Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

TagConsciousness

Businessman and his conscience

Consciousness: Three New Books, Same Dilemma, Still Fascinating

Consciousness studies are getting markedly crazier, if we go by the traditional standards of science

Rigorous naturalism, taken seriously, brought us to this place where illusion calls to illusion about things that can, by definition, have no meaning. There is no other place naturalism can bring us to.

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Is Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity Now Nearer — or Impossible?

In response to Kurzweil’s talk at the COSM Technology Summit, panelists noted that AI achievements are revolutionary in size but limited by their nature in scope

George Montañez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, took issue with Kurzweil’s claim that AlphaGoZero needed no instructions to beat humans at the game of Go: “For a system like this to work, a human must define the incentive structure, also encoding the assumptions.” The sheer power of a computing system does not cause it to do anything at all.

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Bingecast: John Lennox on the Promise and Threat of AI

Natural and artificial intelligence can be discussed from a number of viewpoints, including philosophically, technically and theologically. Robert J. Marks and Dr. John Lennox address AI from all of these points of view today on Mind Matters. Show Notes 01:10 | Introducing Dr. John Lennox 03:33 | Bacon and Erdős numbers 05:38 | Should we fear artificial intelligence? 06:10 | Read More ›

Profile of a young man with mental activity

Consciousness Is Two Hard Problems, Not One

Psychology prof Gregg Henriques argues, consciousness “plays by a different set of rules than the language game of science”

The James Madison U prof argues, “I believe the differences between the language games or domains of science/behavior and of soul/spirit and morality/ethics are crucial for us to keep in mind as we hunt for a more consilient scientific humanistic philosophy that can guide humanity in the 21st century.”

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Dolphin portrait while looking at you with open mouth

What Do Animal Studies Tell Us About Human Minds?

They show that human experience is unique

Many people assume that human consciousness arose accidentally many eons ago from animal consciousness and that therefore we can find glimmers of the same sort of consciousness in the minds of animals. But that approach isn’t producing the expected results.

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Humanoid Robot Call Center Question
Humanoid robot in a call center with questions in the front of the monitor. 3d illustration.

Can We Engineer Consciousness in a Robot?

One neuroscientist thinks we need only “simple guidelines.” His underlying assumptions are just wrong

Graziano's approach is not new. Ancient philosophers thought the mind was fire (not too long after the discovery of fire). Early modern philosophers thought the mind was a machine (just as the machine age got started). Now suddenly it's a computer… 

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Chaotic particles with random size. Twisted massive of particles with glow.
Abstract background 3d render. Chaotic particles with random size. Twisted massive of particles with glow.

No Materialist Theory of Consciousness Is Plausible

All such theories either deny the very thing they are trying to explain, result in absurd scenarios, or end up requiring an immaterial intervention

Consciousness is the biggest problem for materialism. How is it possible that a bunch of particles that are devoid of consciousness get together and cause consciousness?

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super brain

Are Lab-Grown Human Brains the Next Big Thing?

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor thinks the hopes for humanly conscious lab-grown brains are faint indeed

“Neural tissue grown in a lab cannot have intentionality unless it has sense organs,” Egnor says, “But such manufactured intentionality can only be about concrete things, not abstract things.”

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Person on road with light looking at the stars

Review: The Why, Not the How, of the Origin of Consciousness

Ventureyra’s new book treats the origin of consciousness as a “first instantiation of a new law of nature”

Many “how” explanations can seem pretty off-topic. Imagine a situation where a book club is discussing the works of Stephen King where one commenter keeps on bringing up the fact that all of King's writing was done on a Mac.

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Brain under water 3D render, subconscious mental life and brainstorm idea.

Prominent Psychologist Offers Non-Reductive Approach to Consciousness in Journal Article

A new edition of Communications of the Blyth Institute highlights mind, consciousness, and machine learning

Rakover presents an initial sketch of a methodology that allows a better conceptualization of the method by which mental states get moved in and out of consciousness. The edition also features a review of Scott D. G. Ventureyra’s On the Origin of Consciousness.

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John Lennox

John Lennox on AI: Downloading the Mind

Reducing the Mind to Bits

The topic of Natural and Artificial Intelligence can be discussed from a number of viewpoints, including philosophically, technically and theologically. Our guest today, Dr. John Lennox, can address AI from all of these points of view. We’ll explore his multi-spectral perspective today on Mind Matters. Show Notes 01:00 | Introduction; Dr. John Lennox 01:50 | Downloading Immortality 03:44 | Non-algorithmic Read More ›

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A pile of photographic memories with a pancake photo

How Can Consciousness Be a Material Thing?

Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness
In analytical philosopher Galen Strawson’s opinion, our childhood memories of pancakes on Saturday, for example, are—and must be—"wholly physical." Read More ›
Digital computer brain 3D render floating in right profile view with numerical information background illustrating the concepts of Big Data and artificial intelligence

Consciousness Studies Is a “Bizarre” Field of Science

The question of whether machines can be conscious is bound up with attempts to study immaterial things while denying their existence
The person who is trying to build consciousness into a machine has only a human model so he is trying to build a little human into the machine. He cannot do so but he can try to make himself and others believe that he has done it. Read More ›
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Tom Stoppard’s New Play Tackles Consciousness Itself

Consciousness is a hard problem for science, principally because no one quite understands what makes us the subjects of our experiences.
According to one critic, the problem that has preoccupied Stoppard throughout his career is “Are the materialists right, or is there more to man than mere flesh?” Read More ›
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Noted Astronomer Envisions Cyborgs on Mars

Sir Martin Rees thinks of this “post-human evolution” as going beyond Darwin to “secular intelligent design.”
AI apocalypse is certainly in the air. Elon Musk, Henry Kissinger, and the late Stephen Hawking have all predicted an AI doomsday. Industry professionals’ doubt and disparagement don’t seem to register with the media in the same way. Read More ›
Personal communication

Brain hacks

Do we understand the brain better if we see it as a computer?
Seeing the brain as a computer doesn’t tell us as much as we might think. When human beings build computers, we design them in a way that we can understand and use. So we think our brains must be like that too. Sure enough, in the vast complexity of our brains, we can surely find some elements that remind us of a computer. Others won’t.   Read More ›
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Does your brain construct your conscious reality? Part II

In a word, no. Your brain doesn't "think"; YOU think, using your brain
The brain understands nothing, imagines nothing, sees nothing. It wills nothing. We understand, we imagine, we see, and we will, using our brains. Read More ›
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Does your brain construct your conscious reality? Part I

A reply to computational neuroscientist Anil Seth's recent TED talk
His talk is a breathtaking compendium of fallacies on the mind and the brain. We can learn a lot from him—by understanding the errors into which he falls and the way out of those errors. Read More ›