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 Post subject: Dualism by Reductionism
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:45 pm 
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Hans Moravec wrote an article called Dualism by Reductionism, dealing with the notion of mind-uploading, i.e. uploading our minds into a computer:

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Body identity assumes that a person is defined by the stuff of which a human body is made. Only by maintaining continuity of body stuff can we preserve an individual person. Pattern identity, on the other hand, defines the essence of a person, say myself, as the pattern and the process going on in my head and body, not the machinery supporting that process. If the process is preserved, I am preserved. The rest is mere jelly.


Quote:
Consider the message "I am not jelly". As I type it , it goes from my brain, into the keyboard of my computer, through myriads of electronic circuits and over great amounts of wire, and after countless adventures shows up in bunches of books like the one you're holding. How many messages were there? I claim it is most useful to think there is only one, despite its massive replication. If I repeat it here: "I am not jelly", there is still only one message. Only if I change it in a significant manner: "I am not peanut butter" do we have a second message. And the message is not destroyed until the last written version is lost, and until it fades sufficiently in everybody's memory to be unreconstructable. The message is the information conveyed, not the particular encoding. The "pattern and process" that I claim is the real me has the same properties as the message above.


Quote:
Suppose I step into the transmission chamber. The transmitter scans and disassembles my jelly-like body, but my pattern (me!) moves continuously from the dissolving jelly, through the transmitting beam, and ends up in other jelly at the destination. At no instant was it (I) ever destroyed (...) As a computer program, your mind can travel over information channels. A laser can send it from one computer to another across great distances and other barriers. If you found life on a neutron star, and wished to make a field trip, you might devise a way to build a neutron computer and robot body on the surface, then transmit your mind to it.


That self, mind, personality, etc, are all conventional phenomena, needs no saying, and really doesn't change anything on the subject -- since it has "always" been a conventional phenomenon. Similarly, lasers and neutron stars are also conventional phenomena.

I'd be interested to hear your words on the subject and how it relates to Buddhist understanding.

Source:

http://www.primitivism.com/reductionism.htm


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:57 am 
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I can't speak for any buddhists by my personal opinion is the conventional serves as a exercise or elaboration of awareness.

All the conventional represents aspects of our awareness as in how we find things is not as things are but as we are inclined to find things.

It is in very simple terms like being born with a ruler for all your sense. All you sense then is reduced to what a ruler may measure with its particular variances all allowable in a ruler.

So what we sense perceive is really our awareness we perceive or sense...aspect of it in its variance and sundry forms and elaboration.
Our reality is ourselves elaborated our awareness.

The other view to my opinion extends to nihilism.
Conventional is usually thought of as in opposition to ourselves or our aware aspect. Conventional but represents our aware aspect. All we can perceive in the conventional is defined by our perceptability how our awareness is so inclinded. Thusly all reality conventionally is really not seperate or apart from us but as we are or aspect of awareness. Alive in a sense. All reality thusly in conventional terms as reflections of our awareness...essentially is alive. This accounts for some scientific study of the smallest known particles which behave in a experimental environment as if they were alive or posessing of awareness....they are....in this sense, as we are. Aware. Looked at totally the cosmos if we could look at it suchly but due to great great size we cannot...we would find the totality represents as alive or aware....reflecting our awareness. LIke the ruler...... measuring enough things one could eventually by the measurements themselves determine or access by mathamatical deduction calculation and equation.... the size scope and limitations of the ruler one who only had a ruler for their senses and nothing else. Suchly if we could grasp the total....we would find it is as alive and aware as us. Studying the smallest and studying the biggest will reveal that as fact. The conventional is indeed us.

Other things beyond our awareness and nonempty things may concievably exist. WE however limited by empty nature and aware aspect combined could never know of other things nor they know of anything else. Such is the constraints of our reality.

There are no replies so I replied. It is a personal opinion however. Just off the top of my head :smile:
I could write for days on these things.

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"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:38 am 
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Hi Norman,

Yeah, Hans Moravec is an interesting guy.

Take a look at this old thread, specifically the quotes from HHDL:

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=169&p=1336&hilit=dalai+lama+computer+mind#p1336

Have you seen the BBC video "Human 2.0"? If not, I think you'd enjoy it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjP2QF50vZM


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:09 pm 
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ronnewmexico wrote:
So what we sense perceive is really our awareness we perceive or sense...aspect of it in its variance and sundry forms and elaboration.


Sounds like Vijñānavāda to me. I would however not agree with awareness having aspects, i.e. qualities; but it is as you say, merely a matter of personal opinion. Besides, what is not a personal opinion, and how would we know it?

ronnewmexico wrote:
Our reality is ourselves elaborated our awareness.


I don't want to come off as picky, but shouldn't this read "elaborated in our awareness"? In any case, I hold this to be true.

So what do you think, ronnewmexico, is all that is required for you to travel via laser beams to distant stars, a mere "translation" of your phenomenal identity into bits and digits? And if not, why not?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:27 pm 
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Hello Luke,

This Moravec fellow does have some interesting things to say (even if it reads like a sci-fi novel - all fine by me).

Quote:
There is no reason why a mind-stream could not connect with a purely inorganic machine as the physical basis for one of its lives.


Sound like Hans Moravec and the Dalai Lama would be giving each others hive fives if they ever meet. Maybe in another life. Soon we'll be carrying around our own personal bodhisattvas in our mobile phones, if this keeps up. I do have some issues with some of the conceptions of reincarnation, though. I think it's best to leave that for another thread.

I'll check that documentary out. Some of these documentaries tend to geek out, and drool over notions of scientism, a wee bit to much, but hey, with a little luck you'll learn something new.

While we're at it, and if you feel up to it, what do you think of "connecting mind-streams" with machines?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:07 pm 
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norman wrote:
While we're at it, and if you feel up to it, what do you think of "connecting mind-streams" with machines?

Well, I'm neither someone with a deep knowledge of science (like Mr. Moravec), nor am I someone with a deep knowledge of Buddhist philosophy (like HHDL). But I think the idea of having one's next rebirth inside a (very sophisticated) machine is quite interesting. If we build machines which are increasingly similar to the human brain and we keep improving them, then we should eventually be able to create machines which are essentially similar to the brain.

I wonder what kind of karma one would have to have to reincarnate inside a machine? I would imagine that computer scientists and engineers who love computers would probably fit the bill. I could imagine Ray Kurweil dying before he accomplishes his goal of uploading his mind to a computer, only to be reborn inside a sufficiently complex computer in one of his next lifetimes. I also wonder if these sentient machines would have a much easier time of recalling their past lives (because this information might just be as easy to access as opening a computer file).

It also wouldn't hurt to have cybernetic implant for storing Buddhist texts so you wouldn't have to memorize them the old-fashioned way. I wouldn't mind having the Kangyur stored between my ears.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:16 pm 
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REgarding personal view I mention that to differentiate that from a buddhist view. Some Buddhists may hold this view.....but to qualify it as a "official" buddhist view I don't want to engage and am not a lineage holder to summarily say it is so. Simpler points I may state are buddhist views and I can represent what I state in buddhist text but do not want to engage that issue.....it is a waste of time generally. Who cares....if it is true it is true. Name doesn't matter. Discssions of this sort seem to go two ways....devolve into sutric battles to whit with various sanskrit terms and conceptual names of incredible complexity often in different languages, or devolve into how many angels can fit on the head of a pin discussions.... to whit with technical jargon taken from various internet sites, and the assumption one or a few are really incredibly advanced. So I can avoid the first, the second is a bit harder. This is a new discussion so the second has not yet arisin. If it had I would never participate. I largly fail to be impressed by "scientists" or namedroppers on the internet. Some discussions call for those sorts of things and are necessarily endeavored to engage.... these sort of discussions, do not generally.
Both bore me.

As to this...."So what do you think, ronnewmexico, is all that is required for you to travel via laser beams to distant stars, a mere "translation" of your phenomenal identity into bits and digits? And if not, why not?" That to my view is a real question.

This would seemingly equate with cloneing of a thng to be equal to that thing by containing the direct correct translation of that thing genetically and other wise.

The circumstance of the translation would itself, not be translated. So thusly what would be traveling would not be the same you that is translated. A close approximation....certainly. But as with a cloned animal it misses the mark. The idea our identity can be so reduced in total to bits and digets.....Parts only....are not enough to be considered the you that we may find going in a bus from one place to
another.
So not and that is why not I can elaborate.

I would suppose our perceptions, the ruler I mentioned, are already bits and pieces and though valid as perceptions do not represent the true identity of any single thing. So thusly represented without a means to jump from the perceptable to the reality of any object, the seperation of that object from that which perceives it being not possible the reality of any object is never fully approximated. Thusly as all interacts in this fashion such reduction would always miss the mark. To completely reduce things, the reduction would by the constraints of our reality have to include all that interacts with our object of reduction..which is basically everything known.

So like a cloned animal....close but no bannana.

Regarding this.....I don't want to come off as picky, but shouldn't this read "elaborated in our awareness"?

No I purposely wrote it that way. Awareness being composite but display of awareness being a finetuning of that same awareness not something contained within. MOre like a centrifuge participating particles from a larger mix is what I was hitting at. Awareness to my view being a quality not quantity or object.
Like a 1970's mood ring. Thinking of this larger thing as all being a function of awareness, as a inert nail or hair on our head, may be a function of our aware senseing body. Similiarily any elaboration is not in anything but in everything. Our reality being alive in a way, more akin to being alive then to being as we normally assume it to be,with clear distinctions between inert and aware.

If I wanted to replicate or move a consciousness from one place to another to my view all I would have to do is replicate the circumstance that the present consciousness exists in to include its habital derived historic tendencies. If I replicated the circumstances exactly...exactly equal would be the result. I would not assume this is not presently happening. There may be a thousand pretty equal to me consciousnesses(we simply do not know). But a me moving on such basis....none exists. So unless circumstance and tendency to boot... could be moved with me no real movement could occur.
This is a differing view of rebirth. WE never rebirth.... what percipitates is our consciousness when circumstances precipitate our consciousnesses presence. This includes habitual tendency and retention of the basis of such so it seems to be a singular entity. It is not. The only continuance is in the circumstantial elicitation, and the quality of awareness being present . Like the color green presenting with someone mixing a blue and yellow. However similiar is one green to another perhaps virtually identical never are they the same in other manner. One is mixed at one time one at another. So large is this thing of reality we cannot discount the possiblity of all potential mixes even some other being mixed in the same fashion at the same time and having same exact result but that is not to say me the mix is the same as well. Though it presents as exact it holds differing spacial quality if nothing else and thusly though not necessarily perceptable as different is by such virtue different.

I'd suppose scientists tend not to see the constraints upon their reality, and its limitations reflecting in our perceptive ability. We see generally the ruler nothing else.
Some buddhists hold consciousness to be a soul like thing migrating from one birth to another. Some buddhists hold consciousness to be a wholly created upon circumstance thing, presenting when circumstance exactly fits its presentation. Essentially it could be thought of as the reality of the moment essentially calling for its presence. If our particular nuance of consciousness fits exactly.... it presents.
I hold to that second view. Keep in mind the death process modifies consciousness with experience and habitual retention of aspect, and thusly we find not a 80 year old dead person rebirthing as a newborn who is 80. But a 80 year old feeling death and then with consequential change to consciousness rebirthing in a differing form, perhaps a newborn human. But in every circumstance the death and birth it is but the circumstance that elicits what we call a particular consciousness. It is not a singular seperate thing. Awareness is a quality only with retentive aspect. Not a object.

Since is has no such composition as object it cannot be transported suchly in bits and pieces.

As a aside...... by mentioning our entire reality as being alive I don't mean the newage ghia world concepts or even conscious universe concept but the idea every single aspect of reality functions in relationship to consciousness or more basically awareness. Thusly considered as evidenced in either a very small small sense or in a large large sense....the characteristics of everything are no different than our own characteristics. Aware. Everything functions as such a nature or relationship to such a nature.
Not inherantly existant nature but when presenting. Always aware nature. Suchly any inert object would be considered implicit of the aware which constructs such. As our hair and nails speak of a aware body which grows such. We think of awareness and resultant consciousness as being a mystical mainly nonunderstandable process....it seems rather simply a way of knowing of things. Hence retentive aspect and other things, it is built to understand. It would follow that our reality is then also just built to understand. Behaviors of things even inert would speak to that by my personal view, if studied long and hard enough. As is in the scientific community recently the smallest of the small particles is found behaveing in a seemingly conscious manner. The internet is a good source to find that reference as I do not have it handy, the names of the particles the study and such. They behave as conscious or aware.
To a largest extant....I suppose we will find the same if we ever can study the largest extant.

Imagine we are a human body one trillion times exemplified. Imagine then one cell is our universe. Our universe located upon that body perhaps at the juncture of a hair folical and a scalp or some similiar situation. Our universe then reflecting mostly inert(hair)billions of miles of inert, as opposed to aware. Imagine the possibility if that one cell(universe) was located in a brain or eye area..... what would we see then? Would that then be a nirvana state or some godly realm? And does not the fluidity of thoughts and reality and such speak not against the conventional but to such conceptions?
Imagine a scope in which every possibility of aware presentation is exemplified.... every single one.....that would be the consequence of reality as a function of awareness to my opinion .
But that is diverging from the issue...the rest is not.

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"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:02 pm 
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Quote:
dealing with the notion of mind-uploading, i.e. uploading our minds into a computer

seems like an obvious implication if we accept mind as an emergent property


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:37 pm 
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5heaps wrote:
Quote:
dealing with the notion of mind-uploading, i.e. uploading our minds into a computer

seems like an obvious implication if we accept mind as an emergent property


HHDL seems to agree with the conclusions, though. Basically all we have to agree with is the notion that the mind can be "moved" or transmitted into a computer. Whether or not a mind is purely physical in origin, i.e. an emergent property, or has some metaphysical properties (qualities, etc) to it, shouldn't have any bearing on the issue at hand.

As Hans Moravec says in the quotes above:

Quote:
The message is the information conveyed, not the particular encoding.


Personally I can't reconcile these theories (HHDL's included) with the simple fact of shunyata, i.e. the non-objective character of all appearances, our minds included. Objectively in this regard, i.e. conceptually, it means simply that it has no objective character at all. Whatever we conjure up is whatever we conjure up, all perfectly logical and contained within its own context.


Last edited by norman on Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:18 pm 
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interesting site, i guess the DARPA/RAND technocrats and social engineers are still trail balloon floating, the whole humanising the machine and dehumanising humanity shtick. Still interesting to read their agendas.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:01 am 
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norman wrote:
HHDL seems to agree with the conclusions, though.
no, since he doesnt accept that definition of mind. what he is saying is that perhaps machinery etc could become an appropriate basis for mind.

Quote:
Whether or not a mind is purely physical in origin, i.e. an emergent property, or has some metaphysical properties (qualities, etc) to it, shouldn't have any bearing on the issue at hand.
of course it does. they function differently, if they function at all (ie. some emergent properties dont function).


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:34 pm 
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5heaps wrote:
norman wrote:
HHDL seems to agree with the conclusions, though.
no, since he doesnt accept that definition of mind. what he is saying is that perhaps machinery etc could become an appropriate basis for mind.


I mean "conclusion", as in the effect of it all, regardless of disagreements concerning properties (i.e. whether it's a re-emergent or metaphysical phenomenon).

You could have a mind reincarnated into a machine (HHDL), or you could have a mind transmitted into a machine (Moravec); in either case you have a mind in a machine, and in both cases it seems to admit that mind is a process, since it has the capabilities to function via something completely non-organic. If all that is necessary is whether the machine could process a mind, then it is exactly as Moravec said:

"If the process is preserved, I am preserved (...) The message is the information conveyed, not the particular encoding."

If the mind isn't a process, then what exactly is it that is functioning via the machine? Similarly, if the mind is a process, then what metaphysical qualities, supposedly inherent in the mind itself, is preventing us, in theory, from transmitting our minds via laser beams to distant neutron stars?

In theory it couldn't matter whether a mind is re-emergent or a metaphysical abstraction.

5heaps wrote:
Quote:
Whether or not a mind is purely physical in origin, i.e. an emergent property, or has some metaphysical properties (qualities, etc) to it, shouldn't have any bearing on the issue at hand.
of course it does. they function differently, if they function at all (ie. some emergent properties dont function).


What HHDL's saying in effect is that a mind could function in a machine, as long as it has the appropriate basis. Moravec says the same: they both seem to agree to the fact that a mind has the qualities necessary to function via something non-organic.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:35 am 
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norman wrote:
You could have a mind reincarnated into a machine (HHDL), or you could have a mind transmitted into a machine (Moravec); in either case you have a mind in a machine
i understand that is your position. what i am saying is that the inference you draw is mistaken since there is no ontological equivalence between the 2 positions. upon closer examination they are in fact in direct opposition.

The Nature of the Mind

the only reason i bring this up is that rather than relying on horseshit theories of persons based on mind as an emergent property, one stupider than the next, listen to buddhisms thorough explanations of persons and selflessness/anatta and emptiness. there is so much scholarship on these topics these days that senseless musings such as Moravec's should be transparently understood for what they are.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:34 am 
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5heaps wrote:
norman wrote:
You could have a mind reincarnated into a machine (HHDL), or you could have a mind transmitted into a machine (Moravec); in either case you have a mind in a machine
i understand that is your position. what i am saying is that the inference you draw is mistaken since there is no ontological equivalence between the 2 positions. upon closer examination they are in fact in direct opposition.

The Nature of the Mind

the only reason i bring this up is that rather than relying on horseshit theories of persons based on mind as an emergent property, one stupider than the next, listen to buddhisms thorough explanations of persons and selflessness/anatta and emptiness. there is so much scholarship on these topics these days that senseless musings such as Moravec's should be transparently understood for what they are.


Sure, I agree, but it shouldn't prevent anyone from talking about it. I put it in the lounge-section. If you want to keep it short, let's keep it short.

The reason for posting has already been said: "I'd be interested to hear your words on the subject and how it relates to Buddhist understanding."


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:52 pm 
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norman wrote:
The reason for posting has already been said: "I'd be interested to hear your words on the subject and how it relates to Buddhist understanding."
i dont think thats bad or not worth talking about. what im saying it that rather than making a fashion out of constructing mountains of bs out of assumptions, challenge assumptions. particularly something as nasty as reductionism which says your mind is a literal illusion completely devoid of substance (ie. ability to perform a function).


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