• frank
    7.4k

    It sounds like this is a deal breaker for you.
  • Daemon
    217
    How do you think Tononi et al would respond to the evidence presented by Mark Solms' about his patients with no cortex?

    https://youtu.be/CmuYrnOVmfk
  • jgill
    1.3k
    Yet, Tononi’s original IIT concepts and predictions do appear to be bearing out in various neurological studies. In 2013, Adenauer Casali and colleagues completed a study that showed it was possible to use the IIT framework within an EEG paradigm for measuring consciousness in some patients.Gina Smith
  • magritte
    255
    and a bit more clarification from there,
    Phi is based on the number and quality of interconnections a given entity has between bits of information. The resulting number — the Phi score — corresponds directly to how conscious it is.
    The more connections, the more conscious an entity is, a factor quantifies as PHI
    Consciousness, in this model, doesn’t rely on a network of information. It is the network. As such, it doesn’t discriminate based on whether the subject is organic or electronic.
    Put simply, high PHI measure means more consciousness — more sentience — no matter who or what you are.
    Gina Smith
  • Daemon
    217


    An electronic device is only an "entity" insofar as it is defined as such by ourselves.
    We also define which elements of the device are to count as the relevant "information".

    The electricity flowing around my laptop now came from a power station 10 miles away, it passes through various other electronic devices before it gets here, and it passes through elements of the laptop that we don't include when considering the information content of the "system", such as the cooling fan motor.

    This theory is not a serious scientific proposal.
  • magritte
    255
    This theory is not a serious scientific proposal.Daemon

    But scientific proposals do seek relevant information as pertaining to some possibly useful measurable aspect of the natural world, or us as individuals, or the environment that we create.
    To follow your analogy, electric meters measure not what we did with the used electricity but the total usage over a month.

    I'm not sure what IIT proposes. Mathematically, is it the model for an experience/consciousness meter which reads single transient experience or average consciousness PHI, or perhaps both?

    Of course, the two are not the same. I can be equally conscious and still experience or miss seeing a passing hawk in the sky. In either case, would PHI tell us anything about my experience or my consciousness?

    Perhaps an anesthesiologist could use PHI to gauge consciousness in addition to heart and respiration rates for surgery?

    From the point of view of philosophy, let's suppose that the Chinese Room is on the international isolation ward with many adjoining rooms all instrumented with the latest Totoni meters on the door and computer technology for remote communication. Could the Totoni PHI improve on the failure of the classic thought experiment? Could I or my Totoni computer differentiate a conscious person from an AI? Would it matter?
  • RogueAI
    620
    Thus is a fascinating sentence:


    "Note that these postulates are inferences that go from phenomenology to physics, not the other way around. This is because the existence of one’s consciousness and its other essential properties is certain, whereas the existence and properties of the physical world are conjectures, though very good ones, made from within our own consciousness."

    It's Descartes 2.0.
    [bolding mine]

    Physicalism is teetering like a house of cards. Consciousness is primary. The physical world has been relegated to a conjecture (though a very good one). Soon, the parenthetical "though a very good one" will be gone. And then the conjecture of the physical world itself. Positing the existence of mind-independent stuff solves nothing and creates enormous problems.
  • RogueAI
    620
    "We can identify it in an abstract sense, but not in a practical sense, as we can with a manmade machine.

    We have "brainoids" now, grown from adult human skin cells. But unless they are connected to sense organs, and yes, things like feet, they can't do what real brains do. There isn't anything for them to be conscious of."

    If all your sense organs stopped working, you would still be conscious.
  • RogueAI
    620
    I've read somewhere that they accept that a thermostat is conscious. A thermostat but not the whole brain? And the whole body is involved in consciousness!

    What's the hypothesis and how would it be tested?

    Why is it ok to consider their hypothesis as it is, when it seems to be fatally flawed from the outset?
    Daemon

    Indeed...
  • RogueAI
    620
    How would you measure how much PHI a computer has? Does the number of transistors matter? Or how they're arranged? Or both?
  • Daemon
    217
    If all your sense organs stopped working, you would still be conscious.RogueAI

    I'm not sure how you could know that. But in any case you are starting from a position where I previously had working sense organs. But suppose I had never had them: I don't think I'd ever have been conscious. And consider this from an evolutionary perspective: consciousness would never have developed at all without sensing, sense organs.
  • Daemon
    217
    Perhaps an anesthesiologist could use PHI to gauge consciousness in addition to heart and respiration rates for surgery?magritte

    Nope. Tononi and Koch think computers and thermostats and photodiodes are conscious. Anaesthetists know better.
  • frank
    7.4k
    Physicalism is teetering like a house of cards. Consciousness is primary. The physical world has been relegated to a conjecture (though a very good one). Soon, the parenthetical "though a very good one" will be gone. And then the conjecture of the physical world itself. Positing the existence of mind-independent stuff solves nothing and creates enormous problems.RogueAI

    If this theory is taken seriously, it's because we're not in the clunk-headed behaviorist 20th Century anymore. We're still pretty physicalist, though. We're just in the process of stretching the meaning of that word. Again.

    How would you measure how much PHI a computer has? Does the number of transistors matter? Or how they're arranged? Or both?RogueAI

    I was hoping to go through the whole theory step by step. I've just been busy. I'll get back to it shortly.
  • RogueAI
    620
    Daemon
    I'm not sure how you could know that.

    For one, if I sit in a darkened silent room that's neither hot nor cold, I'm not any less conscious, which should be the case if my consciousness depends on sensory input. Also, I can imagine whatever sensory input might go missing. If they all go missing, it might eventually drive me mad, but I don't see why I would go unconscious. Even without sensory input, I would be conscious of my own internal mental states.

    But in any case you are starting from a position where I previously had working sense organs. But suppose I had never had them: I don't think I'd ever have been conscious. And consider this from an evolutionary perspective: consciousness would never have developed at all without sensing, sense organs.

    Good point. Sensory input might be necessary at the start.
  • RogueAI
    620
    OK, but I think you're just pushing the Hard Problem to a different level: why does integrating information lead to conscious experience? How does that work exactly? And, in the case of simulated consciousness, which I think IIT endorses, there's the (very familiar) questions of why a particular series of switching operations should give rise to consciousness, and how that works, exactly. But I think IIT is a step in the right direction. At least people are thinking in non-material terms.
  • RogueAI
    620
    This was one of the top comments in a consciousness debate that I was just watching:

    "Am I just in some weird internet bubble, or are tons of atheists (like myself) realizing that consciousness is a serious problem for materialism and becoming anti-materialists?

    And if so, why is the Hard Problem suddenly (as in the last ten years or so) dawning on lots of secular rationalists?

    Also, just as actually reading the Bible is often a great way to notice that religion is incoherent and ridiculous, reading Dennett’s _Consciousness Explained” is what finally made me realize that materialist explanations for consciousness are all incoherent. And ridiculous."


    That could have been me talking! For a lot of my life, I was hardcore atheist materialist and that was the paradigm when I was in college in 95. I only bring up this Youtuber nobody because I was talking about physicalism teetering, and I happened to run across their comment.
  • Daemon
    217
    The word "simulated" needs to be used with care. Simulating consciousness and giving rise to consciousness are two very different things. You can simulate weather on a PC, but that's not going to give rise to wind and rain.
  • frank
    7.4k
    , but I think you're just pushing the Hard Problem to a different level: why does integrating information lead to conscious experience?RogueAI

    It doesn't lead to it per IIT. Integrateted information is consciousness.

    But if you have a second, a thing I've been doing is thinking about the axiom-postulate matches:

    So we have:
    Intrinsicness --- internal causation
    Composition ---. structure

    I just discovered scholarpedua is gone. Crap. Ok, for the overview, I'll use Wikipedia.
  • Daemon
    217
    Wow, I only just discovered Scholarpedia thanks to you Frank. Has it gone for good??
  • RogueAI
    620
    It doesn't lead to it per IIT. Integrateted information is consciousness.frank

    Every instance of information integration is an instance of consciousness?
  • magritte
    255
    Thanks to Wayback Machine, the Totoni article is still available when searching there for www.scholarpedia.org/article/Integrated_information_theory and then for the Mar 29 2021 copy
  • frank
    7.4k
    Every instance of information integration is an instance of consciousness?RogueAI

    Good question. Did you see what I said earlier about axioms and postulates?
  • Daemon
    217
    From Scholarpedia via Wayback Machine, (thanks @magritte!):
    While there may well be a practical threshold for Φmax below which people do not report feeling much, this does not mean that consciousness has reached its absolute zero. Indeed, according to IIT, circuits as simple as a single photodiode constituted of a sensor and a memory element can have a minimum of experience (Oizumi, Albantakis et al. 2014).

    but also:

    For example, it may soon be possible to program a digital computer to behave in a manner identical to that of a human being for all extrinsic intents and purposes. However, from the intrinsic perspective the physical substrate carrying out the simulation in the computer—made of transistors switching on and off at a time scale of picoseconds—would not form a large complex of high Φmax, but break down into many mini-complexes of low Φmax each existing at the time scale of picoseconds. This is because in a digital computer there is no way to group physical transistors to constitute macro-elements with the same cause-effect power as neurons, and to connect them together such that they would specify the same intrinsically irreducible conceptual structure as the relevant neurons in our brain. Hence the brain is conscious and the computer is not - it would have zero Φ and be a perfect zombie. [25] This would hold even for a digital computer that were to simulate in every detail the working of every neuron of a human brain, such that what happens to the virtual neurons (the sequence of firing patterns and ultimately the behaviors they produce) is the same as what happens to the real neurons. On the other hand, a neuromorphic computer made of silicon could in principle be built to realize neuron-like macro-elements that would exist intrinsically and specify conceptual structures similar to ours.

    A photodiode has experience, but a PC doesn't, unless it is "neuromorphic", whatever that means, and it is "made of silicon".

    @Frank: you started this, do you think there's really anything in it?
  • RogueAI
    620
    Good question. Did you see what I said earlier about axioms and postulates?frank

    I skimmed over it, but this will be real quick. Are you claiming consciousness=integrated information? Because if so, then integrated information=consciousness, hence my question. Or do you mean there's a causal relationship between consciousness and integrating information?
  • Pop
    782
    To all.

    There lies the dilemma, what integrates the information?
  • frank
    7.4k
    Why would integration have to be all or nothing? How about degrees of it and a threshold for consciousness?
  • frank
    7.4k
    The next axiom/postulate pair is about information. Recall, by saying that consciousness is characterized by information, we mean it's specific. If you have an experience with a book, it's with the book and not a cat.

    Tononi puts it this way:

    The system must specify a cause-effect structure that is the particular way it is: a specific set of specific cause-effect repertoires—thereby differing from other possible ones (differentiation). A cause-effect repertoire characterizes in full the cause-effect power of a mechanism within a system by making explicit all its cause-effect properties. It can be determined by perturbing the system in all possible ways to assess how a mechanism in its present state makes a difference to the probability of the past and future states of the system. Together, the cause-effect repertoires specified by each composition of elements within a system specify a cause-effect structure. Consider for example, within the system ABC in Figure 3, the mechanism implemented by element C, an XOR gate with two inputs (A and B) and two outputs (the OR gate A and the AND gate B). If C is OFF, its cause repertoire specifies that, at the previous time step, A and B must have been either in the state OFF,OFF or in the state ON,ON, rather than in the other two possible states (OFF,ON; ON,OFF); and its effect repertoire specifies that at the next time step B will have to be OFF, rather than ON. Its cause-effect repertoire is specific: it would be different if the state of C were different (ON), or if C were a different mechanism (say, an AND gate). Similar considerations apply to every other mechanism of the system, implemented by different compositions of elements. Thus, the cause-effect repertoire specifies the full cause-effect power of a mechanism in a particular state, and the cause-effect structure specifies the full cause-effect power of all the mechanisms composed by a system of elements.[8] " --Tononi article mentioned above


    So we have distinct and exhaustive cause-effect repertoires.
  • Pop
    782
    So we have distinct and exhaustive cause-effect repertoires.frank

    We may have cause effect repertoires. I wouldn't say they are exhaustive, as a moment of consciousness is a final synthesis of cause effect repertoires. What synthesizes it?

    Put simply, If consciousness is the state of integrated information, what is the higher function integrating it?
  • frank
    7.4k
    Put simply, If consciousness is the state of integrated information, what is the higher function integrating it?Pop

    Evolutionary biology might be the answer. Why would we need to answer that definitively at this point?
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