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Alan Kadin: on 3/17/17 at 3:12am UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Tolkin, Thank you reading my essay, and for your comments. You...

Ben Tolkin: on 3/17/17 at 1:41am UTC, wrote This felt more like a long setup than an essay; it's all accurate, but...

Alan Kadin: on 3/14/17 at 1:53am UTC, wrote Dear Georgina, Thank you for your careful reading of my essay, and for...

Georgina Woodward: on 3/13/17 at 1:36am UTC, wrote Hi Alan, you have said a great many sensible things. I thought it a well...

Alan Kadin: on 3/12/17 at 13:09pm UTC, wrote Dear Willy, Thank you for your comments. I will read your essay. With...

Alan Kadin: on 3/12/17 at 13:08pm UTC, wrote Dear Hector, I agree that time is a primary parameter in physics, biology,...

Willy K: on 3/12/17 at 5:41am UTC, wrote Wonderful essay. Loved the suggestion towards the end of the essay on using...

Héctor Gianni: on 3/11/17 at 23:40pm UTC, wrote Dear Alan M. Kadin I invite you and every physicist to read my work...


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FQXi FORUM
March 23, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: No Ghost in the Machine by Alan M. Kadin [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 4.9; Public = 6.4


Author Alan M. Kadin wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 20:13 GMT
Essay Abstract

The prevalent pre-scientific paradigm for understanding nature focused on design or intention, even for inanimate objects. This approach was debunked by Newton for physics, and by Darwin for biology. But belief in the unique supernatural nature of human intelligence is still widespread. I argue that biological intelligence is due to simple evolved structures based on neural networks, without the need for any new physical mechanisms (quantum or classical) or a “ghost in the machine”. Humans see agency and intent everywhere, because we are programmed to do so. The conscious mind may turn out to be a virtual reality simulation that is largely illusory. Furthermore, these structures may be emulated in artificial neural networks, to create true artificial intelligence.

Author Bio

Alan M. Kadin is a physicist and engineer with a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard on superconducting devices. Following a career in both academia and industry, Dr. Kadin is now an independent technical consultant. One of his current projects is exploring the future of computing as part of the IEEE Rebooting Computing Initiative. He has been submitting essays to FQXi since 2012. For further information, see his LinkedIn page.

Download Essay PDF File




Eckard Blumschein wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 07:18 GMT
If there will be another FQXi context and I may contribute again, then I will perhaps quote you again because I consider your courageous reasoning important.

Please feel confirmed and further motivated by Wudu's cry for help.

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:24 GMT
Dear Dr. Blumschein,

Thank you for your encouraging comment. Of course what is courageous to some may be foolish to others.

Alan Kadin




Branko L Zivlak wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 08:12 GMT
DearMr. Kadin

You're right. But, what is the ultimate reason for the ‘noise’ and the lack of determinism.

Best regards,

Branko Zivlak

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:25 GMT
Dear Mr. Zivlak,

In any complex system with very many degrees of freedom, it is impossible in practice to control all of the degrees of freedom, or even to know them accurately. That constitutes ‘noise’. Predictions in such systems are always based on simplified models, which inevitably leads to uncertainty.

Alan Kadin




Member George F. R. Ellis wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 08:21 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin

very nice essay, taking the macro viewpoint seriously.

>> The stated question in this essay contest, “How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?,” implicitly assumes that human behavior should be ultimately derivable from particle physics. This is entirely wrong, on several levels.

Correct! The higher levels also have their own causal powers. This is possible because of the interplay of bottom-up and top-down effects between the various levels.

>> The paradigm of natural selection is central not only to biology, but to psychology as well. Neural networks are capable of learning and adaptation to complex environments, and the conscious mind represents a simplified dynamic model of the environment. Goals and intentions are abstract representations of adaptive programs that can promote individual well-being and success.

Yes indeed. Again this depends on the neural nets realising their logic via lower level elements, whether neurons and synapses or logic gates based in transistors

Regards

George Ellis

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:27 GMT
Dear Prof. Ellis,

Thank you for your supportive comments. I am taking this argument a bit further, and suggesting a mechanism for constructing consciousness in biological or electronic systems. This is somewhat speculative, but may be testable and should encourage further discussion.

Alan Kadin




Andrew R. Scott wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 12:14 GMT
One of the few sensible essays; but I struggle with your talk of the "illusion of consciousness" because I know that I am conscious, using my definition of consciousness. Maybe I need to re-read, but in what sense could my experience of consciousness be an illusion? Rather than consciousness as such, do you mean my sense of control and of freewill? I perfectly understand that these may be an illusion.

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:28 GMT
Dear Mr. Scott,

Thank you for your comments. I assure you that I also feel that I am conscious, with a unified mind. However, I am suggesting that this very sense of self is largely an illusion, disguising the complex interactions among many different brain circuits that give rise to the self. Consciousness is the tip of an iceberg, and you cannot understand the dynamics of an iceberg just by focusing on the tip above the water.

Alan Kadin




sridattadev kancharla wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 14:06 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin,

It's difficult to confirm which is fundamental, consciousness or matter, which is emerging from which, however it's obvious that they are intertwined. So instead of debating which is first we should acknowledge the importance of both. They are like software and hardware of a computing system. The system is meaning less with either. I welcome you to read there are no goals as such its all play, in which i propose that we humans are capable of interpreting our reality from with in a 3-sphere and that consciousness is the 2-sphere manifold (Riemann sphere) with in that model. We can also created artificial consciousness based on the article representation of Qdits on Riemann sphere for quantum computing. We can abstract all objective and subjective phenomenon that we see and experience using mathematical geometry and transfer that to an artificial being. If the objective part is the machine, then we may call the subjective part the ghost. So there "can" be a ghost in the machine if we say so. It's a mere perspective or expression of choice. Also please see the attached document with several diagrams that i have made from my exploration of human condition.

Love,

i

attachments: 1_zero__i__infinity.docx

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sridattadev kancharla replied on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 14:10 GMT
Correction - The computing system is meaning less with out either one of software or hardware.

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:30 GMT
Dear Mr. Kancharla,

If you read my essay, you will see that I argue that consciousness represents a specific brain structure, rather than any independent entity or aspect. I am afraid that I cannot make much sense out of your document “zero=i=infinity”.

Alan Kadin




Mark Pharoah wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 20:42 GMT
Perhaps Alan, we can rephrase the question for you: why is it that the illusion of intentionality exists? Is nature really in the business of creating illusions for illusions sake? If you see a tree, you might say, "it's an illusion; just as my consciousness is an illusion" etc, but why would nature bother with the fallacy of your existential self?

Another way of looking at it is as follows:

Physics may explain that an atom of a type X will behave as all atoms of type X behave; likewise that a system of type Y will behave as all systems of type Y behave; and therefore that an organism of type human will behave as all organisms of type humans behave, as in, they all read and write, all play and fight etc. Thus, the processes of one human to another are identical in their physical nature. But here in lies a problem surely. If you are conscious of your 'self', but all such system-types as yourself are indistinguishable in the manner of the physics, why is your 'self' not all such systems or none? What physical principle or law, can be applied to all selves that have existed in the history of the universe (and will exist in the future) that will account for the uniqueness that you can identify as 'your particular self'? Are you sure there is no ghost?

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:31 GMT
Dear Mr. Pharaoh,

As I address in the essay, the illusion of intentionality exists because it is enables rapid decisions in complex dynamic environments, and is thus highly adaptive. The sense of a unified ‘self’ is also an illusion. These are not merely opinions; they are consistent with experimental observations in modern cognitive science.

Alan Kadin



Mark Pharoah replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 21:38 GMT
You say, "the illusion of intentionality exists because it is enables rapid decisions in complex dynamic environments,"

"it enables"? I take it that "it" refers not to the illusion or to intentionality in your sentence, but to the complex processes (otherwise it would be nonsense i.e., to say of an illusion that it enables something to happen...). And on this assumption (the assumption that "it" refers to complex processes), the illusion of intentionality has no function on your account... it is a kind of by-product of complex processes. Conversely, were it to have a function, then, it would have an effect which would be to say it is not immaterial to the process and thereby not illusory. If it has no function, then why does nature bother to have the illusion exist (it would have no survival benefit)? I get the sense of the logic going round in circles. Can you square it for me please?

You also suggest that your stance is not an opinion but fact, courtesy of cognitive science... Really?!

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Kigen William Ekeson wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 21:39 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin,

Thanks for your interesting essay. I can't say that I agree with your position, but I enjoyed reading the piece. One point that I will comment on was the following;

"Furthermore, we tend to see ourselves as free agents, but we actually have much less control than we think we do. Control is just another illusion."

I would argue that one of the defining characteristics of any animate entity is control. It is only by maintaining a certain relationship between inner and outer conditions that that ability to control is maintained, and ultimately expanded (via evolution). So, how can control be an illusion? If you meant to write "conscious control", well that's a bit different. However, I would argue that it seems pretty clear that, in general, self-control increases as the complexity of an organism increases. Do you really think that people aren't getting together to decide to build things like the LHC, or to send a probe to Mars, or sell some shares of stock? It seems clear that although our conscious control as human being most certainly is supervenient upon a vast array of unconscious expressions of control, and an even larger array of uncontrolled inanimate causes, that our conscious experience cannot be labeled as an illusion.

Yours,

William Ekeson

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:32 GMT
Dear Mr. Ekeson,

Thank you for your interest. My key point is that the sense of an independent unified self seems real and self-evident, but this sense is highly misleading. This perceived self is an adaptive structure, which hides its origins. Only by looking beneath the obvious can we truly understand the nature of the structure.

Alan Kadin




Stefan Weckbach wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 02:49 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin,

it seems to me that you identify the source of all meaning as irreducible randomness. Mathematically, this would be no problem, since if one waits long enough, every possible event will occur. Nonetheless i ponder about the nature of randomness, if it plays such a crucial role in nature. Surely, its essence is due to the fact, that its subsequent events do - per definition...

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:35 GMT
Dear Dr. Weckbach,

You seem to have misunderstood the key point of my essay. Specifically, the direction of evolution or learning derives from the environment. Randomness assures that all local variations are explored, but only those that are adaptive to the environment are maintained.

You ask how illusions reveal profound truths, while I have proposed that illusions actually hide profound truths. We need to look behind the curtain to find out what is really going on.

Alan Kadin



Stefan Weckbach replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 18:36 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin,

if what you have analysed is a profound truth, then the illusions you spoke of not only hide profound truths, but they also can reveal them. Therefore illusion seems to me the wrong term for a mind that is able to look behind the curtain. Indeed, there is no contradiction between a physical brain, hiding some irrelevant things according to Darwinian evolution and a brain...

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Ajay Pokhrel wrote on Mar. 4, 2017 @ 13:18 GMT
Hello, Mr. Kadin,

Your essay is the first essay that I have started in FQXI for discussion as the topic is very interesting and I, pretty much enjoyed the most part of the essay.

Your way of defining illusion is very different from others. The part that I liked very much was when you mentioned " So biological design, too, is an illusion, which is explainable in terms of blind adaptation to complex environments " and "Control is just another illusion."

Also check out my essay "Our Numerical Universe" showing how, by knowing numbers and mathematical patterns of universe, we could reach aims and intentions.

Best Regards,

Ajay

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 5, 2017 @ 03:36 GMT
Dear Ajay,

Thank you for your interest. I will read your essay.

Alan Kadin



Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 16:57 GMT
Dear Dr. Alan M. Kadin,



Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 02:36 GMT
Dear Mr. Fisher,

I am afraid that I cannot understand your sentence about infinite surface, infinite dimension, and infinite light, even after reviewing your essay.

Alan Kadin




Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 07:04 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin,

We have, in past essays, agreed in general but differed in the details. For example, the wave aspect of fundamental particles reflects internal rotating vector fields while the external motion follows classical particle trajectories. Entanglement is rejected.

Similarly, we do not believe mind and consciousness to be related to quantum effects on the atomic level. [Or...

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 02:39 GMT
Dear Dr. Klingman,

Thank you for reading my essay, and for your comments. I agree that classical AI was overhyped decades ago, but recent AI approaches based on “deep learning” are finally starting to achieve breakthroughs. Further, I anticipate that current research programs in brain science and brain-inspired computing will converge in identifying a computational architecture to account for both biological and artificial consciousness, in the foreseeable future.

Alan Kadin




Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 07:56 GMT
Nice essay Kadin,

Your arguments are excellent I just quoted some of them below….

1. I argue that biological intelligence is due to simple evolved structures based on neural networks, without the need for any new physical mechanisms (quantum or classical) or a “ghost in the machine”. Humans see agency and intent everywhere, because we are programmed to do so. The conscious...

view entire post


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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 02:41 GMT
Dear Mr. Gupta,

Thank you for reading my essay, and I will take a look at your essay on the Dynamic Universe Model.

Alan Kadin




Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 15:00 GMT
Alan,

Quite brilliant! I'm in stunned admiration of ability to far better and more clearly express almost all the many concepts in my own essay, plus others. I've also argued that 'agency' is a misnoma in the strings but you put the case far better. I can't list all agreement but picked out the following;

"..most of human behavior is subconscious and irrational." "..a similar...

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 02:42 GMT
Dear Peter,

I’m glad you enjoyed my essay, and I hope more people will read it.

I look forward to reading your essay and watching the accompanying video.

Alan




David Brown wrote on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 08:34 GMT
"My view is that that the subjective experience of consciousness reflects the brain activity associated not with the entire brain, but only that small portion that is projected into this self-conscious virtual reality construct." My guess is that the preceding statement represents an important insight. What is the evolutionary role of consciousness? It might be a mechanism for coordinating and triggering the various brain areas needed for decision-making and short-term learning — good decision-making and short-term learning would be that which promotes survival and reproduction — "good" would mean that which nature selects.

"The field of "artificial intelligence" is almost as old as computers themselves, but it has long fallen far short of its goals. The traditional method of artificial intelligence is to devise a list of rules about a particular topic, and program them into a conventional computer. But knowledge of a fixed set of rigid rules in not what we generally mean by intelligence." The preceding is another important insight, in my estimation. The "rule-based approach" to AI seems to me to be a fundamentally misguided "control freak" approach to AI. Heuristic algorithms and logic programming might work for about 5% of AI problems, but deep learning and robotics-based open-ended feeding of deep learning might be needed for 95% of AI problems. The problem would be that if the human brain becomes obsolete, human beings might find out that Darwinian evolution is brutal, wasteful, relentless, and inevitable. See how people treat mice and rats in laboratories and ask yourself if you want the human brain to become obsolete.

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 02:44 GMT
Dear Mr. Brown,

Thank you for your careful reading of my essay. I think I have identified some of the important questions, but I don’t have all the answers. The conscious mind seems to filter the enormous amount of data present in senses and memories, selecting out only the data that is most relevant for careful integration into a simplified model. Too much data can be overwhelming or even crippling. Our new always-on internet-based society is showing that all too clearly.

Alan Kadin




James Arnold wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 17:29 GMT
Alan,

Fascinating! We are diametrically opposed on the issue of consciousness and intention. I am rating you highly, as you express the reductionist abstraction from the irreducible in elegant and classic fashion. But your explanations are unable to explain your own creativity, which is wonderfully ironic.

Please allow me to quote one aspect of consciousness that is inexplicable in...

view entire post


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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 02:58 GMT
Dear Prof. Arnold,

I realize that my essay may be a bit provocative, but I believe it is presents a clear argument for the materialist viewpoint, and provides a basis for further discussion. The FQXi essay contest offers a unique opportunity for people with disparate viewpoints to have such discussions.

Thank you for reading my essay. I look forward to reading your essay and the article that you identified.

Alan Kadin




Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 23:40 GMT
Dear Alan M. Kadin

I invite you and every physicist to read my work “TIME ORIGIN,DEFINITION AND EMPIRICAL MEANING FOR PHYSICISTS, Héctor Daniel Gianni ,I’m not a physicist.

How people interested in “Time” could feel about related things to the subject.

1) Intellectuals interested in Time issues usually have a nice and creative wander for the unknown.

2) They usually enjoy this wander of their searches around it.

3) For millenniums this wander has been shared by a lot of creative people around the world.

4) What if suddenly, something considered quasi impossible to be found or discovered such as “Time” definition and experimental meaning confronts them?

5) Their reaction would be like, something unbelievable,… a kind of disappointment, probably interpreted as a loss of wander…..

6) ….worst than that, if we say that what was found or discovered wasn’t a viable theory, but a proved fact.

7) Then it would become offensive to be part of the millenary problem solution, instead of being a reason for happiness and satisfaction.

8) The reader approach to the news would be paradoxically adverse.

9) Instead, I think it should be a nice welcome to discovery, to be received with opened arms and considered to be read with full attention.

11)Time “existence” is exclusive as a “measuring system”, its physical existence can’t be proved by science, as the “time system” is. Experimentally “time” is “movement”, we can prove that, showing that with clocks we measure “constant and uniform” movement and not “the so called Time”.

12)The original “time manuscript” has 23 pages, my manuscript in this contest has only 9 pages.

I share this brief with people interested in “time” and with physicists who have been in sore need of this issue for the last 50 or 60 years.

Héctor

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 13:08 GMT
Dear Hector,

I agree that time is a primary parameter in physics, biology, and psychology. I will read your essay more carefully.

My own view, mentioned in my essay in the End Notes, is that on the microscopic level, time is defined by quantum waves. The characteristic time for an electron is h/mc^2 = 8e-21 s, the period of a quantum oscillation.

Alan Kadin




Willy K wrote on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 05:41 GMT
Wonderful essay. Loved the suggestion towards the end of the essay on using dreams as a measure of consciousness. I agree that Turing test is not good enough, principally because it requires reference to humans. My own suggestion on separating intelligent systems is the result of the model I have built in my essay. It is premised on the Constitutional nation state being the next level of emergence after the level of the individual.

I agree with you that most animals could have some form of consciousness, but I would argue that even if that were so, they would not be classified as being intelligent. You appear to be hopeful that AI systems will appear in the next few decades. I am not sure where I stand with regard to intrinsic AI systems, but I am negative on extrinsic AI systems. The difference between the two is that the former will be self-contained (like an individual) while the latter will be more like a government.

Regards. Willy

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 13:09 GMT
Dear Willy,

Thank you for your comments. I will read your essay.

With regard to AI, my preference would be for a small local “digital assistant” under one’s control, rather than a mysterious oracle in the cloud.

Alan Kadin




Georgina Woodward wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 01:36 GMT
Hi Alan, you have said a great many sensible things. I thought it a well written, very accessible essay.

A few quibbles...

You wrote in regard to evolution; "There is no underlying goal or intent, apart from survival." A. Kardin 2017. I think that not even survival is a prior goal but survival is the outcome of a functional structure able to avoid its elimination. Tommaso Bolognesi has written in his essay about the linguistic use of 'goal' when it is actually an external viewpoint post occurrence of outcome.

You wrote: "The primary feature that distinguishes biological systems from physical systems is exponential reproduction, based on the digital code of DNA." A. Kardin 2017. I don't know why you have called it digital. It is a chemical code and the structure of those chemicals are necessary for the function of protein building and mRNa building. The letters of the base pairs are not just like numbers but associated with material structure. I can't readily see a definition of digital that would fit.

Re. your: "In particular, only a guided design can produce a radical redesign in a single step. In contrast, the unguided design of natural selection can only make minor modifications per generation, each of which must be adaptive." A. Kardin 2017. Not all genes are equal in the effect they have on structure or function. Also some are control genes that have effects on many other genes. So a small change can have a large effect. Also there can be epigenetic effects altering gene expression of many genes. Not all selection is adaptive. A characteristic can be harmful but so long as the carrier is able to survive and reproduce rather than not it can be passed on in the gene pool.

Kind regards Georgina

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 01:53 GMT
Dear Georgina,

Thank you for your careful reading of my essay, and for your comments.

I agree with you that my explanation of evolution and adaptation were a bit simplified, but I was trying to emphasize the power of adaptation to a physics audience that has mostly overlooked it. Adaptation is mathematical, but the mathematics are not the closed-form differential equations that physicists are used to.

My other key point is that almost everything we think we know about the human mind from our subjective perceptions is illusory. That is why progress in understanding consciousness and intelligence have been so difficult. Even our attempts at emulating intelligence using computers have been misdirected. But ongoing research in cognitive science, brain science, and computer science may lead to a dramatic change in the not-too-distant future. I might even be around to witness it (and I’m 64).

Best Wishes,

Alan Kadin




Ben Tolkin wrote on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 01:41 GMT
This felt more like a long setup than an essay; it's all accurate, but there's so much further to go! The idea that our conscious perception of our aims is mainly a post-facto rationalization isn't that controversial, and I'd be more interested in *why* this property exists. What is it about conscious, simplified models of the world that allows for better decision-making in complex environments? Why, if both the world and our minds are mostly chaotic and difficult to perceive, is it adaptive for organisms to set up conscious aims at all? This implies a certain level of order above the chaotic interactions of particles that only emerges at particular scale, and allows for reasonable interpretations of the terms "aims and intentions" beyond the idea of "conscious goals."

To be fair, after reading through the other essays, there are apparently plenty of people in the world who still believe in Cartesian dualism to the point of mysticism, but the scientific community is pretty well over it. I just thought this essay focused to much on interpreting the topic as "spiritual" vs. materialist consciousness, which isn't the only way to approach it, and spent a lot of time reiterating a solid but very old set of arguments.

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Author Alan M. Kadin replied on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 03:12 GMT
Dear Mr. Tolkin,

Thank you reading my essay, and for your comments.

You assert that the illusion of consciousness is widely accepted, but unfortunately, that is not the case, even among scientists. The essay was written primarily for those who are open-minded but still unclear.

My other key point is that evolutionary adaptation is a powerful general paradigm, and is indeed mathematical, even if the mathematics are not the closed-form differential equations that physicists are used to.

As to why consciousness is adaptive, that is probably the easier question. In a world of predators and competition, rapid decisions and actions are adaptive; hesitation is not. Simple models also lend themselves to social cooperation, which is adaptive, in contrast to solitary introspection. We believe ourselves to be rational free agents, but that is another illusion. These illusions are themselves adaptive, which is why they are so persistent.

Finally, only by seeing through the illusions will we be able to emulate natural intelligence and design truly intelligent machines.

I will read your essay. Good Luck in the competition.

Alan Kadin




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