Qualia again

Mon, 29 Nov 1999 15:57:20 EST


I wonder what will happen when I can link the output of one person's V4 area to all the places my V4 sends connections to. Will I then get to experience someone else's sensation of red? My brother is color deficient (true, it's a problem of sensory detection more than processing), but I would be fascinated to know what he perceives. And what about true variations in perception, like synesthesia. I am forced to believe that qualia exists because I experience it. I suspect that someday we will be able to reproduce it, and then change it. Once we are able to do those things, we will likely be on the road to understanding it. As for whether AI's will have qualia if we don't specifically design for it (say, by mimicking the structure of our perceptural cortex), I couldn't say. It might emerge, or it might not. Believe it or not, I still think AI's can be intelligent, self-aware, and deserving of rights without having qualia per se. Qualia is a fascinating phenomenon, but not the yardstick by which I judge personhood. Perhaps AI's will experience pure abstract consciousness, with awareness but no perception. I'm still looking into the topic.

Glen Finney