Re: A Universe of Consciousness.

From: Christian Szegedy (
Date: Mon Jul 08 2002 - 05:57:27 MDT

>I mostly agree with Chalmers' criticism of Penrose's consciousness-
>must-be-quantum argument (section 3) and of his Gödel-based argument
>against AI (section 1). Not sure yet what I think about Chalmers'
>opinions, in section 2, about Penrose's second, neglected Gödel-type
I think the Goedel-type arguments are neglected, because they are mostly
uninteresting. To me, using Goedels theorem and its variants to
speculate about the capabilities or limititations of AIs are simply naive
and completely miss the points. While they are mathematically accurate,
seldom practically related to the real problems of consciousness and GAI.
I find those argumentations mainly boring, much more boring than the
mathematicall uninteresting but inuitively challenging thought-experiment
of Searle.

>To me, it reeks of the rhetorical technique Jacque Vallee has called
>the "transitivity of strangeness": my evidence for strange fact 1 --
>I've had contact with aliens -- is strange fact 2: watch me bend this
>spoon with the Mind Power they taught me. This type of argument can
>be surprisingly effective.

The transitivity of strangeness can lead to obviously nonsense.
but I have the exprience that it can lead to very interesting results if
1) Both weird things are really unexplainable by standard methods,
2) They share something common.
None of them applies to your analogy.
In mathematics, it is often a very powerful way of thinking. Sometimes
it turns
out to be incorrect, but there are cases where it yields very powerful
I would say, the most interesting things in mathematics are discovered
by the
method you called "transitivity of strangeness."

The interesting thing about the phase reduction (a very poorly
understood phenomen)
that, so far, it assumes an observer, i.e. some conscious being
performing the
measurement. I think that the weird think about self-consciousness is
also the
fact that there is an observer at all. So to say, the "integrity" of the
observer is one of
the its key problems. So if you think about it a bit, then the
unsolved parts of S-C and QM seems to be quite related. It may be a mere
or illusion, maybe the whole point of view is screwed, but it is at
least not clear.

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