Re: Copying nonsense (was Re: [sl4] Uploading (was : goals of AI))

From: Luke (
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 18:27:15 MST

I'm saying that you run out of the building doesn't prove anything about it.
 I don't believe in it but rather experience it in every moment.

On the other hand, I could just be saying that.

As for the "I", I've been holding the language pattern of "my ego is an
illusion" for long enough that I "believe" that "I" does not exist. But in
actual experience, I've only disappeared rarely in moments of deep
meditation or deep tripping. But when the "I" is gone, the qualia is
definitely still there. The difference is that this body and its
surroundings don't seem like separate things. Even the thoughts are on the
same side of the line. On the other side of that line is ... nothing except
the potential for qualia, I guess.

 - Luke

On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 4:52 PM, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:

> Luke wrote:
> > Actually, in that situation you'd probably be primarily motivated by a
> desire not to experience your flesh being burned.
> So are you denying that you believe in this nonexistent thing, or are you
> denying that it doesn't exist?
> -- Matt Mahoney,
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Luke <>
> *To:*
> *Sent:* Mon, December 7, 2009 3:56:22 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Copying nonsense (was Re: [sl4] Uploading (was : goals of
> AI))
> "If you got out, then you must believe in this nonexistent thing."
> Actually, in that situation you'd probably be primarily motivated by a
> desire not to experience your flesh being burned.
> Even a zen master will duck if you throw a molotov cocktail at him. That's
> the nature of the flesh.
> More generally, re: this entire conversation. Just accept the fact that if
> you make a conscious copy of yourself you'll both feel the continuity.
> That continuity is itself an illusion. The past doesn't exist, except in
> memory. "In" memory - not a spatial relationship.
> - Luke
> On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 3:09 PM, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:
>> "M.>h" wrote:
>> > ... sorry, but i do not get the whole problem.
>> You understand that I can't define something which doesn't exist. When I
>> say qualia or self awareness or that little person inside your mind that
>> observes the world through your senses, most people know what I mean.
>> Let me put it this way. Consider the AI program that observed everything
>> you did for the last several years until it became so good at predicting
>> your behavior that none of your friends or relatives could distinguish it
>> from you in a Turing test environment. Unfortunately the building containing
>> the only copy of the program is on fire. It is just you and the computer in
>> a room rapidly filling with smoke. There is just enough time either for you
>> to get out, allowing the only copy to be destroyed, or for you to upload a
>> copy of the program to a remote site over the internet with your last dying
>> breath. Which do you do?
>> If you got out, then you must believe in this nonexistent thing. Otherwise
>> you would logically conclude that by preserving your memories in a form that
>> can be backed up, that you become immortal. Furthermore, you have the
>> opportunity to enhance your intelligence and your environment by running on
>> more powerful computers and embodied in better robots in the future. Why
>> would you ever allow one copy to be destroyed now and the only other copy in
>> a few decades?
>> Sorry for my ambiguous use of the word "you".
>> -- Matt Mahoney,
>> ------------------------------
>> *From:* "M.>h" <>
>> *To:* "" <>
>> *Sent:* Mon, December 7, 2009 1:58:00 AM
>> *Subject:* Re: Copying nonsense (was Re: [sl4] Uploading (was : goals of
>> AI))
>> ... sorry, but i do not get the whole problem. even if a clone of me would
>> walk up to me right here and now, having sufficiently enough of my memories
>> and claiming to have my 'identity', i would not care if this 'double' would
>> not use my resources (e.g. credit card) and bureaucrats would leave me
>> alone!
>> cheers,
>> miriam
>> Am 06.12.2009 um 22:12 schrieb Thomas Buckner <>:
>> ------------------------------
>> *From:* Matt Mahoney <>
>> *To:* <>
>> *Sent:* Sun, December 6, 2009 2:44:53 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: Copying nonsense (was Re: [sl4] Uploading (was : goals of
>> AI))
>> Rewot Fetterkey wrote:
>> > Can you clarify that? How, exactly, is consciousness nonexistent?
>> By consciousness, I mean that which makes you different from a
>> philosophical zombie as described in <>
>> But by definition, a zombie is not distinguishable from you at all. I
>> really don't know how much more clear the logic could be.
>> The problem arises because all animals, including those that have no
>> concept of death, have evolved a fear of those things that can kill them.
>> Humans do have such a concept, which we associate with a lack of conscious
>> experience. So we all desperately want to preserve this thing that does not
>> exist. We can't help it. We are programmed that way.
>> One way to deal with this conflict is to argue that the zombie argument is
>> wrong and create ever more convoluted arguments to refute it. My preferred
>> approach is as follows:
>> 1. I believe that I have conscious experience. (I am programmed to).
>> 2. I know that conscious experience does not exist.. (Logic irrefutably
>> says so).
>> 3. I realize that 1 and 2 are inconsistent. I leave it at that.
>> -- Matt Mahoney, <>
>> I'm with Daniel Dennet on this: the P-zombie is (to paraphrase an earlier
>> poster) 2+2 = 5. Purely hypothetical, a character in a gendankenexperiment,
>> The Man Who Wasn't There. In practice, any creature with a human brain that
>> could say "Ouch, that hurt" has an internal process isomorphic to what we
>> experience as consciousness. Please see my post of a few hours ago on the
>> Edge talk. <>
>> Consciousness in the human brain is a global pattern of activation and we
>> now have methods of scanning and can say whether that pattern appears or
>> not. This scanning has been applied to comatose/vegetative patients. From
>> Dr. Dehaene's talk:
>> "Let me just give you a very basic idea about the test. We stimulate the
>> patient with five tones. The first four tones are identical, but the fifth
>> can be different. So you hear something like dit-dit-dit-dit-tat. When you
>> do this, a very banal observation, dating back 25 years, is that the brain
>> reacts to the different tone at the end. That reaction, which is called
>> mismatch negativity, is completely automatic. You get it even in coma, in
>> sleep, or when you do not attend to the stimulus. It's a non-conscious
>> response.
>> Following it, however, there is also, typically, a later brain response
>> called the P3. This is exactly the large-scale global response that we found
>> in our previous experiments, that must be specifically associated with
>> consciousness.
>> (snip)
>> The P3 response (a marker is absent in coma patients. It is also gone in
>> most vegetative state patients but it remains present in most minimally
>> conscious patients. It is always present in locked-in patients and in any
>> other conscious subject."
>> Consciousness, according to Dr. Dehaene's findings, is how the human brain
>> gets around certain limitations of being an analog computer. If you've read
>> Eliezer Yudkowsky's posts you'll know that his approach to AGI would not
>> necessarily call for the AGI to be conscious in the sense we understand. I
>> recall he said "I'm not looking for the AGI to be a new drinking buddy, at
>> least not at first" or words close to that. Paramount, to him, is that the
>> AGI be Friendly, and not damage us intentionally or otherwise. While the
>> human brain is a kind of analog computer, and much research is now afoot to
>> emulate it on digital computers, our minds are not exactly computer
>> programs. They are certainly not fungible programs running on a general
>> computing machine, but rather embedded in the structure. The mind is not
>> fungible unless the neural structure is made fungible, which may or may not
>> ever be possible.
>> To sum up, there's no real-world way a zombie could react as if conscious,
>> using human brain architecture, without being conscious. Unless you believe
>> in magic. And the subject of zombies, even if such could exist, probably
>> doesn't really apply to the problems of building an AGI.
>> Tom Buckner

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