Re: Predictions by Kurzweil

From: Brent Allsop (
Date: Mon Feb 21 2000 - 21:51:27 MST

KPJ <> commented:

> o Why do apparently reasonable and rational human believe in ``qualia''
> as some kind of mystical, and un-explainable, semi-supernatural entity?

        I'm sorry, I didn't inted to claim it was anything
supernatural, unexplainable, non-scientific or anything. I even think
"qualia" can me modeled or abstractly represented by Turing machines.

        The only thing I am pointing out is that there are some
fundamental phenomenal qualities of the physical stuff our brain uses
to consciously represent information. A binary number can abstractly
represent the color of red, but there is nothing in an abstract number
that is anything like such a phenomenal quality that we "experience".

        Our brain uses a "warm" feeling to represent things of higher
temperature. When science studies "warm" things it discoveries that
warm things are different because the molecules are vibrating more
rapidly with more kinetic energy. But such difference in behavior has
nothing to do with "warm" other than our brain uses something with a
warm quality to represent higher levels of kinetic energy. Today,
when scientists look at neurons firing in response to something that
is a higher temperature, all they seem to be looking for is the
behavior of the neurons. They should, in addition to this, be looking
for what it is like for such brain matter to do whatever it is doing.

        Just because I'm saying we must look for something more than
abstract or Turing behavior doesn't mean it must be something

        There must be real scientific ways to discover such phenomenal
qualities and differences if we look in the right place and look for
more than just abstract behavior. A field of green leaves is
different than a red cherry. This phenomenal quality difference
between the red spot in the field of green is what enables us to pick
the cherry out of the green. Just knowing how we are able to pick out
the red cherry is only half of the science. We must also look for
what the qualitative and phenomenal difference is between the red, the
green.... and the warm, the salty, the painful...

        Simply pointing out that there are no such things out beyond
our senses (other than the behavior they abstractly represent) doesn't
imply that it must be something supernatural. As I said, science will
eventually discover these natural and real things so common in our
physical brain. But first, we must look for more than just the
abstract Turing behavior. We must also look for what it is like.
Discovering this will be the greatest scientific discovery to date, I
think anyway. Once we do accomplish this, machines will be saying
things like: "Oh That's what salt tastes like. Wow." And We'll know,
scientifically, that they are not lieing because we will know what and
why such natural feelings really are.

> As a matter of fact, I have not seen any current FAQ on the
> subjects. Does one exist?

        I don't know of one yet, and I am working on one. Does anyone
want to help out?

                Brent Allsop

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