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Hh Gg Pmd Consciousness Scene

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HHGGPMDconsciousness
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  1That evening Carl took Sebastian and the Laurensons to a restaurant outsideOxford. Amy had arranged for a babysitter to mind their two young daughters so thisrepresented no problem. The onversation over dinner was lively and varied! and Carlwas uite happy to talk about #ollywood and his film areer! and about theforthoming pro$et % &  Zyron and Axma ' % he was thinking of doing onerningterrorists and aliens.(n fat Carl always liked to sound out non)movie industry people on ideas. Oftenin the past he had found the odd omment or reservation of invaluable help when itame to fine tuning the dramati thrust of a partiular piee. *oreover! it was of ourse far heaper to try to spot any weaknesses a story might have before a framewas shot rather than wait until the die was aste. +et! as the filmmaker outlined it tothem! &  Zyron and Axma ' was a thought)provoking! thrilling humdinger of a moviewhih met with a firm thumbs up from both the Amerian professor and his wife. Areation that pleased the multi)Osar winner no end.&So your full title is ,#aitinger -rofessor of the -hilosophy of *ind/' said Carl!repeating what 0artholomew had $ust told him as the disussion had drifted on toother themes.&+es! that's it!' smiled 0art.&The #aitingers of #ouston! ( take it/' the filmmaker in uired.&+es!' nodded the professor. &o you know them/'&+es! slightly!' Carl replied. &As you know their srcinal business was oil! but over the last ouple of years they've had a ontrolling interest in Triple S. So obviouslythat touhes on my territory.'&+es! it would do!' said 0art. &Obviously ('ve met Alvin #aitinger! and his sonLyle! but ( don't know them well either. Also isn't Triple S tied in uite losely withCyphonis/ The reason ( know that is that ( remember a few months bak ( got a allfrom Lyle asking me if ( ould spend some time on the phone with 2rant 3irth and hesaid their businesses were linked.'&+es! that's absolutely right!' onfirmed Carl smiling. &2ee! so you've haddealings with 2rant 3irth/ #a! he's a friend of mine4 (n fat he's only been in Londonthis week and ( introdued him to Sebastian. 5hat did he want/'&Oh! he $ust wanted to get my views on a few things!' said the prematurely balding professor. &#e is! as you may know! very big on the prospet of developing A( % Artifiial (ntelligene % a field in whih so far progress has been rather modest.#owever! he rekons!' added the philosopher of mind with an engaging grin! &thatone mahines surpass humans in intelligene then mahines will take over. *oreover he's uite sure that it will happen. (n fat he doesn't even neessarily see it as a badthing. &  Just another step in evolution '! if ( reall orretly! was his desription of it.'&And do you think he's right/' the filmmaker asked.&+ou mean do ( regard it as oneivable/' ueried the professor.&+es!' said Carl.&Oh! in some shape or form ('d imagine so!' 0art replied. &+ou'd agree with thatwouldn't you! Amy/'&+es! probably!' she answered. &( don't know for sure.'&And Sebastian/' asked the professor. &5hat do you think/'&+es! ('d go along with Amy!' he replied. &(n theory one has to onede that if humans are $ust mahines then there's always the possibility of building a better mahine. Though ( suppose at first blush the onse uenes of suh a thing are rather disturbing. Certainly in suh irumstanes human beings would beome seond lassiti6ens.'&5ell! 2rant 3irth doesn't think we'd be any kind of iti6ens at all4' interposed the professor. &Aording to him the mahines will $ust deide to get rid of us. #is thesis  7is that the only way to survive will be to beome a mahine oneself4 #is solution isthat we'll all going to have to end up as mirohips the si6e of one entimetre ubes4'&+es/' remarked Carl wide)eyed.&+es!' asserted the professor.&Sounds like typial 2rant4' uipped the filmmaker. &So what exatly did he allyou about/' &#e wanted my views on onsiousness!' answered the Amerian aademi. &#ewanted to know whether our awareness of ourselves and our awareness of our feelingswas anything that was in any way unexplainable.'&All part of his program to beome a mahine/' smirked Carl.&( imagine so!' 0art onurred.&So what did you tell him/' the filmmaker light)heartedly pressed.&( told him what ( believe to be the ase!' said the professor! &whih is that our sense of onsiousness is $ust a perfet illusion. And like all perfet illusions it foolsus ompletely.'&8eally/' wondered the filmmaker.&+es!' said the professor. &+ou see people always have a sense of what one mightall “I” . +ou know on the more basi level the sense that it is ,( who is happy! or sad! or sees beauty! or feels pain. Or! on a more subtle level! the sense that ,( feel that( ought to do this or ,( ought to do that! or ( know it is ,( who is right now eatinglobster ravioli in the restaurant of Le *anoir aux 9uat' Saisons while talking to Carl:ress! or the sense that ,( an imagine myself sitting on a desert island or travellingto another planet. The onundrum is what   is this ,( and where  is it/'&And you're saying it's an illusion/' Carl inter$eted.&+es!' 0art nodded. &One has to understand that one's brain isn't like one omputer  but like several of them working semi)together! thus in reality onsiousness is some parts of the brain wathing other parts of the brain and then relaying to yet other partsof the brain what it sees. 0ut we're not really seeing anything   exept the mirage or themirror)like refletions of our own mental feedbak. (n other words there's nothingtangible about onsiousness! nor is there any exat loation where you an golooking for it! it's not a  physical   thing in any way at all. 0ut beause it's not physialdoesn't make it magial or mysterious or miraulous % yet you'd be surprised howmany people somehow want to see it that way.'&+es! ( agree!' added Sebastian. &Treating onsiousness as something speial isreally $ust a form of intelletual self)deeption. (t's an attempt to elevate ourselves beyond our station by arguing that we possess this fantastially sophistiated attributealled ,onsiousness when in fat it would be a lot more honest to aept that itisn't that sophistiated at all.'&+es!' refleted Carl. &0ut it's still true that we have very strong sense of  I  .'&( know!' said 0art! &but no matter how strong it is! it's still something floating inmid)air. The idea that it's physially somewhere in one's brain is nonsense; as is allthe stuff about neural arwinism and non)omputable numbers! whih ( wouldn'teven dream of boring you with. To me the best analogy ompares onsiousness withstereo musi. 5hen you sit between two stereo speakers the musi as a rule willappear to be oming from somewhere right in the middle diretly in between them! but how can the sound be coming from where there is no speaker?  +ou now see what (mean by a perfet illusion/'Carl smiled and nodded. &+es! it's an illusion you an't see behind.'&<xatly!' said the professor. &0ut ( tell you the amount of aademi thought andink expended on the sub$et of onsiousness is mind)boggling4'&And that was the only sub$et that 2rant wanted to know about/' asked thefilmmaker.  =&(n essene! yes!' 0art answered. &0ut Carl! you have to appreiate!' he went on!&that in the ontext of Artifiial (ntelligene it's an absolutely fundamental uestion.+ou see if there really were something transendental about onsiousness! whihthere isn't! then the skeptis would argue that you ould never inorporate it into amahine. And! as onsiousness is in many people's eyes inseparably linked tointelligene! if you ouldn't mahinify onsiousness then you ouldn't suessfullymahinify intelligene either. >ow again of ourse some people will argue thatonsiousness and intelligene are not neessarily inseparable! but ( wouldn't be soonvined. To me any definition of real intelligene has to be teleologial! that is tosay that you an't have intelligene without having a goal! and to have a goal youneed to have a will  ! and one you start talking about a will you're getting perilouslylose to the type of thought proesses we braket under the phenomenon of what weall onsiousness. +ou see what ( mean/ (ntelligene needs a task to display itself. Tohoose a task you need a will. 5ill is dependent on onsiousness.'&+es! ( see what you mean!' oneded the filmmaker. &So 2rant must have been pretty pleased to learn from you that in his uest for A( onsiousness was one lessobstale to have to deal with/'&+es!' said 0art. &#e explained to me that as he saw it the most ritial milestoneon the way to reating a mahine with  superior   all round brainpower to a human wasfirst building a mahine with eual   all round brainpower. >ote the use of theexpression &all round'! one is not talking here about superiority in $ust a very narrowarea. That already exists! think of a poket alulator for example. >o! one is aimingfor a mahine with the full range of human faulties.' &(n effet indistinguishable from a human/' suggested Carl.&+es!' said the professor! &assuming naturally of ourse that you hose to give it afae and arms and legs and so on. 0ut mentally anyway it would have all the samefeelings as we do? love! hate! $ealousy! ambition! pride! fear! you name it. (n that senseit would be idential. And of ourse that raises the philosophial point of if you an'ttell the differene! then is  there a differene/ And again there's been an awful lot of hogwash written about how in some way a mahine ould never ,understand in theway we ,understand. 0ut ( think people who take that position are merely labouringunder a misunderstanding of what ,understanding involves % to me understanding issimply a proess of using one's memory to orrelate or assoiate one thing or eventwith many other things or events. (f someone asks you what a glove is! you'dunderstand what the uestion meant beause you know a glove is an item of lothingyou wear on a hand to protet it. (n other words! understanding is something thatemerges from extensive ross)referening of onepts you already know! andtherefore the more you know the more you an understand. 0ut one again! $ust likewith onsiousness! ( don't see anything transendental or mysterious about it in anyway.'&+es! ( agree!' added Sebastian. &(t seems to me that when it omes to things suhas onsiousness and understanding a lot of highly intelligent people get onfused.Though of ourse they'd deny that that's so.'&So!' in uired the multi)Osar winner! &you both believe that everything ould beat least as understandable to a mahine as it is to a person/'&+es! ultimately!' answered Sebastian. &(ndeed!' said the professor. &('m of exatly the same persuasion. Some thingsaren't understandable period beause they're antinomies % that is logial paradoxes.3or instane! think of my saying & whatever I!m saying now is a lie '. 5ell! ( an't betelling the truth beause ('ve said ('m telling a lie! but beause ('m telling a lie ( must be lying that ('m telling a lie! whih suggests ('m telling the truth! whih ( an't be beause ('ve said ('m telling a lie4 So there is no  answer! it isn't understandable. Or!'he smiled! &if you want to lie awake at night here's another one? I know a village  @ barber who shaves all those# and only those# who do not shave themselves!  ! now the uestion is who shaves the barber/' #e paused a moment to let Carl think. &Atuallymy advie to you!' he then added with a humorous twinkle in his eyes! &is not to wasteyour time on it! beause one again it an't be worked out4 0ut! getting bak to A(!and leaving logial paradoxes aside! ('m uite sure that in due ourse mahines will,understand far better than we do.'&And! if so! that'll be triky!' smiled Carl. &They'll be right on all sorts of thingsand we  won't understand why4'&+es true! very true!' said Sebastian pensively. &2rant may not be far out % themahines will take over.'&Though only!' refleted Amy! &a long! long way into the future.' &( don't know. That all rather depends on the rate of progress!' Carl grinned.&*aybe if r wek gets his way Sebastian might even live to see it4'&#a4' she laughed. &And if he does he'll be able to ask his new masters what theythink of &  semi$non$random '4'&*aybe4' smiled Sebastian.&5ell! ertainly for the short time until the mahines realise they don't need usanymore it will be like going to an orale!' said 0art. &(nitially ('m sure we'll be ever so pleased with these intelligenes we've reated! and we'll get answers from them tothings we never dreamed possible. (t's only later that we'll get our omeuppane.After a deeptively topian honeymoon period the mahines would uikly ome tothe onlusion that there was no point in expending their energy on us.'&+es! ( guess so!' Carl agreed. &0ut  semi$non$random / 5hat's semi)non)random/'he asked uriously. >ot having been with them the last time Sebastian visited Oxford!this was an expression that hardly surprisingly he had never ome aross before.Sebastian! abetted by some spirited and good)humoured uips and omments fromthe Laurensons! was happy to explain.(n fat it was late that night by the time Carl dropped the young <nglishman in >otting #ill on his way bak to The orhester! but a splendid day had been had byall.
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