Author Topic: Free will, consciousness, and Stuff(TM)  (Read 1923 times)

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Offline aeTIos

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Free will, consciousness, and Stuff(TM)
« on: November 04, 2014, 04:49:56 pm »
Spoiler For LONG:
[20:30:24]< harold   > ok here's an idea, what if the entire state of your brain was stored in memory and there was a program that you simulate the passing of time on it at a chemical level
[20:30:35]< DJ Omnimaga   > also
[20:30:43]< DJ Omnimaga   > got new keyboard with macro key
[20:31:05]< DJ Omnimaga   > but by default, the macro key nex to shift had F5 assigned to it
[20:31:25]< DJ Omnimaga   > so try typing a long post without replacing the key first O.O
[20:31:37]< harold   > would that computation be conscious? would it be you? what if you ran copies of it?
[20:32:41]< harold   > would it's mere existence be you, even without simulating it?
[20:33:00]< harold   > would its platonic existence also be you?
[20:33:23]< ben_g   > I guess you can only find out stuff like that by trying it
[20:33:40]< ben_g   > which is impossible with our curent technology.
[20:34:14]< DJ Omnimaga   > I want a TI-73 Plus Pocket.Fr SE Titanium. It's a Casio FX-9860G renamed
[20:34:51]< harold   > mostly because it would take a giant pile of data storage, speed of course wouldn't really matter
[20:35:28]< harold   > simulated at 1/1E100th of real-time, it would still "feel time passing at the normal rate" - if of course it can be said to feel at all
[20:36:36]< ben_g   > Well, if the simulation woul be slow, it would just feel as if reality was fast forwarded
[20:37:14]< harold   > if you give it reality as input sure
[20:37:25]< ben_g   > but I don't think only simulating the brain would really be fully you, as there's also a lot of hormonal stuff going on in your body
[20:38:45]< aeTIos   > would it matter if you were a simulation? would you be aware of it? Would it make you any less yourself?
[20:38:56]< aeTIos   > I think not
[20:39:22]< LDStudios   > woo
[20:39:28]< LDStudios   > only 3 more levels i have to make
[20:40:25]< harold   > you could be aware of it if the simulation wants you to be aware of it
[20:40:46]< harold   > but then what would you do about it, right
[20:41:04]< aeTIos   > But we are not aware of anything simulating us afaict irl
[20:41:56]< ben_g   > Or lives could be just a simulation. There isn't any way to know it.
[20:42:00]< harold   > could still be a simulation then, we don't know for sure
[20:42:09]*Caleb reads about locked-in syndrome; sounds scary
[20:42:10]< ben_g   > *our lives
[20:42:50]< aeTIos   > then again suppose it is a simulation. We don't know about it. We still laugh, cry, love, do the things
[20:43:57]< aeTIos   > have any of you seen "Interstellar"?
[20:44:03]< aeTIos   > I might go see it next week
[20:45:04]< harold   > but it gets better, suppose you use a quantum computer to query a table of stored brains, actually most of them are dummies and there is only 1 real brain in there
[20:45:48]< harold   > now you use Grovers algorithm to find out whether the answers those brains give is yes to a certain question, but the dummies all say no
[20:46:23]< harold   > so now you will find out the correct answer with probability close to 1, but you will only actually ask the real brain anything with probability 1/sqrt(n)
[20:46:35]< DJ Omnimaga   > idk i might go see it
[20:46:48]< harold   > so you're probably not even simulating that brain, but you know what it would have answered if you had
[20:46:58]< aeTIos   > not even going to think about that
[20:47:02]< harold   > is it still conscious under those circumstances?
[20:47:55]< ben_g   > consciousness is a complicated thing. It's hard to know which things are conscious.
[20:48:24]*jamesguessis is not conscious
[20:48:36]< harold   > well that's the problem isn't it, we don't even really know what the nature of consciousness is
[20:49:21]< ben_g   > As far as I know it, for something to be canscious, it needs to experience life instead of simply react to it in a logical way. But how do you know if something really experiences life, or merely acts as if it does?
[20:50:36]< harold   > for example you could also ask how many neurons you need at minimum for a consciousness, it's a bit of a stretch to call 1 of them conscious but then somewhere there's a "tipping point" and that's also weird
[20:51:31]< aeTIos   > also
[20:51:43]< aeTIos   > Is your brain your consciousness?
[20:52:01]< ben_g   > that's a good question
[20:52:37]< aeTIos   > I think your consciousness is more than the sum of your neurons
[20:52:59]< harold   > well, you can remove most other bits
[20:53:16]< aeTIos   > Where in the brain is consciousness located
[20:53:16]< ben_g   > And studies with coma patients and patients who had a near-death experience shows that there *might* be more to what we decide and remember than just our brain
[20:53:55]< aeTIos   > ben_g I didn't want to bring it up, but you did. near-death experiences often have out-of body parts and stuff
[20:54:05]< ben_g   > maybe something like souls are real, and then the brains may be mere 'controllers' that the souls use to guide their 'avatar' trough what we call reality
[20:54:10]< harold   > in the parts whose removal makes you unconscious
[20:54:21]< harold   > actually less than that
[20:54:48]*New post by Sorunome in Wabbitemu a Fork
[20:55:19]< aeTIos   > ben_g I indeed believe that your consciousness is in your soul; as I am a christian
[20:55:36]< harold   > your consciousness can be affected without killing you by removing certain parts of the brain
[20:55:52]< harold   > while many parts of your body are clearly unrelated
[20:56:25]< harold   > so there's some relationship there, not a very clear cut one unfortunately..
[20:56:26]< DJ Omnimaga   > as a suggestion, since IRC lets you post faster with less time to proof-read your messages, wouldn't it be better to use the religion thread to debate about it?
[20:56:40]< ben_g   > harold: your behaviour can also be altered significantly trough hormones and chemicals, does that mean that hormones should be seen as a part of the consiousness as well?
[20:56:51]< aeTIos   > DJ this isnt a religion discussion
[20:56:57]< aeTIos   > more so an existential discussion
[20:57:02]< DJ Omnimaga   > oh
[20:57:40]< Sorunome   > wtf why isn't this working
[20:57:45]< ben_g   > yeah, this is more about 'what is life' instead of 'how did it start'
[20:57:53]< DJ Omnimaga   > although forums would definitively be the place to discuss any sensitive issues
[20:57:55]< harold   > I wouldn't say so, ben, it affects you for sure but they're more of an external stimulance IMO
[20:58:11]< aeTIos   > ben_g as if "how did it start" is the only topic affected by religion ;)
[20:58:14]< DJ Omnimaga   > not that it's bad to do so on irc but on irc i know people don't think before posting :P
[20:58:20]< harold   > as in, they come into you brain from outside of it (body, perhaps injected) and then go and change something
[20:58:44]< harold   > or you could put it as: you react in a certain way (involuntarily)
[20:59:18]< ben_g   > aeTIos: I'm not trying to say that, but don't most people look for a religion mainly to answer that question?
[20:59:38]< aeTIos   > ben_g not really
[20:59:47]< ben_g   > And harold: I think you may be right in that hormones may be more of an input
[20:59:49]< aeTIos   > its a part
[20:59:51]< aeTIos   > of it
[21:01:01]< aeTIos   > but people also take on a religion because they want to have an answer for why they exist (as in what is their goal) which is more existential and in the direction of the thing we're discussing rightnow
[21:01:07]< DJ Omnimaga   > sorunome what are you working on
[21:01:08]< ben_g   > Oh well, I'm not really an expert in that area
[21:01:47]< aeTIos   > heh
[21:02:04]< aeTIos   > I've always attended christian schools
[21:02:16]< ben_g   > Well, (just out of curiosity) what is the christian answer to 'why' then?
[21:02:33]< harold   > I've always attended christian schools too btw
[21:02:33]< aeTIos   > and we discussed these things during religion lessons
[21:03:16]< harold   > we didn't talk about those things, could have been interesting
[21:03:27]< aeTIos   > To most christians, the answer to why is to live in honour of God, who created them
[21:03:30]< ben_g   > I've gone to christian schools too, but during religion, we usually learned subjects not really related to christianity
[21:05:30]< aeTIos   > oh, believe me I also slacked off a lot during relig because it was so super boring :p
[21:05:36]< ben_g   > aeTIos: isn't there something more to it? (again, out of curiosity, I'm not planning to rant on christians or anything)
[21:06:02]< aeTIos   > ben_g: not really sure what direction you're thinking of now?
[21:06:09]< Sorunome   > anyone with PHP GD knownledge around?
[21:06:47]< Eeems   > What's up?
[21:06:54]< Sorunome   > >pm
[21:07:01]< harold   > or maybe we're actually no conscious :P
[21:07:03]< aeTIos   > There's a lot more to life from a christian's POV but this is the main reason for their existence
[21:07:26]< ben_g   > It's just that honouring 'the creator' seems to be a bit few to be the main goal of life, which is the longest thing you'll ever do (probably)
[21:07:58]< ben_g   > (referring to this world, not the next)
[21:08:27]*Streetwalrus joined the channel
[21:08:55]< aeTIos   > uhh
[21:08:56]< aeTIos   > well
[21:09:34]< aeTIos   > of course this honouring isnt just bowing for him all day
[21:09:34]< harold   > or I'm conscious and you guys are automata that pass the Turing test
[21:09:41]< LDStudios   > level design is truly a pia
[21:09:45]< Caleb   > what in the world is going on?
[21:10:03]< aeTIos   > caleb: there's a lot of things going on in the world
[21:10:17]< LDStudios   > only 10 more to make
[21:10:20]< Caleb   > well I meant what in the world is going on here
[21:10:24]< Caleb   > in this channel
[21:10:33]< aeTIos   > read scrollback
[21:11:02]< harold   > I happened and then discussion occurred
[21:11:33]< aeTIos   > harold always has these interesting hypothetical questions with no real answer
[21:11:51]< aeTIos   > I'm starting to suspect him asking those on purpose to incite discussion
[21:12:02]< harold   > shh
[21:12:11]< ben_g   > well, it's deffinately starting a discussion
[21:12:18]< Caleb   > -f
[21:12:26]< Caleb   > Well, that's weird
[21:12:30]< aeTIos   > or could it be that harold is actually thinking about these things and really wants an answer
[21:12:40]< Caleb   > nah
[21:12:41]< Caleb   > lol
[21:12:48]< harold   > ah well, on the one hand I'd like to know the answer
[21:12:49]< ben_g   > harold: 42
[21:12:53]< harold   > on the other hand I might not like it
[21:12:56]< ben_g   > good enough? :p
[21:13:38]< aeTIos   > harold: I wouldnt know how Id react if I knew I was a sim
[21:14:31]< harold   > well there's one way to find out, theoretically: sim a clone of you and tell him :P
[21:14:33]< ben_g   > I think I'd just try to carry on with my life as it was before I knew it
[21:14:42]< aeTIos   > In church they keep telling us everything we will ever do has been predetermined. That's about the same thing. It doesnt change my feeling about my life
[21:14:53]< aeTIos   > I don't even really know what to think of that
[21:15:01]< ben_g   > I mean: it had never bothered me before, so why would it bother me afterwards?
[21:15:34]< aeTIos   > its one of the things in christianity that dont make sense to me so I just take them for granted
[21:15:35]< Caleb   > having a hard time discerning what the question was, by the scrollback
[21:16:20]< harold   > ah well there are basically two alternative to things being predetermined: 1) there's an element of chance, or 2) magic or whatever that gives us some power that ordinary matter does not have
[21:16:24]< ben_g   > I also think it's possible that everything we do is predetermined. But a movie is that way too, and that doesn't mean all movies are boring.
[21:16:30]< harold   > so then we have 3 alternatives and I like none of them
[21:17:01]< aeTIos   > "ok here's an idea, what if the entire state of your brain was stored in memory and there was a program that you simulate the passing of time on it at a chemical level"
[21:17:06]< aeTIos   > ^original question
[21:17:36]*New post by Jim Bauwens in Downgrade For Ti-nspire os 3.9...
[21:17:37]< aeTIos   > harold: have you read Dick Swaab's book "We are our brains"
[21:18:03]< harold   > no but sounds interesting
[21:18:23]< aeTIos   > Dr. Swaab basically argues that everything you do is a result of fluctuations in chemical levels in your brains
[21:18:38]< aeTIos   > aka: he basically takes away the idea of free will
[21:18:46]< aeTIos   > everything you do is predetermined
[21:19:03]< aeTIos   > in the end its the same premise as being a simulation
[21:19:25]< harold   > well it's hard not to, I mean if you have free will then what even is that and why does normal matter not have it (or does it?)
[21:19:58]*New post by Vogtinator in Downgrade For Ti-nspire os 3.9...
[21:20:24]< aeTIos   > you could explain it by saying every human's got a sould
[21:20:26]< aeTIos   > -d
[21:20:45]< harold   > but that just shifts the question.. what is a soul, how does it work, etc
[21:20:58]< Caleb   > Oh.
[21:21:14]< aeTIos   > harold: maybe we just will never be able to explain it
[21:21:21]< aeTIos   > It's a grand mystery
[21:21:22]< ben_g   > Well, let's say it in an other way: if we could reset time 20 years or so back, with any proof of our current existance wrom that point whiped out: what do you think will happen?
[21:21:38]< Caleb   > well, there is a book...
[21:21:40]< aeTIos   > ben_g good question
[21:21:41]< ben_g   > a) after 20 years, the world would be the same as it is now
[21:21:53]< harold   > depends on what kind of reset this is - so all quantum fluctuations take the same choice or not?
[21:22:08]< aeTIos   > I think the world would be about the same maybe with minor differences
[21:22:22]< ben_g   > or b) the worls is different
[21:22:25]< aeTIos   > its like a seed from a RNG
[21:22:37]*jamesguessis is so confused by all this soul talk
[21:22:39]< harold   > if you just reset "classically", then any random process could "butterfly-effect" into big differences
[21:22:47]< ben_g   > well, all quantum fluctuations would also be reset 20 years back
[21:22:59]< Sorunome   > harold: are you good with php and are familiar with gd?
[21:23:06]< aeTIos   > basically someone quicksaved 20 years ago
[21:23:10]< aeTIos   > and now loads the savestate
[21:23:11]< harold   > soru: no sorry
[21:23:20]*Vogtinator joined the channel
[21:23:20]< Sorunome   > :(
[21:23:21]< ben_g   > so the seed of the RNG would also be the same as 20 years ago
[21:23:24]< harold   > it'd have to go the same way then right, there's basically no choice
[21:23:35]< aeTIos   > well
[21:23:37]< ben_g   > so yeah, basically a savestate as aeTIos pointed out
[21:23:43]< aeTIos   > there goes our supposed free will
[21:24:04]< aeTIos   > that's scary. or not
[21:24:11]< harold   > it would still feel like free will, so no problems there :P
[21:24:12]< jamesguessis   > it's scary
[21:24:18]< jamesguessis   > I'm done
[21:24:21]< jamesguessis   > I can't even
[21:24:27]< aeTIos   > Caleb: what book do you mean? (pretty sure I know)
[21:24:33]*jamesguessis leaves
[21:24:46]< Caleb   > The Bible
[21:24:52]< aeTIos   > figured
[21:25:12]< aeTIos   > harold:well, apparent free will ~= real free will
[21:25:44]< harold   > what if it is? would we ever know the difference?
[21:25:53]< aeTIos   > We will never know the difference
[21:26:08]< aeTIos   > by the way
[21:26:26]< Caleb   > Still, the whole discussion looks confusing to me anyway, all these complex terms lol
[21:26:37]< aeTIos   > does the question ben_g just asked about savestates imply that there has to be a way to revert time
[21:26:43]< aeTIos   > I mean
[21:26:52]< aeTIos   > let me rephrase that
[21:27:08]< harold   > I think that if anything, it implies that you can't reset time
[21:27:20]< ben_g   > if you believe in the multiverse theory, then you can say that your path in this universe is fixed, but free will will show itself in the alternate ways your life will take in parallell universes
[21:27:41]< aeTIos   > I mean to say, does there need to be a way to load a savestate for the answer to his question to be valid
[21:28:07]*aeTIos noms the hypotheticalness
[21:28:12]< harold   > or if you did reset time, you would then also have to repeat that in the reset since nothing has changed to allow you to make a different choice, and you'd loop
[21:28:32]< aeTIos   > dang
[21:28:37]< ben_g   > harold: that's a really good question actually
[21:28:37]< aeTIos   > this reminds me of a certain anime
[21:29:02]< ben_g   > but then what would happen if you could travel trough time to past that loop?
[21:29:20]< harold   > you wouldn't do it, unless you also did it the first time around
[21:30:11]< ben_g   > assume that you did: would you be alone in an empty universe since everything is stuck in the loop, or would you see the world as if the loop was never there?
[21:30:28]< harold   > hm..
[21:30:39]< harold   > now that's a problem
[21:30:56]< harold   > you're essentially asking now about what happens when you complete an infinite number of steps
[21:31:39]< aeTIos   > what if you shifted to an alternate universe where you never went back in time
[21:32:06]< harold   > or maybe.. you can't travel forwards in time past a reset (so now you have a way to test whether a reset will happen)
[21:32:48]< aeTIos   > I'm going to archive this convo.
[21:33:02]< aeTIos   > one of the most interesting convos ive had on this channel
[21:33:12]< ben_g   > indeed
[21:33:30]< aeTIos   > We should become philosophers
[21:33:37]< aeTIos   > nah
[21:33:55]< aeTIos   > pretty sure some philosophers have already said everything we just said
[21:34:31]< ben_g   > Anyway, I don't know if I'm doing this from free will or because my destiny tells me to do it, but I am giong to bed now. Good night guys.
[21:34:45]< aeTIos   > rofl
[21:34:54]< aeTIos   > way to kill a discussion
[21:34:55]< aeTIos   > XD
[21:35:04]< aeTIos   > also
[21:35:14]< ben_g   > sorry, I have to go to school early tomorrow
[21:35:57]< aeTIos   > if you have no free will, but instead everything is predetermined, is talking about free will situational irony for the people who watch our lives?
[21:36:04]< aeTIos   > erm
[21:36:05]< aeTIos   > I mean
[21:36:08]< aeTIos   > dramatical irony
[21:36:30]< harold   > lol
[21:36:40]< aeTIos   > I think it classifies
[21:36:54]< aeTIos   > but not 100% sure
[21:36:58]< harold   > well, we do that too, any time cleverbot appears to get sentient :P
[21:38:25]< aeTIos   > food for thought
We had a lengthy discussion about free will and consciousness tonight. I'm interested in other people's views, so I'm posting this here. It's really interesting so don't hesitate to read it and say what you think of the subject.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 04:51:30 pm by aeTIos »
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Free will, consciousness, and Stuff(TM)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2014, 04:56:37 pm »
Yeah I thought it might also be better to make a topic for this discussion since on forums people take longer to think about what they will post (allowing the debate to remain healthy and constructive for longer), plus since this can last a long while this could clutter the channel discussion.

Offline aeTIos

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Re: Free will, consciousness, and Stuff(TM)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2014, 04:58:43 pm »
*cough* We took up quite a bit of the channel for quite some time. I fear we hijacked some discussions.
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