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Qm and consciousness

  1. Jun 17, 2005 #1
    The universe is quantum mechanically. But no one understands quantum mechanics, as Feynman put it.
    On the one hand the pivotal role and accuracy of QM in describing nature. On the other hand the inability to interpret QM (1. quantum reality- what is a superposed state? 2. measurement problem- where and when does wave function collapse?) Often-told, but true story.

    What is consciousness? What is that non-physical and completely subjective “thing” called consciousness/ mind/ qualia? The mind-body problem, the oldest and greatest puzzle in all of philosophy and sciences. Again, we have no way of approaching it.

    1. Now, are the solutions to both problems related to each other?

    I know that has been proposed by some serious figures (Wigner, Penrose) and a lot of less serious people and got always rejected by the majority view. I also can’t see no connection, but found the idea always very tempting.

    2. Why do most people never heard of qm or the mind-body problem?
    Instead are more interested in closing my thread because its named Angie Jolie?????
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2005 #2


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    This thread is not about Quantum mechanics, your thread was moved to a more apprpriate forum, then closed because it did not result in a meaningful discussion. I will move this to philosophy of science. Perhaps you can generate a meaningful dissusion there.

    Please do not start any more of these in Quantum Mechanics.
  4. Jun 17, 2005 #3


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    A coherent question would be a good place to start.
  5. Jun 17, 2005 #4
    Just would have been nice if you had told me that in the first place when you closed my thread.
  6. Jun 17, 2005 #5
    A coherent question would be a good place to start.

    Don't understand.
  7. Jun 17, 2005 #6
    "What is consciousness? What is that non-physical and completely subjective “thing” called consciousness/ mind/ qualia? The mind-body problem, the oldest and greatest puzzle in all of philosophy and sciences. !!!!Again, we have no way of approaching it!!!!."

    how do you come to this statement? what do you think all those neuroscientist, neurobiologist, neuropsychologists,neurochemists(druggs mmm),cogsci psychologists,
    AI/ALIfe/Robotic Researchers, Brain Modellers do for a living

    What we lack is computational power!

    You prolly read Penrose recently..though his books are nice bathroom reads they are also rather old.

    The question asked above should be restated as
    "is consciouness/human intelligence hardware dependent or is the connectionist view correct" Penrose is a supporter of the former and a AI/strong AI supporter supports the latter.

    Any one ever see those freaky face experiments from MIT. or steve grands research on Lucy i wonder how that project is going.

    Consciousness is mostlikely stored relay between sensory and motor and is very cyclic.
    But as I'm trying to get intro grad school with this topic...Ima have to hold back my ideas.

    Things to think about removing your brian...do you have consciouness...removing your speech box..your eyes...what type of results would happen...removing the optic chiasm or the auditory one.

    I wonder for any given grown intellectual adult...if you remove their speech box/eyes
    and optic chiasm/auditor...what type of cognitive state would they be in...too bad theres too many ethical issues

    anyways its late peace.
  8. Jun 17, 2005 #7
    how do you come to this statement?

    Well, I read Susan Blackmore "Consciousness", Christof Koch "The Quest for Consciousness" and Steven Pinker "How the mind works" plus a lot in the internet.
    Pinker, for example, strongly advocates in the first part of its book a 'computational theory of mind', but admits in a later chapter (called aladin's
    lamp) that he or no one else has an idea what consciousness really is.
    Christof Koch, the leading figure in neuroscientific consciousness research, feels the same and therefore leaves out this question and instead focuses on finding neural correlates of consciousness.

    Most computer scientist or strong AI proponents confuse what David Chalmer coined the division between easy problems and the hard problem. You might be one of them.
  9. Jun 17, 2005 #8


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    You are not asking the right questions. Ask questions that you understand. Learn the basic stuff first. I can give you tons of reference material.
  10. Jun 17, 2005 #9
    You are not asking the right questions. Ask questions that you understand. Learn the basic stuff first. I can give you tons of reference material.

    What are the right questions? Which questions do I understand? What is the basic stuff? Please, be a little bit more precise.
  11. Jun 17, 2005 #10
    umm its called sleeping..maybe you don't sleep but the rest of us do?
    hmm my post 7am your post 4pm ...wowo i got 9 hours of sleep SWEET...

    btw can you tell me this...the number of neurons in the brain is estimated to be 100e9 with approximately 10e3-4 synapses to each so thats
    a total 100e13 synapses plus 10e9 neurons...updated at 1-10ms per frame as our brain does with robotics/3D engine....do you know of any researcher who modells at that scale?...I don't. Also most researcher tackle 1 facit of the brain process or 2 not all. Show me a paper that takes on memory, vision,audition, touch(hand/finger sensation), imagery,language, infancy development...all at once. Oh yeah and might i add that human consciousness at its best takes 6-10 years to grow.
    Actually i remmeber of one project...but only time will tell...his book was a nice read...where he takes humans off the high stool.

    http://www.cyberlife-research.com/ btw his project Lucy is 2-3 years in the making...i was waiting on his second book.

    Also surgical neuroscience(lobotomy) is unethical ...how can we studyt he brain properly?

    I assume you mean this division by chalmer...
    "Many books and articles on consciousness have appeared in the last few years, and one might think that we are making progress. But on a closer look, most of this work leaves the hardest problems about consciousness untouched. Often, this work addresses what might be called the "easy" problems of consciousness: How does the brain process environmental stimulation? How does it integrate information? How do we produce reports on internal states? These are important questions, but to answer them is not to solve the hard problem: why is all this processing accompanied by an experienced inner life? Sometimes this question is ignored entirely; sometimes it is put off until another day; and sometimes, it is simply declared answered. But in each case, one is left with the feeling that the central problem remains as puzzling as ever."

    which gives the approach of fundamentalism vs the whole....which i woudl like to ask you what do you think imagery and memory are? Again I reiterate
    no one models the whoel package...even people at MIT model just parts.

    "Christof Koch, the leading figure in neuroscientific consciousness research, feels the same and therefore leaves out this question and instead focuses on finding neural correlates of consciousness." is there some magazine or journal that says this...he is one of the major players in teh game

    Now can I ask what your educational background is to take such a harsh attitude towards everyone in this forum?

    oh yeah and fi you wanted the question to be stated in QM forum
    you should of ask...

    does QM play a role of consciousness? or is consciousness dependent only on the connectionist viewpoint.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2005
  12. Jun 17, 2005 #11
    Now can I ask what your educational background….
    I work at a patent office in Zurich right now and never liked math in school. Why should my educational background matter?

    ...is to take such a harsh attitude towards everyone in this forum?
    Not everyone. Marlon and Self-adjoint seem to be cool. But the Integral and Chronos don’t like me. That makes me sad and angry and I say things that I regret later on.

    I still have to notice that we have very different interpretations of what consciousness is.
    Well, not very surprising, that’s part of the consciousness problem.
    But please allow me my view (that I share with the above-mentioned highly educated people) that there is a hard problem that can’t be solved by more computation or more brain modelling. There is an explanatory gap as the philosopher Joseph Levine put it: ”a metaphysical gap between physical phenomena and consciousness experience”. Or in the words of the great William James “The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable”.
  13. Jun 17, 2005 #12
    your educational background matters becuase I need know what you know in order to provide support for what i'm saying..if you are one who just reads novels...then it becomes harder to word my arguments...if you are won that has worked in some lab or had higher educational knowledge of the topic then just novels then my arguments may be meanlingless..last if you take the apprroach that i have taken in tryign to study all facits of the field from math/physics/cs/psych/biology/chemistry then perhaps you can see where i'm leading to without me describing a whole lot.

    "I still have to notice that we have very different interpretations of what consciousness is. Well, not very surprising, that’s part of the consciousness problem"

    in that case you would be describgin what many would deem the soul. Something that makes humans stand out over many other species. But then i would argue if i was in grad school that there was no such gap or term. but I am still building my arguments cuz i haven't finished my 3D engine or neuralnets engine yet and i don't have money to purchase a robot.

    To disprove this "higher image of self" account I would so ask you to try these experiments
    [1]...remove your brain...and see how your body handles it. =]
    [2]...remove the neural substrate leading to your speech box and the optic chiasm and i think the superior olives(feedback for the auditory). My neuropsych is abit rusty. If those are the correct feedback system...I can't remember if its that or the LGN/MGN.
    [3]...remove the senses of a child...and watch them grow...the closest
    account to this in a natural experiment that i know is the famous case of Helen Keller
    but she had the sense of touch.
    [4]...remove some sense of the child and watch them grow...of course we can observe
    these ones because of the blind and deaf..they have a harder time growing up but they turn out alright.
    [5]...remove the imagery and memory centers: Parietal/Occipital region and the hippocampus/Subiculum if i remember correctly.

    OF course these are unethical in science...and the people who study these questions and think of self often have no visable mental defect and there consciousness is already fully developed but would not be willing ot go through those experiments
    ...and it would be hard to deny our full power...

    Back to modelling...again it comes back to computational power...100e13 synapses in one system..plus depending on if your using robotics or 3D engine..

    for a 3D engine you gotta build graphics systems
    for robotics you gotta build the sensory systems at a very small scale...lots of money.

    anywaysgotta go peace.
  14. Jun 18, 2005 #13
    Is there a difference between turning off your computer and torturing and killing a dog? I would say yes. I believe it’s because living organisms that have developed a nervous system of a certain degree of complexity have consciousness-like experience when processing information. But what makes it different from the computer? Will machines/ computers ever have consciousness? What is crucial for consciousness? You say it’s more computational power. Let’s rebuild or remodel the brain. But I still can’t see how the gap between the physical world and the mind is being bridge. So can’t all the great thinkers I cited in my earlier posts.
    This problem is not constructed, abstract or far-fetched, but one of the greatest mysteries in all of sciences and philosophy. If you never encountered it in grad school or anywhere else in your undoubtedly fine education than your education is in this regard incomplete.

    Maybe the following contemplations and thought experiments can illustrate the mind-body problem.

    -Is the red you see the same that I see? How will we ever find out?
    -Are you a zombie? How do I know? How do you know that I’m not a zombie?
    -When I completely replicate you and then kill the original you but let the replicated you alive, would I have committed murder? Would you live on?
    -When does a human become conscious? As sperm, as foetus, as baby?
    -When I hit a dog, does he feel pain? What about a fly? A unit cell organism?
    -What is it like to be a bat? How will we ever know?
    -If we could ever duplicate the information processing in the human mind as an enormous computer program, would a computer running the program be conscious? You say yes, but imagine we took that program and trained a large number of people, say, the population of China, to hold in mind the data and act out the steps. Would there be one gigantic consciousness hovering over China, separate from the consciousness of the billion individuals?

    Note also the body-mind problem is not about a ‘higher image of self’ or something that ‘makes human stand out’. Almost all consciousness researchers believe that when a dog processes visual information (sees), he has qualia, a consciousness-like experiment. So I also can’t see how your suggested experiments can help us understanding qualia.

    If I have understood correctly you are writing programs that are inspired by neuroscience and how the brain works. I read recently “On intelligence” by Jeff Hawkins where he explained that to build truly intelligent machines the mechanism of the human brain must first be understood and then these mechanism must be applied. That was the most thrilling book I read in years and it seems that this field is one of the most exciting to work in.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2005
  15. Jun 18, 2005 #14
    ah searles chinese room experiment...how do we know then that we are not a bunch of chinese people rearranging words...in this case cells would be the chinese people and how do we know that they do not hold consciousness?...

    better yet someone else posted this same thought in the forum..the conscious self that you seem to exhibit ...how do you not know that it is a mere byproduct of the connections between sensory & motor with a storage systems? That only the connections matter and not the actually hardware ..QM/neurochemistry/cells...eliminate the senses and those neural substrates that handle the early inputs to the major brain parts and what do you have left. I repeat these experiments because your senses are your interaction to the world...it gives you the bounds to which the self is contained in...sometimes even extended by a laser pointer or the computer mouse or a stick. Without the sense of touch a baby is left nowhere IMO.

    You bring up the notion of the computer...and again i must state how many modellers model all the following, imagery, memory, vision,audiition,touch etc. When we think of the computer we think of whats sitting on our desk...

    not one that receives visual information (say from video camers) or audition...and then has interaction(robotic hands) vital to most childrens everyday living.
    Some robotics people like mmm can't rememebr teh japanese one(don't think motorola i think honda) are trying but like they're experiencing its kinda hard to make the roboto with all the possible joints and mobility that a normal child would experience. Plus the funding needed and time.

    and the one thing that most researchers tend to ignore even in modelling is the aspect of child development(myelin growth and celldeath-pruning) and reinforcement learning(guidance from environment...ie parents) , ...that our conscious is not grown over night...do you remmeber as a kid the first day that hte concept of "I" came into existence..was it the word I that came first or the concept of self before it. Or as an adult asking a child to remember what happen some day or week ago...consciousness is grown. Not instant. See there are endless things to look at then QM...

    ANd i would disagree taht one must understand the brain fully before creating it...I will agree that we will inpart need examples to map the brain...but to understand it completely I doubt it because even if we can't create the human brain we could create AI/ALife...look at teh creatures software developed by Steve Grand. THe creation part would be alot of trial and area with alot of parameter manipulation but through the eyes of Cellular Automata or Computational beauty of Nature you could create something beautiful...

    and i have to ask how much programming you know because if you know none or little then I understand why you cannot see my views. And if your not willing to try to model HOw can you deny it and just say oh...QM is more important. Again if you've never have modelled then you don't know the ups and downs.

    Btw some topics that you may need to come across...computability, filters, Neural nets, Reinforcement Learning, Genetic Algorithms, Spiking Nets, Sensorimotors systems...and of course the Brain.

    Thanks for the reference on othe hawkins book I will have to read tha tbook...
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2005
  16. Jun 18, 2005 #15
    Ratz: thx fo rthe reference gto this book...i went to chapters and read the first 40 and some other 50 pages from the book. Its the type of book i've been looking for along the lines of steve grands with the biological info.
    Though I would have to disagree with his search for intelligence only by studying intelligence neural substrate centers...because intelligence is grown not instant. Also i'll go visit his website
  17. Jun 19, 2005 #16
    Great that you like it too. Again, I can't say how much I envy you for working in this area.
    As you might have found out already, the website of this book also has a forum.
  18. Jun 19, 2005 #17
    ah thers a website forum? i missed that for the book or for his company RNI?
    I wish i was in graduate school for this area...my school lacked a good undegrad cs component so i'm spending time learning cs well 3D graphics/OO
    But i'll eventually get there.
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