What exactly is 'Consciousness'?

Cpt_pineapple
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What exactly is 'Consciousness'?

In my recent essay, I am discussing the universal consciousness.

However, people asked what exactly is consciousness? That is what exactly makes us conscious? Is the universe conscious? I must admit this question left me thinking. I posted that I think that consciousness is the ability to process data. I talked of the Digital universe, where the universe is analogous to a computer program and in essence observes itself through data. That is the data being emitted by matter collapses the wave functions and hence the universe is in essence 'processing' itself and is 'self aware'.

However, computer programs themselves are not 'conscious', they cannot feel, they cannot think, they can only process.

 

Is this view valid?  


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In this video Dennett

In this video Dennett argues that an enough complex computer CAN be conscious, he also attempts to answer your question on what consciousness is:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9136959594507340339

I loved the interview, gave me a lot to think about.Smiling


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: In my

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

In my recent essay, I am discussing the universal consciousness.

However, people asked what exactly is consciousness? That is what exactly makes us conscious? Is the universe conscious? I must admit this question left me thinking. I posted that I think that consciousness is the ability to process data. I talked of the Digital universe, where the universe is analogous to a computer program and in essence observes itself through data. That is the data being emitted by matter collapses the wave functions and hence the universe is in essence 'processing' itself and is 'self aware'.

However, computer programs themselves are not 'conscious', they cannot feel, they cannot think, they can only process.

 

Is this view valid?

There is nothing over and above a particular kind of information processing.  In a real simplified form, as Dennett has argued, Consciousness is a darwinian struggle.  Since we get tons of sensory imput from external sources, our minds process this information.  Whichever one "wins" so to speak, attains Ceriberal celeberty and that is what consciousness is.

To learn more, read Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett. 

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:   Is

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
 

Is this view valid?

No.  It contradicts itself.  A computer processes data, but you said yourself that it is not conscious. 

If I am wrong on any point (including, but not limited to, spelling, grammar, and the question of God's existence), please correct me as quickly as possible.


Cpt_pineapple
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person132

person132 wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Is this view valid?

No. It contradicts itself. A computer processes data, but you said yourself that it is not conscious.

 

It is not a contradiction due to the following:

1) The computer requires programs to process data. These programs are written by humans.

2) The program relies on a concious mind to assign meaning to the binary code.

 

3) The program in essence 'shortens' the data. For example it will convert a combination of 1s and 0s to the letter h on the screen. 

 

So in essence, we assign the information to the data. The computer process the binary code to letters numbers etc, but then a conscious mind makes the data information. 

 


neptewn
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Isn't the "H' is sent via

Isn't the "H' is sent via an output device the monitor to another input device our eyes? The "H" is then ran through a program in our head that defines what an "H" is.

I was programmed early on by my parents to know what an "H" is, I wasn't consious at birth to what "H" meant. I had to be programed.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs


Cpt_pineapple
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neptewn wrote: Isn't the

neptewn wrote:

Isn't the "H' is sent via an output device the monitor to another input device our eyes? The "H" is then ran through a program in our head that defines what an "H" is.

I was programmed early on by my parents to know what an "H" is, I wasn't consious at birth to what "H" meant. I had to be programed.

 

I mentioned in my essay that the brain is analogous to a computer (The neurons firing and so on), but I would like to add it is so much more.

Now, let's regress where the meaning of "H" came from. Obviously your parents learned from you grandparents etc, but the H come from our conscious. A conscious mind first came up with 'H' have the sound it does, meaning what it does, having it's place in the alphabit etc and passed it down generations to their offspring.

In other words consciousness gave the meaning to "H". We just transfer the data to the computer.  

 


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I would define

I would define consciousness as self aware thinking.

You can think and realize that you think. You are able to contemplate over what you are doing, and you can change your behaviour. Although I generally feel that we think we have a lot more control over what we do then we actually have. A lot of times we act, before we think about it and make up the reasons afterwards. I would try and explain behaviour and the origin of language with Natural selection. I think consciousness really is not that significant. We simply learn from when we are small to react to certain situations in a certain way and with time this process becomes so complex and profound and combines with the phenomena of language. That gives rise to consciousness which is a misleading concept in my opinion. I honestly think that we have absolutely no control over what we do. Although I might be way of with that opinion ^^

Following that train of though I think Machines and computers have a very good chance of becoming just like us. All we need is a program that teaches itself by observing cause and effect…

 

Memento Mori...


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I like to try to analyze my

I like to try to analyze my actions and see just what sort of control I have...

The vast majority of actions are controlled by automatic functions. Memory association, muscle coordination, balance, language... So much of that goes on without my conscious involvement. In fact, there are various systems that override consciousness altogether, should you put yourself in danger. Even much of thought itself is automatic, accessing memories and associations. Consciousness can be shut down and restarted, and despite my efforts, I can never quite remember how it happens, since I'm the thing getting shut down...

It really questions the sense of self, which has been tracked down to a region of the brain as well. I treat 'self' as my particular instance of consciousness. I used to think that it had a great deal to do with memory, but that might only be apparent from the perspective of another observer. From my perspective, I've forgotten many things, but I still exist in the present, and did in the past. You could argue that the memories still exist in their effect on my subconscious. I don't know of any easy way to "clear the cache" to test that. I wonder if we'll ever get to the point where we can say, with near absolute certainty, what the conscious actually is.

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wavefreak
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The difference between

The difference between conciousness and a computer is that if I look up and see a giant meteor crashing down I'll say "ah fuck". A machine intelligence will look up and attempt to calculate its way out of an impossible situation.

 

Which brings up a question. Would a machine intelligence that becomes self aware be considered alive? 


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As well as Consciousness

As well as Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett

I'd also read

"Godel Esher Bach" and "I am a stange loop" by Douglas Hofstadter. Strange loop is by far the easier and in fact more pertenant book.

If you are feeling brave have a stab at

"The view from nowhere" by Thomas Nagel

Good luck and if you work it out remeber us when you are a rich and famous philosipher!!!