What are Conscious Sensations?

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Another article from Sue Pockett which warns of dystopian developments if scientists don't stop researching this topic altogether.

What are Conscious Sensations?

Quote:Existing theories about the nature of conscious sensations are discussed. The oldest classification system contrasts dualist theories (which say consciousness is an abstract entity) with monist theories (which say consciousness is a concrete entity). A more recent system contrasts process theories ("consciousness is a process, not a thing") with vehicle theories (consciousness is a property of one or more of the things associated with brain processes). The present paper first points out that processes are abstracta, which makes process theories dualist. It then argues that (a) dualist theories are untestable and therefore unscientific and (b) process theories which invoke information are at odds with the normal definition of information. Then two separate kinds of vehicle theory are discussed: first the neural identity theory and then a theory that pulls together the enormous volume of data generated by Crick's suggestion to forget about theories and simply measure the neural correlates of consciousness into a proposal equating sensory consciousness with certain patterns in the electromagnetic fields generated by brain function. The paper concludes with an injunction to stop researching this topic altogether, on the grounds that the results are likely to be used in unacceptably dystopian developments.

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7740150
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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(2023-12-13, 06:55 PM)Max_B Wrote: Another article from Sue Pockett which warns of dystopian developments if scientists don't stop researching this topic altogether.

What are Conscious Sensations?


https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7740150
Quote: The present paper first points out that processes are abstracta, which makes process theories dualist.

A description or concept of "process" is abstract, yes.  However, the game here ignores that process outcomes are not.  They are measurement outcomes, not different then a tape measure or stop watch.  Process models showing input, data processing and output are not just "in mind" they are in situ order and organization.  Information science has a lot of background on subjects like entropy and algorithms used to add functional changes to engineered output.

A process model is a process model whether it is computer simulation of a hydrogen ion or a logic gate.  A logic gate is not outside reality, it is part of how nature "works".
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This idea that scientists would just stop researching seems quite bizarre.

If anything this needs to be brought out into the public if the potential threat is so large, otherwise we will simply be under the control of those who develop a means of weaponization & control in secret.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-12-14, 07:29 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: If anything this needs to be brought out into the public if the potential threat is so large, otherwise we will simply be under the control of those who develop a means of weaponization & control in secret.

That's the most visceral element of this thing that's been top of mind for me.  If humans have demonstrated anything, any ONE thing, its self-interest (often to a fault).  The idea that any of these commercial AI developers should 'own' this seemingly hyper-powerful capability that's emerging feels nonsensical.  EVERYONE will need to own it, yet how will ANY of us every be able to trust that we have the BEST version?
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(2023-12-14, 07:57 PM)Silence Wrote: That's the most visceral element of this thing that's been top of mind for me.  If humans have demonstrated anything, any ONE thing, its self-interest (often to a fault).  The idea that any of these commercial AI developers should 'own' this seemingly hyper-powerful capability that's emerging feels nonsensical.  EVERYONE will need to own it, yet how will ANY of us every be able to trust that we have the BEST version?

I do agree with you, though just so we are on the same page Pockett's concern seems to be either  a direct form of mind control:

Quote:On the other hand, it may also be time to drop it completely–leave it alone and walk away. If Oppenheimer and colleagues had JUST STOPPED as soon as they realized the consequences of their invention of the atom bomb, the world would not now be living with the ever-present possibility of nuclear annihilation. Once any particular genieis out of its bottle, it can't be stuffed back in.

If  the  neuroscientists  of  the  present  day  fail  to  JUST  STOP investigating  the  electromagnetic  basis  of  consciousness,  we  could easily wind up living in a world where one can never be sure whether one's  thoughts  and  emotions  at  any  given  moment  are  generated internally, or imposed from that damn radio transmitter on the nearest lamp  post.  "Active  denial"  systems  are  already  used  as  a  crude  andugly  method  of  crowd  control.  Further  investigation  of  CEMF  could result in a society so dystopian as to make George Orwell's novels look like love songs.

Of course AI would be part of such control attempts, though probably best not to make this another AI thread.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-12-15, 05:04 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 3 times in total.)
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Electromagnetic field theories of consciousness it seems to me have two fatal flaws. 

First, there is the lack of any physical evidence in abnormal behavior, headaches, dizziness, or other disruptive mental effects elicited in and correlated with the every day exposure of people to high and low frequency EM fields just in the process of living in our civilization. Our brains are regularly suffused by strong fields all the time, from radio and TV transmitters, accidentally from radar transmitters, and at very high power and lower frequencies by certain types of scanning devices like MRI and PET machines, and just by the taking of X ray images. To say nothing of pervasive lower level microwave and higher frequency exposure from cellphones habitually held near the head. 

If consciousness were an electromagnetic field phenomenon, during the development of our modern electronic technology there would have been a massive increase in insanity and other abnormal mental effects due to massive interference from these new and ubiquitous apparati in our society. 

The second flaw is just the obvious "Hard Problem", there is no way electromagnetic fields and their activities, (which are physical modalities of physical EM energy) could be one and the same as immaterial consciousness - they are fundamentally, existentially, different in all their properties and parameters.

There is also another significant flaw, from the field of parapsychology: experimentation has shown that telepathy, for instance, is not subject to the inverse square law of electromagnetic propagation, and is unaffected by the complete EM shielding afforded by a person surrounded by a Faraday cage.

All these negative factors have to be ignored in order to give EM field theories of consciousness any credence.

So it seems to me we don't need to worry about the bad guys developing and implementing mass population mind control techniques via EM field devices.
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-15, 05:29 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 4 times in total.)
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(2023-12-15, 05:14 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Electromagnetic field theories of consciousness it seems to me have two fatal flaws. 

[1] First, there is the lack of any physical evidence in abnormal behavior, headaches, dizziness, or other disruptive mental effects elicited in and correlated with the every day exposure of people to high and low frequency EM fields just in the process of living in our civilization. Our brains are regularly suffused by strong fields all the time, from radio and TV transmitters, accidentally from radar transmitters, and at very high power and lower frequencies by certain types of scanning devices like MRI and PET machines, and just by the taking of X ray images. To say nothing of pervasive lower level microwave and higher frequency exposure from cellphones habitually held near the head. 

[2] If consciousness were an electromagnetic field phenomenon, during the development of our modern electronic technology there would have been a massive increase in insanity and other abnormal mental effects due to massive interference from these new and ubiquitous apparati in our society. 

[3] The second flaw is just the obvious "Hard Problem", there is no way electromagnetic fields and their activities, (which are physical modalities of physical EM energy) could be one and the same as immaterial consciousness - they are fundamentally, existentially, different in all their properties and parameters.

[4]There is also another significant flaw, from the field of parapsychology: experimentation has shown that telepathy, for instance, is not subject to the inverse square law of electromagnetic propagation, and is unaffected by the complete EM shielding afforded by a person surrounded by a Faraday cage.

All these negative factors have to be ignored in order to give EM field theories of consciousness any credence.

[5] So it seems to me we don't need to worry about the bad guys developing and implementing mass population mind control techniques via EM field devices.

I agree that electromagnetic theories of consciousness currently fail to explain our observations. However it's not quite as bleak a picture as you've painted...

[1] There are two components to what is understood as the electromagnetic field, the electric component, and the magnetic component. It's trivial to block the electric component, but very difficult to block the magnetic component. Where we block the latter, together with light, we find robust behavioural effects in rodents at zero magnetic field strengths. Generally we don't control for magnetic fields in behavioural experiments.

[3] experience (consciousness), must be connected to our experience of electromagnetic phenomenon, else we wouldn't experience it.

[4] Faraday cages don't block what we understand as the magnetic component of the electromagnetic field, neither do they block static or slowly varying electromagnetic fields.

[5] directly/indirectly our behaviour nowadays is massively controlled via our understanding of electromagnetic fields. Photons are thought to bounce off surfaces, or are absorbed and emitted, or are emitted from electronic screens into our eyes. Electrical energy is used to jiggle the air to transmit sound energy to our ears. Optically effected proteins can be inserted into rodents brains which can switch rodents behaviour on-and-off using optical emitters.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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(2023-12-15, 06:14 PM)Max_B Wrote: I agree that electromagnetic theories of consciousness currently fail to explain our observations. However it's not quite as bleak a picture as you've painted...

[1] There are two components to what is understood as the electromagnetic field, the electric component, and the magnetic component. It's trivial to block the electric component, but very difficult to block the magnetic component. Where we block the latter, together with light, we find robust behavioural effects in rodents at zero magnetic field strengths. Generally we don't control for magnetic fields in behavioural experiments.

[3] experience (consciousness), must be connected to our experience of electromagnetic phenomenon, else we wouldn't experience it.

[4] Faraday cages don't block what we understand as the magnetic component of the electromagnetic field, neither do they block static or slowly varying electromagnetic fields.

[5] directly/indirectly our behaviour nowadays is massively controlled via our understanding of electromagnetic fields. Photons are thought to bounce off surfaces, or are absorbed and emitted, or are emitted from electronic screens into our eyes. Electrical energy is used to jiggle the air to transmit sound energy to our ears. Optically effected proteins can be inserted into rodents brains which can switch rodents behaviour on-and-off using optical emitters.

(1) Above: This conflicts with the obvious absence of the massive evidence to be expected that was outlined in my previous post.

(3) Please explain. On the face of it, this is an argument by simple reassertion. I suppose it might be trivially true in that our basic physical interaction with objects in our environment is ultimately electromagnetic in nature since electrostatic repulsion at the atomic level is responsible for physical pressure between contacting surfaces, as for example the impenetrability of two rocks pressed together. A second trivial truth would be the fact that the neurological system responsible for our consciousness while in body, is basically partly electromagnetic in nature in that nerve conduction and the activities of nerves and their component neurons is at least partially dependent on electromagnet phenomena. 

The key point is that none of this proves that consciousness itself is an electromagnetic phenomenon. In fact, as outlined in my previous post, the Hard Problem of Consciousness shows that assertion to be fundamentally and existentially invalid.
 
(4) Good point.

(5) My answer to (3).

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