Scientist Jul 2016
"This suggests the meditators were recognising their unconscious brain activity earlier than most people, says Lush, supporting the belief that meditation helps you to become more aware of your internal bodily processes. It could also be that people who are more in tune with their unconscious meditate."

“The results indicate that hypnotisability and mindfulness might be at opposite ends of a spectrum of self-awareness,” says Stephen Fleming of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging in London. Other research has suggested that people who meditate are less easy to hypnotise and people who can be hypnotised are less “mindful” – less aware of their internal bodily processes.
NewScientist  self  awareness  consciousness  unconscious  meditation  hypnotism 
january 2017 by pierredv
Could machines have become self-aware without our kn...
"The first aliens that human beings encounter will probably not be from some other planet, but of our own creation. . . .If we want to find such aliens and understand them, we need to reach out. And to do that we need to go beyond simply trying to build a conscious machine. We need an all-purpose consciousness detector"
IIT defines way to calc "Φ, defined as the amount of information that is not localised in the individual parts but is spread out over the entire network. The theory associates this quantity with the degree of consciousness."
"... a hierarchical system can be conscious on only one level; ...To ascertain which level deserves to be called conscious, the software goes through all possible subsets of the network and calculates which of them has the highest value of Φ"
Practical hurdles for IIT: "gives false positives"; "calculating Φ is taxing... it’s really a qualitative theory masquerading as a quantitative one"; the zombie problem.
AI  awareness  consciousness  automation  aeon  IIT  Integrated-Information-Theory 
march 2016 by pierredv
Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness? | Oliver Burkeman | Science | The Guardian , Jan 2015
"Philosophers and scientists have been at war for decades over the question of what makes human beings more than complex robots" Good description of Chalmers' intervention, the results, and the current inconclusive state of play
consciousness  philosophy  psychology  mind 
january 2016 by pierredv
Can software suffer? Death and pain in digital brains - New Scientist 12 Sep 2015
"One day we will create virtual minds. Could they feel pain, asks Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute"
NewScientist  consciousness  ethics  emulation  software 
january 2016 by pierredv
Consciousness evolved for the greater good, not just the self - New Scientist
"The unconscious mind tricks you into believing in a sense of self, argue two psychologists. And it does this for an unexpected reason" "We think that consciousness emerged alongside other developments in brain processing that conferred a powerful social evolutionary benefit of communicating our internal thoughts to others. In order for this to happen, it was necessary to generate a personalised construction of self and attribute to it the essential cognitive abilities of awareness and agency, as well as the creation of inner perceptions of the world. It is our capacity to tell others of the contents of our consciousness that confers the evolutionary advantage – not the experience of consciousness itself."
NewScientist  consciousness  society  *  evolution 
october 2015 by pierredv
Sparks of consciousness mapped in most detail yet - New Scientist 8 April 2015
"The work augments the global neuronal workspace theory of consciousness – which argues that a number of brain regions erupt in synchronous activity when people report being conscious of something. The findings support the idea that this synchronous activity should remain stable for a few hundred milliseconds."
consciousness  fMRI  NewScientist 
august 2015 by pierredv
Thoughts: The inside story - life - 19 September 2013 - New Scientist
Distinguishing thought from perception: 1. thoughts involve the deployment of concepts, whereas sensory states do not 2. conscious character 3. mental faculty 4. integrative nature
thought  NewScientist  cognition  consciousness 
november 2013 by pierredv
Consciousness: Watching your mind in action - life - 22 May 2013 - New Scientist
Essay by researcher Daniel Bor. Two theories of consciousness = "global neuronal workspace" model. This suggests that input from our eyes, ears and so on, is first processed unconsciously, primarily in sensory brain regions. It emerges into our conscious awareness only if it ignites activity in the prefrontal and parietal cortices, with these regions connecting through ultrafast brainwaves. = "information integration theory", which says consciousness is simply combining data together so that it is more than the sum of its parts... model could be applied equally well to the internet as to a human: its creators make the audacious claim that we should be able to calculate how conscious any particular information-processing network is – be it in the brain of a human, rat or computer... Unfortunately the maths involves so many fiendish calculations, which grow exponentially as the number of nodes increases
consciousness  information-integration-theory  global  neuronal  workspace  model  NewScientist  brain 
july 2013 by pierredv
The voices within: The power of talking to yourself - life - 03 June 2013 - New Scientist
Piece on inner speech research, inspired by "theories of L. S. Vygotsky... Starting with observations of children talking to themselves while playing, Vygotsky hypothesised that this "private speech" develops out of social dialogue with parents and caregivers. Over time, these private mutterings become further internalised to form inner speech." Possible link to meditation: "our internal monologue is not always beneficial to our well-being. When we worry and ruminate, we often do it in words, and our inner speech may contribute to anxiety and depression by keeping thoughts in the head that would be better off discarded." "It will also be interesting to note the consequences when people try to suppress their inner speech (and indeed all conscious thought) through varieties of meditation."
rumination  speech  consciousness  meditation  NewScientist  language 
july 2013 by pierredv
Thomas Nagel Is Praised by Creationists -
review of Nagel's Mind and Cosmos. Good inventory of other reviews
books  reviews  NYTimes  philosophy  ThomasNagel  consciousness 
february 2013 by pierredv
Who's in charge – you or your brain? | The Observer April 2012
Are we governed by unconscious processes? Neuroscience believes so – but isn't the human condition more complicated than that? Two experts offer different views - David Eagleman and Raymond Tallis
cognition  neuroscience  via:mindhacks  x:observer  consciousness 
may 2012 by pierredv
Philosophers Zone - 9 April 2011 - How do octopuses think?
Interview with Peter Godfrey-Smith, Harvard: "probably the closest we'll get to meeting an intelligent alien"
consciousness  philosophy  podcasts 
may 2011 by pierredv
Look into my eyes: The power of hypnosis - life - 09 October 2009 - New Scientist
" highly hypnotisable participants had a 30 per cent bigger rostrum, a part of the brain thought to help focus attention"
psychology  brain  consciousness  NewScientist  brain-rostrum 
august 2010 by pierredv
Picking our brains: How many ways can we be conscious? - life - 01 April 2010 - New Scientist
"YOU might think consciousness is like a light switch, either on or off. But the true picture now seems rather murkier, challenging our notions of awareness and free will, as well as raising issues of consent in coma patients."
consciousness  cognition  NewScientist  via  artsjournal 
april 2010 by pierredv
Firing on all neurons: Where consciousness comes from - life - 22 March 2010 - New Scientist
"global workspace theory, was first floated in 1983 by Bernard Baars... proposed that non-conscious experiences are processed locally within separate regions of the brain, like the visual cortex. According to this theory, we only become conscious of this information if these signals are broadcast to an assembly of neurons distributed across many different regions of the brain - the "global workspace" (see diagram) - which then reverberates in a flash of coordinated activity. The result is a mental interpretation of the world that has integrated all the senses into a single picture, while filtering out conflicting pieces of information. Regions implicated: prefrontal, cingulate, parietal
consciousness  neuroscience  NewScientist  brain  brain-prefrontal  brain-cingulate  brain-parietal 
march 2010 by pierredv
Giving the 'unconscious' a voice - health - 03 February 2010 - New Scientist
some patients diagnosed in vegetative state can give yes/no answers by fMRI imaging of them imagining different physical activities
consciousness  NewScientist  experiment  neuroscience 
march 2010 by pierredv
Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory | Video on
Traps in thinking about happiness
His "experiencing self" vs "remembering self" reminds me of Damasio's distinction between core and extended consciousness, and autobiographical self (storytelling)
"Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy -- and our own self-awareness."
"We think of our future as anticipated memories" (09:26)
"We don't choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences" (09:27)
happiness  psychology  video  TED  **  consciousness  damasio  kahneman  stories  via:gmsv 
march 2010 by pierredv
You won't find consciousness in the brain - Ray Tallis
Ray Tallis argues that "explanation [of consciousness] will always remain incomplete - or unrealisable. This concerns the disjunction between the objects of science and the contents of consciousness"
consciousness  brain  neuroscience  philosophy  NewScientist 
february 2010 by pierredv
Review: Where in the world is the mind? - 14 January 2009 - New Scientist
review of Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, action and cognitive extension by Andy Clark
books  psychology  consciousness  NewScientist 
april 2009 by pierredv
Doubting Darwin: Debate Over The Mind's Evolution : NPR
"Evolution doubters have adopted a new focus for their attacks on Darwin's theory: the human brain. They say it's impossible that a grouping of cells could produce something as abstract and complex as consciousness or free will. Brain scientists counter that there's plenty of evidence that the brain causes the mind. But they admit they're not exactly sure how this happens" Steven Novella vs. Michael Egnor
religion  mind  consciousness  brain  npr 
february 2009 by pierredv
Does Consciousness Exist? (1904): by William James
via Daniel Robinson in Teaching Co lecture 1 in Consciousness and its Implications
psychology  consciousness  via:teachingcompany  cognition 
january 2009 by pierredv
Ap Dijksterhuis (old profile)
"I am interested in the influence of various automatic and conscious processes on social behavior. My research basically highlights the automatic and unconscious side of behavior and although I do sometimes investigate conscious processes, I'm more and mo
cognition  psychology  consciousness 
august 2007 by pierredv

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