green_amber: (sheep)
..The Wikipaedia approach - definition by democracy..

[Poll #597131]
green_amber: (cramond weird)
Someone suggested I upfront this comment as a post so here we go:

Oddly, consciousness is the other thing I was noodling about at the weekend. My cats are so obviously conscious, and in really quite subtle ways I never imagined before I lived with animals. They are disappointed, happy, enticing, vain, frustrated, envious and irritated. Yet they have brains like peas no? How stupid do you have to get before consciousness vanishes? Do bees have consciousness? Do goldfish? Do rats? Do all human beings who are not in comas? Do babies, and if so from what age? Is having consciousness the same as thinking? (DO babies think? They dream don't they - is that the same either? My cats dream.)

And where consciousness exists continues to mystify me. Anyone who's studied the Turing test realises that intelligence as an externally observed factor is not the same as intentionality. WE can simulate intelligence but we can't simulate consciousness. Does this indicate there is some kind of mind/brain dualism actually going on?
green_amber: (Default)
.. by [livejournal.com profile] bondage_and_tea - anyone recognise it?

"It's amusing that our model of ourselves is that of an impenetrable machine we somehow need to decode and predict - then and only then can we make the right decisions in order to be happy. We set up miniature experiments and carefully monitor our responses and how others react to us to see if we should repeat or continue the experience. Frantically moving from one friend, lover, job, university, project, political cause, to the next, each briefly improving the situation and giving us the status and self-importance we need to get out of bed in the morning. Worrying about the global issues, reading the news religiously every day so we're informed individuals and can ramble on for hours about the pains of people in the world we'll never meet. Ignoring people we could share happiness with or - worse - learning methods of manipulation so we can influence those closest (proximal) to us, the satisfaction of a person molded feeding back into our personal status machine. Eye contact, use first name, soft tone, develop a rapport but not for too long lest honesty and humility creeps in. Helping and diplomacy rather than sharing and empathy."

I've always been intrigued by the fact that we compare how our brains work to whatever the current hip technology is. We think of ourselves as computers - how often have you said, my brain's crashed - the Victorians compared intelligence to the telegraph. What did stone age man think of themselves as? What will we think of intelligence when nanotechnology is really here?

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May 2009

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