Re: Superconsciousness

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Nov 04 2001 - 20:18:21 MST

Phil Osborn wrote:

> Jaynes work, however, appears to point at least in that direction, that
> perhaps the "metaphorical" structure of consciousness which he describes
> could in fact not only be radically different between different existing
> individuals today on this planet, but might also redefine itself in
> ways we literally cannot conceive of now, any more than his "bicameral"
> human of ancient times could conceive of what we regard as consciousness now.

While I'm not sure it is relevant to the conversation, if William Calvin
is right about the evolution of viewing oneself as an actor in "imagined"
actions as being important in the rehersal (and perfection) of hunting
tasks (e.g. throwing), then it seems likely that "consciousness" evolved
much earlier than Jayne's "bicameral" mind.

I'm strongly suspicious that there may be a "continuum" of consciousness.
There would be an evolutionary advantage to any preditor (lions, tigers,
etc.) being able to mentally reherse its strategies for bringing down
prey. In contrast, grazing animals don't gain much by rehersing which
plants to eat. The trick that humans may have accomplished is being
able to bring the rehersal up to the level of self-observation which
may be associated with our ability to recognize ourselves in the mirror

If this is correct, then the consciousness may have its roots in
dreaming in that the incorporation into long term memory of attempts
that failed or succeeded in reality is necessary for the comparison
of imaginary rehersals with such prior attempts to determine the
probability of success (and the decision whether or not to make an attempt).

It is therefore interesting to consider that multiple future path
simulations for a superintelligence will be to them what consciousness
is to us. While we probably have a difficult time comparing multiple
outcomes simultaneously, for an SI it would seem to be a relatively
simple task.


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