• Unseen
    56
    Humans behave as evolutionary forces molded us, but being conscious of what we're doing, experiencing it, seems gratuitous.
  • christian2017
    274


    its hard to say. To me it seems like there needs to be a better explanation than just say pondering it is superflous.
  • Unseen
    56
    I'll go further. It IS gratuitous to have experiences. Our preconscious mind could function without the conscious one. In fact, it does so often. You do a long day of driving, mostly thinking of whatever's going on in your life as you do so. By the time you reach your destination, you got there making, really, very few decisions on a conscious level.
  • christian2017
    274


    I think the general idea is that preconscious and conscious is being viewed as one and the same on this particular forum topic. Ofcourse when you get into more detail you are right.
  • SteveKlinko
    372
    But consciousness is merely observational. The actual activity that means anything and/or results in anything like actions is pre-conscious and isn't conscious at all.Unseen

    Do you really think you would be able to move around in the World without bumping into things if you had no Conscious Visual Experience? The Visual Experience is a further processing stage that is essential to Sight.
  • SteveKlinko
    372
    Individual Cells might not have consciessness. Our desire to procreate is what makes us procreate. A robot is predestined to react how its maker/creator/builder built it IMO.christian2017

    Yes Robots have no Volitional input capability. You cannot create Volition with programs. Rather, we need to make special Volitional connections to Machines to enable Volition.
  • SteveKlinko
    372
    I'll go further. It IS gratuitous to have experiences. Our preconscious mind could function without the conscious one. In fact, it does so often. You do a long day of driving, mostly thinking of whatever's going on in your life as you do so. By the time you reach your destination, you got there making, really, very few decisions on a conscious level.Unseen

    Do you really think you are not using your Conscious Visual Experience when you are absentmindedly driving, or are you just not remembering all the driving decisions you made during the trip? Absentminded driving is more about Memory than about "at the moment" Visual Experience. You would not be able to drive absentmindedly or drive with full awareness without the Conscious Visual Experience. You would be Blind without the Conscious Visual Experience.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    Humans behave as evolutionary forces molded us, but being conscious of what we're doing, experiencing it, seems gratuitous.Unseen

    Just exactly WHY are humans (and higher animals as well) conscious at all? It seems totally unnecessary and seems to have no survival value, either.Unseen

    But is it really? How would you know without a detailed study of the role that conscious experiences play in our functioning now and in our evolutionary past? Such rhetorical questions are too glibly thrown around in philosophical discussions that are far removed from their proper scientific context. And it's not like scientists haven't taken a crack at answering them.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    Consciousness is helpless to do anything. All of our actual thinking (assessing, planning, reacting) goes on in the preconsciousness before we even become aware of it.Unseen

    If consciousness was "helpless to do anything", there would be nothing it could do. So it would, in effect, not exist. Since there is something there (that we label "consciousness"), I must label your comment as 'exaggeration'. :wink: As we learn more about the process by which we perceive things, we are coming to understand how sensory data are dealt with. In visual data, processing begins in the eye, and with the optic nerve, so that some processing has already taken place by the time the data reaches the brain itself. And then lots of stuff happens, in the rest-of-the-mind*, resulting in us perceiving something.

    * - We conventionally split the mind into conscious and unconscious. But without clarification, it might appear that the two are equal partners. Not so. The unconscious mind is that part of our minds which is not the conscious part, which is most of it. The conscious mind is a small, later, addition. So rather than refer to the 'unconscious mind', and make it sound like something equal in size and effect to the conscious mind, I say 'rest-of-the-mind' to convey what is actually meant.

    So you are quite right (AFAIK) to observe that much processing takes place outside of the conscious mind, but I think it's worth stipulating that all of that processing is distributed throughout the brain and its 'peripheral devices'. When the clever parts of our minds are done, the resulting information is passed to the conscious mind. By that time, as you say, much has already been done, outside of our awareness.
  • Unseen
    56
    Science doesn't even know what consciousness is or how it's produced, so science isn't much help. Meanwhile, we can see that AI is developing rapidly with no hint that intelligent devices have experiences of any sort, so it seems that consciousness isn't a function of intelligence.
  • Unseen
    56
    I move around in the world based on the information that the pre-conscious mind filters to send to the conscious mind. It's well-known that we don't notice everything in our visual field even though the imagery is striking the retina. For example, one danger for bicyclists making their lives more dangerous is that a person driving a car is primarily driving to avoid collisions with other cars and so don't always even notice bicyclists even though they are there in the driver's field of vision. I myself have had close calls with bicyclists while driving.
  • Unseen
    56
    It appears we could get by with what I'm calling the pre-conscious alone.
  • christian2017
    274


    not sure what that means. I'll have to scroll through all the posts to see what that means.
  • luckswallowsall
    16
    We're conscious beings because consciousness itself is fundamental to being itself.

    Mind and matter are one and the same thing.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    Science doesn't even know what consciousness is or how it's produced, so science isn't much help.Unseen

    That's another glib statement that doesn't help the discussion. Sure, science doesn't know everything there is to know about consciousness, but who does? I don't think laymen or philosophers are more privileged than cognitive scientists in this respect.

    Meanwhile you are asking a scientific question when you are wondering why consciousness evolved and what fitness advantages it might have offered. (Or rather you are not asking but already presuming to know the answer, without offering any reasons for it other than sheer incredulity.)

    Meanwhile, we can see that AI is developing rapidly with no hint that intelligent devices have experiences of any sort, so it seems that consciousness isn't a function of intelligence.Unseen

    Your conclusion doesn't follow. What we fancifully call "artificial intelligence" does not come anywhere close to emulating human intelligence, so why would you expect it to have comparable experiences? And how would you know whether an AI is having a subjective experience? Just because we create it doesn't mean we know all about it.
  • luckswallowsall
    16
    A better question is "Why is there physical matter?"

    Consciousness doesn't require an explanation because no knowledge is possible at all without it. We couldn't be here asking the question without it. There's no evidence of anything existing at all outside of subjective experience.

    What really requires an explanation is that assumption that physical matter exists apart from consciousness. Because there's zero evidence of that ... and there never can be any. In principle. Because evidence is empirical, empiricism is experience-based and experience is conscious.
  • SteveKlinko
    372
    I move around in the world based on the information that the pre-conscious mind filters to send to the conscious mind...Unseen

    So you are able to move around when there is a Conscious Visual Experience. You seem to be saying that the Pre-Conscious processing is not enough.
  • Unseen
    56
    Here's what I'm saying: First, the consciousness has no direct connection without the world. Some degree of processing goes on before your consciousness is aware of anything. This is what I call the pre-consciousness. It processes the data and decides what to do with it, including what to give you as conscious awareness.
  • Unseen
    56
    You don't think AI comes close to human intelligence? Twenty-two years ago IBM's Big Blue defeated chess champ Gary Kasparov.

    "A team of researchers from Yale University and Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute recently set off to determine the answer. During May and June of 2016, they polled hundreds of industry leaders and academics to get their predictions for when A.I. will hit certain milestones.

    "The findings, which the team published in a study last week: A.I. will be capable of performing any task as well or better than humans--otherwise known as high-level machine intelligence--by 2060 and will overtake all human jobs by 2136." Source: https://www.inc.com/kevin-j-ryan/elon-musk-and-350-experts-revealed-when-ai-will-overtake-humans.html
  • Unseen
    56
    I'm at a loss to understand how you arrived at that notion.

    I move around based on what the pre-consciousness deems to be worthy noticing and actin on. It also decides what to let me observe and feel.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    You don't think AI comes close to human intelligence?Unseen

    No. You don't even need to develop AI in order to have a computer that can solve certain problems as well as or better than people can - that's what calculating devices were developed for in the first place, starting with slide rules and mechanical adding machines and on to modern "non-intelligent" computer programs that do all sorts of calculations, data manipulations and decision-making orders of magnitude faster and better than people can. But none of them approach the complexity or the functionality of human intelligence.

    Most AIs aren't even intended to emulate the way people think; the goal instead, as with "non-intelligent" programs, is to solve specific problems by any means. And even with the most advanced research programs that do have the goal of eventually creating something approaching human intelligence, there is no agreement as to whether they are on the right path.
  • christian2017
    274

    I can't argue with that considering i'm not exactly a scientist.
  • SteveKlinko
    372
    I'm at a loss to understand how you arrived at that notion.

    I move around based on what the pre-consciousness deems to be worthy noticing and actin on. It also decides what to let me observe and feel.
    Unseen

    It has been known for a hundred years that Conscious Experience is related to Neural Activity. You think that the only thing you need is pre-conscious Neural Activity in order to See. I think it is obvious that you will not See anything with just Neural Activity. You will need the extra stage of the process which is the Conscious Visual Experience. The Conscious Visual Experience is simply another stage in the processing chain after the pre-conscious Neural Activity. The example I gave about Functional Blindness explains the situation.

    You don't just Observe the Conscious Visual Scene that you are Seeing. The Conscious Visual Scene is the thing that you actually use to move around in the World. You are Functionally Blind without the Conscious Visual Experience. It's an essential component in the Visual processing chain.

    With regard to the pre-conscious Neural Activity:
    It does not appear that the Visual Areas are processing the Light information with the goal of creating the integrated Conscious Light (CL) Scene that we experience. Rather the Brain seems to deconstruct the image with the goal of detecting elementary properties of the image like lines, edges, motion, and color. There do not seem to be any downstream Visual Areas that are involved with reconstructing the CL Scene that we experience from all the deconstructed properties that the Brain detects. The only place where there is a good undistorted image is on the Retina of the Eye. The other various stages of processing are highly warped and distorted maps of the retina. The highest stages don't really even map at all. The highest stages seem to be involved in image recognition and the lower stages seem to be for mechanical control of focus and eye convergence. But we find that there are artifacts from the downstream processing stages that become visible in our CL Scene. For example there are some edge enhancement and shading effects that are generated in V1 that can be experienced in the CL Scene. Also if there is a damaged area in V1 then an equivalent blacked out area will appear in the CL Scene. Similarly if there is damage to the Color areas then the Color experience will be impaired or completely missing. So it seems that whatever is creating the CL Scene must use and be in contact with all the processing stages at the same time. The actual CL Scene is a kind of overlay of all the areas. It seems that the data available at these processing stages are hints as to what the CL Scene should look like. This data must be the input to the Conscious Mind (CM). It seems that there is a lot of processing that has to take place to reintegrate all the Visual Area processing results into the seemingly perfect CL Scene that we experience. There is a Processing Gap. There does not seem to be any areas in the Brain that operate to perform this data reintegration. The Conscious Visual Experience of the Scene is however a reintegrated version of the Visual Area processing results. No one knows how the Brain does this reintegration to produce the Conscious Visual Scene Experience. This is called the Binding Problem of Conscious Experience. There simply are no Brain Areas identified that can do this. The Conscious Visual Experience contains massive amounts of Visual information all combined into that Conscious Visual Scene that we are so used to Seeing.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.9k
    Humans aren't the only conscious beings. Any animal with a central nervous system can be considered as having the potential for consciousness.

    The reason consciousness evolved is because consciousness allows learning, which allows the fine-tuning of one's behavioral responses to specific stimuli several times over ones life-time, whereas fine-tuning one's morphology to one's environment takes generations.

    Natural selection acts on both our bodies (our genes) and our minds (once central nervous systems evolved). Natural selection filters our behaviors through learning about the environment which enables us to respond to stimuli on the fly rather than responding over generations with the accumulation of new genetic codes over generations. Consciousness allows us to respond to more immediate changes in the environment, as opposed to the slower, geological changes. So basically, consciousness evolved to allow organisms to respond to environmental changes on much shorter time scales than evolving your morphology to respond to environmental changes that occur on much larger time scales.
  • Unseen
    56
    I don't respond to bedsheet posts. I think I said that early on in this discussion. If you have a real point to make, you can make it with brevity.
  • Unseen
    56
    It would seem that the learning is done in the brain, not the consciousness. The brain selectively passes along stuff to the consciousness. The conscious mind is just like a person in a movie theater.
  • Unseen
    56
    Still, if intelligence is the goal of "artificial INTELLIGENCE," many scientists believe AI will be smarter than humans in a few decades, if not sooner.

    But intelligence doesn't need consciousness. If I were to create a successful Turing machine, it's absurd to suppose that it's anything other than a successful simulation, not a being having experiences.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    It appears we could get by with what I'm calling the pre-conscious alone.Unseen

    Before the appearance of consciousness in humans (for it has not always been there), it seems we must have got by with what we had before. :up:
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    Consciousness doesn't require an explanation because no knowledge is possible at all without it.luckswallowsall

    Are you saying that no knowledge is possible without consciousness, or am I misreading your words?
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