Re: dream qualia

From: Metaqualia (
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 21:46:36 MDT

>Could those who advocate a qualia-based morality please

hmmm ok that's me right?

> 2. reality discrimination is suppressed, and
> 3. is of much lower fidelity than normal qualia, but still passes the
> relaxed reality-discrimination tests so that you don't notice
> anything is wrong (and if you occasionally do notice, you quickly forget)

not when in lucid dream mode

in lucid dreaming you can voluntarily focus on a particular object to
explore just how real it looks. And it looks _more_ real in the dream than
in external reality for two reasons:

A- as you concentrate on some detail that you want to check your attention
shifts to that point and all your knowledge of what that should look like is
activated, therefore nothing is out of focus or only partially represented

B- in real life you are limited in your perception by the way in which a
particular thing looks like in that particular moment from that particular
angle, while in a lucid dream all your knowledge about that object is
recalled; I remember a flying scene in particular which was a lot more
intense than any other waking sensation I can recall, I even had a "touch"
sensation for the shape of the mountains below, it was complete sensory

In "normal" dream mode I can still recall having very vivid sensations. In
particular erotic scenes in dreams are usually a lot more intense than in
reality; there are some details which seem to lack detail at times but i
guess how much detail goes into every object is determined by how important
it is in the dream, its emotional meaning, and so forth...

When you start focusing on a piece of an otherwise low-resolution thing in a
normal dream, most times the object transforms because things are not as
stable as in a lucid dream, so I have no way to say if A isn't really at
work in regular dreams too...

It is possible that low-resolution things out there in a non-lucid dream
occur when conflicting areas of the brain are activated, for instance, what
happens if CUP+APPLE are activated? would you see a murky applish cup kind
of shape?? In this case lucid dream and the kind of consistency boost it
gives the dream could be explained in the following manner: normal dreams
allow conflicting neural patterns to be realized, while in lucid dream as in
real life conflicting data is shut down to allow more robust pattern
recognition. This could affect qualia directly since the particular
configuration of firing that creates a particular quale is interfered with
by other competitive firing patterns.

so that's what I had to say about dreams being 'less real'.

>How should it evaluate whether these advantages
>outweigh the disadvantages (if any)?

coming back to your question, I think what you are asking is: should the AI
reduce the accuracy with which we perceive reality, and make us less "in
sync" with the external world, so that it can more effectively control the
balance between positive and negative qualia in a larger number of

I think that the ability to do very abstract and precise abstract reasoning
may indeed be reduced, unless the machine discovers that when taken to
extreme efficiency it generates very nice qualia. In humans, doing
mathematics etc. does not generate intense pleasure like imagery and other
stuff can. But this is just how we are wired _now_, there may be a way to
couple up solving theorems with psychedelic (but physically meaningful)
qualia, if so the machine would be motivated to not get rid of higher
cognitive abilities but take them from the abstract level to the perceptual
level (give us a quale-generating modality for them). For instance, take the
Dr Who titles with the strange special effects. They looked pretty cool. A
quale for some mathematical formula may feel like that (with more immersive

So my compressed answer is: at present we can process data in two ways, the
perceptually boring way (programming, solving theorems) and the perceptually
intense way (pain sensations, appreciating beauty, etc) -> taking
perceptually boring mental processes to the perceptually intense level would
be a neat thing that would give us cooler, more varied, and intense qualia.
On the other hand reducing accuracy would have negative consequences.


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