Transhumanism and Consciousness

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by ElectricFetus, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I was reading some of Alex Jones's counter to Transhumanism (Here) His counter argument is that the human mind can't be uploaded because we have a soul that can't be uploaded or copied, any copy of you on a machine will be non-conscious, but he really hits the great philosophical antagonism with transhumanism on the nail here:

    "This discussion of consciousness is the part that drives the transhumanists bonkers because to be a member of their cult, you have to believe that there is no such thing as consciousness… or a soul… or free will. You have to believe that consciousness is an artifact of the brain itself – a kind of “ghost in the machine,” if you will, that somehow gives rise to the self-delusion of awareness.

    This means you have to believe free will is an illusion and that if you copy the brain and paste it somewhere else, then somehow magically that other thing becomes “you.”"

    This is fundemental true, to beleive that one can be uploaded we have to beleive that our consciousness is nothing more then an emergent property of our physical material analog spiking neural network (brains), a "delusion" as Jones puts it.

    Time and technological progress will likely tell us if this is true or not, for if we do upload humans and that these uploads act and behave and think they are the people they were copied from, this will mean a soul is superfluous, for those of jones's thinking it would mean that consciousness, self-awareness and free-will ARE a delusion. Or worse can be simulated such that it is impossible to prove simulated consciousness is not the real thing, leading to horrifying solipsism, for those of Jones's conspiracy mindset their would be no proving that they have not already been placed in the matrix and everyone and everything around them is mearly a simulation... the matrix server I assume is run by big brother.

    On the other hand if we create uploaded humans and they don't behave and think they are who they a copied from, then we have have indirectly proven the soul exists, a win-win in my book, for both ways we would be potentially immortal as a matter of proven fact. Either way unanswerable philisophical quesions about what is consciouness, self-awareness, free-will will become answerable!

    Do you disagree that transhumanism will finally test the great introspective questions and answer them once and for all?
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  3. cornel Registered Senior Member

    That's just superstition, any EXACT copy of the soul should be, well, an exact copy

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    Problem with consciousness(or "awareness") is that one of us got, wrote about it, AND NOW WE THINK WE ALL HAVE IT.
    Realy, consciousness has been copied, distributed, redistributed, and assimilated into many of our belief-systems.

    If (if) such thing would happen, we would still not have proven anything about the soul.
    Because, and this is important, before you can prove the "soul" exists you must first(and very carefully) define it.
    (and now you seem to be taking consciousness into the account of soul, something that many others, including me, won't do)

    Finding a strange result and calling it "soul" is something that we will surely do in the future, we've done similar things in the past:we've named many planets after old gods(Pluto Mars, some more) as well,
    but that's no proof those gods realy existed, just the namegiving onto something.
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In the context of a copy's uploaded information being maintained by a robot or computer simulation, there's the unlikelihood of all the microphysical properties and quirky chemical interactions / effects of the biological substrate being simulated. Only the minimal and most necessary functional structure would be replicated, resulting in a virtual mind that would imperfectly parallel what the original person would decide and do under the same circumstances (if s/he had lived).

    That's not what it means, is not an umbrella for everything the term concerns. He might as well assert that if he could bomb the Paracel Islands, he would be taking out Asia. Attacking "mind uploading" isn't in itself an attack on transhumanism; the former is as much a part of futurology. MU is an idea that stands on it own rather than being dependent upon specific cultural movements and ideologies, or outright treating it as being one of them.

    Well, he's at least got that right (but the emphasis elsewhere, on that revolving around a soul, is superfluous). The immediate body of a person named "Drew Smith" is not some type or general information template floating around in an archetypal domain which a particular Drew Smith would merely be one physical instantiation of. Since s/he is not an eternal blueprint, it matters to a specific DS that s/he remains alive, DS "feels" like s/he can't be replaced by a copy even if family and friends would not notice the difference and feel a loss.

    If the original brain is still alive and walking via its body, then that's also the original, intermittently disrupted conscious continuum of Drew Smith. If DS were killed either immediately or months after the replication was produced, DS would no more be aware of living the copy's life afterwards than a surviving identical twin would be a continuation of its dead sibling. The addition / difference of having an identical brain makes no difference [except, again, to outside observers]. Though the replication of Drew Smith will feel like it is the one that had existed beforehand for years, an examination of the environmental circumstances and records pertaining to both would reveal to it otherwise.
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  7. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Human consciousness is a function of humans having two centers of consciousness, each of which will process the data in different ways. As an analogy, picture a small child, learning the power of the word "no". His mothers says eat the food, and the little child says no. She then says, drink the drink and he says, "no". The secondary POV of the child, inferred by "no" is what make the child appear conscious. It sets a contrast to the POV of the mother thereby making it appear to stand apart. If the child simply obeyed the command to eat, he appears like a programmed robot with little in the way of unique choice. One can program that with a computer.

    The way human brain does this, is we have the inner self which is the natural genetic center of the brain. This is what a animals and the natural human have, which allows them to react via instinct using high speed subliminal data. Humans also have a secondary center or our conscious mind and ego, which, via willpower, allows us to choose the unnatural or a cultural program over instinct. The conscious mind can say 'No" to the natural impulse and thereby differentiate itself internally as conscious. I think therefore I am.

    For example, body language is natural. If one was lying, but not a professional liar like a politician, the words of the ego and the language of the inner self via body language may not appear the same. One has to use will power to cover up the inner self body language output by forcing the body to better correspond to the words that are being lied. Professional gamblers looks for tells of inner self output to see the truth. The ego needs to over up the tell so the natural becomes fake, to fake the other guy out.

    If you were to save the memory of the brain, you can't just move the conscious mind's data. It would be like the power of the word "no" , but with mother not asking the child to do anything. Now it looks like something is wrong with the child, just repeating a word in a loop. Consciousness only appears when the no, is in reaction to an alternate POV.

    If we tried to move the inner self data, one would find this data is in 3-D instead of logical 2-D. The 3-D is what gives the ego that feeling of integration due to the periodic merge that also occurs between the two POV.
  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Continuing the analysis, 3-D thought is different from 2-D thought. The basis for 2-D thought is cause (x) and effect (y). Spatial or 3-D thought has an extra dimension or z-axis, which can be interpreted as effect (z), cause (x) and effect (y) or cause (x) and effect (y) , cause (z). As an example of effect, cause and effect, consider the gut feeling (effect) from which an awareness is created, but before one has the time to infer external cause and effect.

    For example, one can sense the used car salesman is not telling the truth, but you haven't yet figured out where in his conversation he is drifting. There is no tangible proof yet, in tangible cause and effect, but one nevertheless senses something is wrong due to the gut feeling or effect. The unconscious mind has processed the data and is giving an unconscious hint (effect). One is on guard looking for a tangible cause and effect for the conscious mind. Both centers are acting on the same page.

    Magic tricks work the opposite way; (cause and effect, cause). They use cause and effect to trigger the unconscious mind's 3-D memory. The trick sets up a cause and effect apparatus based on tangible science and engineering. The output will trick the unconscious mind to interpret the sensory data as a cause, that induces an unconscious effect such as a gut feeling this output is fine. The conscious mind then tries to reason this unconscious acceptance, in cause and effect, making the levitation appear kosher. Maybe perpetual motion is possible?

    The 3-D data is more than the above. The above was presented only to show how the unconscious interfaces consciousness in a cooperative way. In the case of the magic trick, the conscious mind needs to separate to see the right picture. Picture the 3-D memory of the right brain and unconscious mind as a ball. We can approximate this 3-D ball with 2-D, by using a large number of 2-D planes, with a common center, with each at different angles. In practical terms, we all have our own opinions about things. Each opinion is one of the 2-D planes (based on logic) with the sum of all our various opinions, defined by a 3-D integrating concept; 3-D memory ball. We sense this 3-D ball intuitively, since it is very fast and dense memory cluster, making it appear like a vibration. Picture a 1 minute movie clip played in 1 second. It is a squeaky blur. We sense out own conviction, because our unique plane overlaps the 3-D ball and the two centers fire together since there is some agreement.

    Next, say we start with this 3-D ball, of all our opinions on a common center. I hit this 3-D ball with a tennis racket. The 3-D ball will distort causing all the distinct 2-D planes to distort and move out of their plane. This is where the extra z-dimension appears. If we ignore the gut feeling we can remain flat. But if we take it into account another plane induced by the distortion, this will add data from other opinions.

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  9. Amine Registered Member

    Determinism is pretty much a fact at this point. Even compatibilists, the most popular interpretation of the debate, simply redefine free will to mean having the ability to do as one wishes, rather than being coerced by someone or something (which, imo, is not at all what is truly meant by free will, and thus they are just determinists).

    The soul is fairly well disproven also. Humans are biological machines, plain and simple. If one were to make a human body from scratch and give it a nice jolt from an AED, it would spring to life. Thinking there is a "soul" means that you think there is something supernatural going on that is somehow connected with the body, which is basically no better than believing in a God that can't be proven. Consciousness is a tricky question we have not figured out yet. It is possible that it is a facet of all matter. The truth about the body is that there is no distinct boundary to it; it has no definite beginning and ending.

    Jones is a conservative and he thinks conservative thoughts. This question is, to those not emotionally invested in it, no different from the question of whether the Earth is the center of the universe or monkeys are our grandfathers. Humans think there is something special about them that puts them at the most important place in the universe.

    Uploading is hardly the most essential thing about transhumanism anyway. If we only ever got to advanced nanotechnology, an absurdly conservative prediction, there would still be immortality, absolute abundance, and the complete ability to redefine the human body 1 part at a time.
  10. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    Three points:

    Digital Versus Analog(ue)

    Firstly if it's possible to upload a facsimile of a human mind (a soul), the uploaded version will be a "digital" reconstruction. The problem with digital in this instance is that it's a "Lossy" format, which would round to whatever the limitation is in value from the Analogue version that it's taken from. (In essence even if you lose only a small piece of yourself from such transition, that piece itself is the piece that represents entropy... That's the piece that defines you as being alive rather than just a predetermined, reproducible automaton.)


    Secondly is continuity. Taking a copy is just that a "Copy", for you to transcend requires both yourself and the system that "records" to function together as one system similar to how parallel processing functions. This means potentially taking higher brain functions and processing them inside a symbiont computer system and then parsing them back to your brain. It should be possible to increase or decrease the amount of external processing in relationship to actual brain functions. It would have to be a symbiotic build that followed you through out your whole life in that manner, so that when that one eventual day occurs that your biological build can no longer be sustained, you just move your processes over the system that's been ghosting you.


    Thirdly Ownership. As a human being you have the right to make your own decisions, as a digital reconstruction however you'll be left to exist on a system that you didn't necessarily design or build yourself, and obviously can't run after your dead. This could allow conscious beings in such a system to become enslaved on a system that they have signed a contract for (signing over a soul perhaps?) and being on such system could develop a whole number of consequences. For instance if you continue to exist in a virtual world that mirrors our own physics and you invent something new, the company that owns your soul could recreate that technology in the world that supports the system you exist in, it means they could make money from you in a world you don't physically exist.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  11. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member


    Not really. The brain is entirely digital. Each neuron takes thousands of inputs where each can be providing a pulse or not, i.e. digital inputs (ones or zeros). At some threshold the neuron will have built sufficient electrical potential based on its inputs that it will itself fire a pulse through its connecting synapse. On average human neurons fire at about 300Hz. However, the billions of neurons firing their digital pulses independently give the appearance of continual electrical flow. The brain actually operates at fairly low resolution for most of its functions. For example the movie industry depends on that. A movie is actually a series of separate image frames being displayed at around 30 frames per second example - we simply cannot process that data fast enough to see each frame and the result appears like smooth continuous action. And most of the brain activity deals with filling in the blanks. That's why with such a relatively small finite size the brain can remember incidents, faces, places, things said, etc for many decades. The actual details are super low resolution and at recall time the brain fills in the blanks for you. Although when you try to recall actual details you'll find you will fail quite miserably unless the image is extremely recent, even then it will hard.

    While you suggest Lossy is an issue it is instead a major feature of how the brain operates, in fact we actually absorb only a fraction of the information we need to make decisions or form images. What our brain does extremely well is fill in the many blanks. This is why we actually have very poor memories and why computers are currently having a really hard time with visual recognition systems. For example we are good at recognizing partial images and then able to reconstruct the full image, for example looking at a group of people where a person at the rear is mainly hidden - if we know them and we only get to see a small part of them then we are able to reconstruct a full image. The current state of artificial recognition systems are pretty bad at doing that right now. They still need high resolution and massive processing power. We can do it because 200 billion neurons at 300Hz is actually massive processing power, like around 60Thz and massively parallel, but we work well with low resolution data.

    So really digital computing technology should have little trouble duplicating human brain function with its huge lossy characteristics. What we can't do yet is fit that massive processing power in a small space and run with only 40 watts of power. So while uploads will occur and will work fine, the first ones will not be in an android form for a while. More like a room size system with water cooling and lots of power usage. But realistically I'd expect the first uploads will not have their own systems but will time share larger systems and live in a virtual matrix like environment until smaller sized brain sized processor modules can be manufactured. Even then I'd expect they would be mounted in a large android style chest cavity, with the abdomen being used as battery storage (lowest center of gravity for the weight). The head cavity with be for sensors only.

    But the real issue in all of this is our ability to reverse engineer consciousness. That emergent property of neural complexity that we are currently finding extremely difficult to define and grasp, let alone replicate in a non bio substrate. Not sure we are remotely close yet. Pity.
  12. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    To be honest I tend to think Analogue as a Fractal occurrence of Digital being subdivided by itself ad-infinitum. So it could be claimed everything is digital, however the problem is where people draw the Bekenstein Bound that defines a universes (not just simulations) limitation. We'd never get to a point where we'd be processing a universe to be simulated at less than 1:1 ratio, the reasoning is simple, for every logic gate that's used it's comprised of materials (molecules) which are comprised of yet even more information. A CPU could never be built that could literally fully simulate (emulate) itself within itself. (This usually leads to the argument that a universe couldn't be simulated within a universe without having loss in data.)

    You will notice that I am referring to universes, not just a human brain upload, after all what good would the 'software' to a brain be without a body and a world to interact in?

    As for energy consumption and processing power, we usually look at micro technologies, making things smaller and more efficient, but what we don't consider is there is potentially another way. Imagine if the whole worlds internet was put at the disposal of simulating just a 1cm[sup]3[/sup] volume in size, I mean to details lower than physicists have currently reached in their models. That's multiple systems in a cloud array capable of creating redundancy schema's to stop data loss and translating information across many duplicate mirrors to lattice the volume as being "true definition" (in essence the 1cm[sup]3[/sup] would be natively "Multiworlds" which is important to the *if*).

    *If* it was possible to duplicate the universe through a paradoxical act (In short a kind of super-symmetry method to aid in identifying placement of volumes in relationship to each other), it would be possible to transpose infinite number of those 1cm[sup]3[/sup] volumes to equate to being a whole universe (as long as replication of the process was maintained to be true).

    In essence it's a method to use larger than life methods to create a form of simulated nanotechnology (a Microcosm) that is far more efficient than current versions in the sense that the very fabric that creates the reality can be altered at that level rather than requiring larger cumbersome constructs to do it. Don't get me wrong the amount of energy consumption and processing power would be a multiple of however many "universes" were used, but it would all equate to that 1cm[sup]3[/sup] volume. (every wanted to know what a 1cm[sup]3[/sup] volume of vacuum space contained so much energy?... well now you do!)

    [incidentally this is no where a completely rendition, unfortunately its cumbersome to describe, I would of loved to write a paper on it but unfortunately I find it very difficult to organise things.]
  13. Uncle Pythagoras Banned Banned

    Computers are missing the physics to complete the soul.. wormholes. With wormholes, and computers you have a self propagating material. A human is a self propagating material. Then you are missing evolution. Most of the human body is using a program that has already been written. When we write a computer program we appear to be cheating, but we do not want to wait for evolution to occur in the computer. We want to see results now. But just like infinite monkeys, the computer program can write itself. In fact the infinite monkeys approach is probably how it will be done in the end.
  14. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    I do not know about uploading yourself to a computer but you can program a computer which is the same thing: you are telling the computer what to do...YOU are doing it...or you could just use your brain.

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  15. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Quantum theory has largely put to bed the idea of complete determinism. I do think that eventually we will be able to copy and reproduce minds, but not anytime soon. Ian M. Banks has written about this extensively in his "Culture" series of sci-fi. In this world, minds can be backed up and restored later if their owner dies, copies can be made, have their own experiences, and then be re-integrated with the original. Minds can be stored in virtual reality without any practical time limits. Minds can be sent to virtual hells to be tortured. And of course, minds can exist as artificial intelligence in a form that far exceed the original design. I don't think there is any essential barrier to this happening.

    Also, I would like to add that Alex Jones is an idiot. I don't know why anyone would pay him any attention.
  16. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member


    Hmm, I think you are introducing unnecessary complexities to the issue. Artifical (man made) Consciousness is entirely an issue of reverse engineering. The time frame is hard to predict. We largely have the processing power now, and having more will enable us to experiment with inneficient models for some time. I suspect the solution may be too complex for any single person to grasp and may need some levels of intermediate AI to assist and complete the analysis stages. Once we have the mechanism decoded then fabrication into a non-bio format should be relatively simple. Decades away for sure, but not centuries.
  17. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    I would still attest that complexity is completely necessary. One of the main things about the nature of science and the consensus in general is that we don't have all the answers at any given time, we might strive to answer a few questions but we are left with avenue's of exploration and that is the nature of our universe. If our consciousness was just reproduced as a finite, closed vector of it's former self, then we could never attest to be any more than what level we were "captured" at.
  18. kmguru Staff Member

    I have checked with people who know about soul....they said that Lord Shiva's Space Ship (they called it Vimana) had a soul from the artificial intelligence (Organic Computer) even though the space ship was old than new ones. My question was if the space ship gets destroyed what happens to the soul? The answer was that the soul can go to the spirit universe as the energy and come back to a similar level humanoid person if wanted....interesting...It is similar to dogs who move to the spirit world ...but the level of intelligence has to be compatible for a society whose humans are high up....thanks....

    You can not test about soul unless you have the gift and wait for the computer soul moves up and then check it out....or ask the computer to connect the Soul Universe. Our Pope Francis has a good connection to the Spirit /Soul Universe...
  19. george80 Registered Member

    Transhumanism is an issue that concern us. I came across a site with some brilliant articles. I suggest you check this site "www dot andrewcharalambous dot co dot uk", its stuff is very fascinating. I write it with letters because the system does not accept links yet.
  20. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    A quick peak at that sight doesn't suggest any real connection with anything Transhumanist, if anything it appears to be someone with their own warped concept of religion and morality making the website just like any other.
  21. Andrus Registered Member

    Is there a chemical or physical model of how consciousness works?

    How can we that "A" (consciousness) makes "B" (uploading/copying) impossible if we can't prove that "A" exists.
  22. cornel Registered Senior Member

    I don't think there is, but when/if one is created, it 'll be arbitrary anyway, when making threads like this i usually recommend defining what OP means with certain terms first.

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