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Science

Consciousness May Be the Product of Carefully Balanced Chaos (sciencemag.org) 121

sciencehabit writes: The question of whether the human consciousness is subjective or objective is largely philosophical. But the line between consciousness and unconsciousness is a bit easier to measure. In a new study (abstract) of how anesthetic drugs affect the brain, researchers suggest that our experience of reality is the product of a delicate balance of connectivity between neurons—too much or too little and consciousness slips away. During wakeful consciousness, participants’ brains generated “a flurry of ever-changing activity”, and the fMRI showed a multitude of overlapping networks activating as the brain integrated its surroundings and generated a moment to moment “flow of consciousness.” After the propofol kicked in, brain networks had reduced connectivity and much less variability over time. The brain seemed to be stuck in a rut—using the same pathways over and over again.
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Consciousness May Be the Product of Carefully Balanced Chaos

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    a feedback loop.

    • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @02:43PM (#51383467) Journal

      ..feedback loop

      That's what I was just thinking. Every system in a biological organism is a negative-feedback loop, isn't it? Self-regulating? Why shouldn't the human brain work the same way on a fundamental level? Drugs that we use work because it alters the loop characteristics, right?

      • by Dread_ed ( 260158 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:50PM (#51384793) Homepage

        From the description in the article it would seem that consciousness is an emergent phenomena based on the interactions of multiple networks in the brain. Turn off the interactions (as they did with propofol) and the emergent phenomena (consciousness) dissipates. Or better stated, consciousness is not inherent in a part of the brain, but a result of the interactions of the different systems of the brain.

        If there are drugs that can inhibit or change the operation of some of these networks individually it would be interesting to see how the other networks are affected, and also to explore how consciousness is affected. The resiliency of consciousness, coupled with its plasticity speaks to a complex system where multiple, simple, and similar components interact chaotically. Tinkering with those networks individually could lead to some profound insights about the nature of consciousness, both objectively and subjectively.

        • Seems to me this finding supports:

          Epiphenomenalism --
          An approach to the mind-body problem that is a form of dualism and one-way interactionism (1), assuming as it does that mental experiences are real but are merely trivial by-products or epiphenomena of one particular class of physical brain processes, real but incidental, like the smoke rising above a factory, so that physical processes can cause mental experiences but not vice versa. Compare psychophysical parallelism. [From Greek epi on + phainein to sh

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Brain is a predictive modeling system, any modeling system must have feed back paths. Both Positive and Negative!
        the problem with feed back is getting too much, or too little. IE >1 you have a oscillator, ( seizure is a uncontrolled oscillation )
        The way to break oscillator is to add noise, randomness, that's why our nerves-system system so so noisy.. !!

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Reaction diffusion equations - there are hundreds in the human body doing things from handling the immune system, to regulating heart beats and the activation/inhibition of neuron activity. Every cortical unit in the brain has a particular purpose; remembering routes in 3D space or recognizing objects, shapes, colors and sounds.

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:35PM (#51384705)

      A feedback loop with some amazing pattern recognition abilities. A little bit of fuzzy logic for memory storage.

      That bieng said I don't think we will ever have our memories downloaded or uploaded. Every persons brain maps out uniquely. Can you image a hard drive that randomly scattered data,Yet could still sort through it?

      • Scattering data on a hard drive is normal. Have you heard about defragmenting? Downloading is just a matter of mapping out those data. Like in data-recovery. It's doable even if you lose your filesystem table.

      • Dont confuse consciousness with intelligence and intelligence with information. All 3 are utterly different.
    • It is that in part, but it would be more completely described as a dynamic self-interacting pattern that integrates external inputs and actuates outputs but can exist while disconnected from it's usual I/O channels because it can use memory as a form of virtual reality, however if you remove it's access to memory it has no means of driving it's dynamism. This is what makes Propofol induced states more like stasis or a temporary death and not like natural unconscious states such as sleep, which can involve R
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Correct, but missing the point.

      To clarify: remember that chaotic does not mean unbounded nor non-deterministic, just that the state becomes more and more dependent on the initial/boundary conditions as time passes. So to predict the state at time t0 you might need to know initial conditions to say 20 decimal places, but to predict at time t1>>t0 you might need to know initial conditions at say 500 decimal places, and so on, making the output deterministic in theory but unpredictable in practice (thou

    • "Every good regulator is a model of the system it regulates.." Theres your bread crumb..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When you realize that schizophrenics can't visually track a pencil waved in front of their eyes, you wonder if their brains aren't in a different strange attractor of their chaotic process.

    http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/10/31/eye-test-identifies-people-with-schizophrenia/46930.html

  • Anyone familiar with psycho-metaphysics has been aware of this since the revelations of the Brunswickian sect.

  • Gibberish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nintendoeats ( 1370249 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @02:10PM (#51383255)

    "The question of whether the human consciousness is subjective or objective is largely philosophical."

    I have a philosophy degree and I have no idea what this sentence means. I think they mean whether consciousness is the product of a deterministic process or some kind of dualism (a soul, whatever that is). Either way, the experience of consciousness must be objective because what the thinker experiences IS the consciousness. In fact, I would argue that consciousness is the only thing that can be experienced objectively, since all other senses and experiences are filtered through consciousness. Cogito ergo sum and all that jazz.

    But that's all rubbish anyway because as far as I'm concerned the question itself doesn't make sense.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      "Either way, the experience of consciousness must be objective because what the thinker experiences IS the consciousness."

      So can I observe that very consciousness and say "yes, that's the consciousness you described to me"? Because, lacking that, your definition of objectiveness is quite useless, both on its definition (objective implies verifiable, which can't be done if not repeatable by a third party) and its operative value (you can't inject -not even theoretically, consciousness into an object if you

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In fact, I would argue that consciousness is the only thing that can be experienced objectively, since all other senses and experiences are filtered through consciousness.

      Except that our brains process far more information than we are "consciously" aware of. I think if we had to be ever-conscious of everything we sense, we'd go nuts - which may be why "consciousness" developed in the first place, to provide a filter and focus for our decision-making based on sensory input.

      The Power of Habit [amazon.com] starts out with

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The neuro-"scientists" have this little problem that consciousness does not fit their models at all. (Neither does intelligence, but they have not noticed that little problem so far...) Hence they invent colorful non-explanations to misdirect others and themselves by claiming there is no problem.

      The real problem is that they are not doing science. They assume physicalism as ground truth and that is a religious approach, not a scientific one. Actual scientists would realize that the question is still open at

      • Perhaps the terminology has evolved some since I studied philosophy, but how can one perform empirical scientific examination of a phenomena without assuming physicalism? The dualism-type thinking I've encountered always reduced to religion or some sort of dualism-of-the-gaps where something like quantum mechanics (which I'd consider compatible with physicalism, although perhaps I err there) is referred to to allow some sort of voodoo dualism to persist perpetually just outside our physics models.
        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          There is no problem with empiric science without assuming physicalism. You make your hypothesis, you test it. If the test works, you get more confident. If it fails, you discard the hypothesis. No need for physicalism in any of that. Sure, as soon as an intelligent agent with free will is involved, things get a lot more fuzzy. But the same principles apply and it does not actually matter whether the free will is physical or not. What matters is that its effects can be observed.

          Also do not forget, that "non-

          • It's not a "magic" observer - it's just an observer who has become entangled in what's being observed.

            There are good areas of physics where you can indeed rule out hidden variables that have any effect on the physical system. That does indeed provide a scientific proof of physicalism, at least in these areas.

          • by Sique ( 173459 )

            Also do not forget, that "non-predictability" can be a good model for something. Quantum physics has some effects that are "random", like tunneling. Calling them "random" basically means "we do not know how they work, but they seem to follow a certain statistical model".

            What you are referring to is the idea of hidden variables [wikipedia.org]. But it seems that there are no hidden variables [arxiv.org] in Quantum Theory [arxiv.org]. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, God appearently really plays dice.

      • Re:Gibberish (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @03:48PM (#51383893)

        but the more we know, the more it goes towards "some kind of dualism", although certainly not a religious one

        I'd have to ask where you're getting this from. It's one thing to suggest that science does not yet have a good answer and so the actual mechanism are unclear, but it is quite another to suggest that a lack of understanding suggests a kind of mysticism that people refer to as dualism. In fact, I think that as we progress we'll eventually find that consciousness is hardly unique, but is merely that result of having enough sophisticated hardware wired together in the correct way. We're only scraping at the crust in terms of understanding the human brain and as our tools and knowledge improves, so too will our ability to make better hypotheses.

        We're also approaching answers to these questions with computers. I recall a story were researchers were able to model a simple brain in software and use a hardware interface to simulate the body by using sensor feedback to represent input to the software brain. It turned out that this robot behaved quite similarly to the organism which is was modeled after. [smithsonianmag.com] In time we'll be able to build more complex robots that more closely model our own selves, and I suspect that consciousness is merely an emergent property of the way our brains are physically arranged.

        We're increasingly finding more support for this as personality traits (empathy, aggressiveness, etc.) or other characteristics (sexual attraction [wikipedia.org], gender perception) are tied to different areas or the physical arrangements of parts of the brain. There's still a lot of work to be done to fully understand how the mechanism works, and studies that can show a casual relationship still need to be conducted, but we're getting closer and technological advances will allow us to conduct the types of experiments in the future, that are not currently possible.

        What will become more interesting is when humans unlock the knowledge required to build advanced consciousnesses or to modify our own biology in such a way to free ourselves from evolutionary baggage that often clouds or consciousness or manifests itself in other undesirable ways. Eventually consciousness will be no more remarkable than phototropism.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Au contraire, the question is where you are getting this from. Your position is certainly not a scientific one and you are rather severely misinformed about what software can do (most people are). You are also severely misinformed about how complex a human brain is. Still, it is quite likely that a human brain is not enough to do what smart human beings can to. Just not enough computing power.

          The problem is there is still absolutely no indication that human-equivalent intelligence can be implemented in mach

          • Re:Gibberish (Score:5, Insightful)

            by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:40PM (#51384735)

            Your position is certainly not a scientific one and you are rather severely misinformed about what software can do (most people are).

            Can you point out a specific problem with any part of what I've stated or demonstrate with sufficient proof that it won't work or cannot be done, not just now, but also at no point in the future?

            The problem is there is still absolutely no indication that human-equivalent intelligence can be implemented in machines.

            At one point in human history there was no indication that humans would be able to travel through outer space either. It was squarely in the realm of fiction and human fancy or utterly beyond our ability to conceive of considering it possible because we could not yet fly through the air or rapidly travel over land without the aid of other animals.

            There is no credible theory how it can be done.

            What's to stop someone from building a hardware approximation using circuitry or other approaches that models the human brain? We know that we don't possess the technology to do that right now, but that's different from claiming that it's completely impossible. Even if you can't build an exact hardware approximation (assuming you can manipulate cells in a controlled way, we wouldn't even have to use different materials so it's not even a requirement to use a computer if you can learn how to create brain cells and get them to arrange themselves in a particular pattern), if you can build hardware that's powerful enough to allow software emulation of a larger brain, what would stop us from being able to conduct this experiment? We might someday attempt to test this hypotheses and find that the it is wrong, but proposing a hypotheses (there's nothing special about consciousness, it's merely an emergent property of the physical construction of our brains, much like water freezing is simply a consequence of how molecules of water behave at low temperatures. We might not know exactly why it happens, but it can be empirically demonstrated to occur under precise conditions.) is definitely science so long as the hypotheses is testable. Just because we currently lack the ability to actually perform the test doesn't mean that it's not science.

            You seem to be arguing from a perspective of just because something hasn't yet been done it can never be done, while not demonstrating any formal proof as to why. To even declare it definitively impossible would require a far greater understanding of how the universe operates than we currently have available. Furthermore, we don't even need computers or software to test this theory if we can gain knowledge which allows scientists to construct and study primitive brains (of which we have enough living examples of to already perform rudimentary experiments). Do you also believe that such knowledge is also forever beyond our grasp and if so, why specifically? What is so special about it that we'll never be able to understand it more than other fields of knowledge that provide us a better understanding of the universe?

            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              Your position is certainly not a scientific one and you are rather severely misinformed about what software can do (most people are).

              Can you point out a specific problem with any part of what I've stated or demonstrate with sufficient proof that it won't work or cannot be done, not just now, but also at no point in the future?

              You have not pointed out anything with sufficient proof. You are arguing for a restricted model with insufficient proof. That is my whole point.

          • by ACE209 ( 1067276 )

            In physics, the whole is not more than it parts, as it cannot be. Expecting it to be _is_ some kind of mysticism.

            I think that'ts wrong

            The whole is often more than the sum of its parts, because the relations between the parts may play an additional role.

            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              The "sum" part describes the configuration. In physics, the function of the whole is fully determined by the function of all its parts and the microscopic relations between them. There are no unexpected or "magic" properties that suddenly manifest. In physics there are no "emergent properties" at all.

              • by ACE209 ( 1067276 )

                I always thought of an emergent property as something which you can't see examining all the single parts by themselfes without taking the relationships between them into account.

                • by gweihir ( 88907 )

                  If you kook at the individual parts, you also get all the ways they can form relationships.

        • Thanks, alvinrod, this is the first, intelligent input to this discussion today; hopefully it won't be the last.

          The question that always haunts me, is whether there is any objective reality to the feeling most have, that we are somehow something that is looking out through those eyes, so to speak; a soul or whatever. And by objective I don't mean anything deeply philosophical, but simply whether it is something that could be measured somehow; I suspect that is what most people would put in it. There is some

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If there's a non physical mind, how does it affect the physical body? If it gets changed by physical changes to that body (drugs or damage for example), how does that nonphysical mind get altered? If it doesn't, then what is it that DOES get changed that isn't the mind?

        • If you fiddle with the parts of a radio (say the antenna) that changes the quality of the signal and what it picks up. That doesn't mean the music you are listening to originates in the radio.
      • by Toshito ( 452851 )

        How do you explain the fact that drugs, and physical interactions with the brain (be it accidental, like injury, or voluntary, like implanted electrodes) can alter someone's personality, memories, mood, in fact all that make this person unique?

        How do you explain the results of a lobotomy? We only damaged the interface? The "real" consciousness of that person still exists outside his physical brain, but he can't access it?

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Simple, the whole is a hybrid. See my other explanation for more detail. Also, damaging an interface will severely impact whatever "listens" on that interface if the coupling is close enough.

      • The neuro-"scientists" have this little problem that consciousness does not fit their models at all.

        What specific neurological models does consciousness contradict and how?

        They assume physicalism as ground truth and that is a religious approach, not a scientific one. Actual scientists would realize that the question is still open at this time (but the more we know, the more it goes towards "some kind of dualism", although certainly not a religious one) and would search in both directions.

        What non-physical

      • Problem with that argument is that p-zombies are actually the dominant mode of human existence. Watch an episode of a popular soap like Eastenders or Coronation St. The lives they depict show no sign of consciousness nor introspection. And they're accurate depictions of the human state, far more so than any Descartes sitting at his desk trying to pin down his own mental states and getting misled.

        What philosophers call consciousness is mostly just an typical artefact of someone writing about philosophy - not

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Well, possibly. Most people also do not have actual intelligence at their disposal, but just copy what others do without understanding what they are doing.

          Your argument is insofar a good one as machines may be able to get to that level eventually. That is why I usually write "smart human beings" when illustrating to what level machines will likely never get. But if you are right, machines will, for example, never write meaningful code, do translation of more than superficial conversations, do meaningful res

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps I can help, one philosopher to another.

      The word "objective" has multiple meanings. We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.

      In the scientific context, "objective" usually means "can be observed by multiple extrinsic observers, and they all describe their observations similarly after the fact." This would forcefully exclude your argument, inasmuch as the phenomenon in question is precisely that which is used to establish objectivity. Put differently...the reason why we need multiple

      • As I was saying, it does seem that what he meant was dualism vs determinism as you suggest in your third paragraph. However, as to how to deal with the question as asked the real issue seems to be whether or not multiple observers are required. If only one is required than consciousness is plainly objective. If we demand that multiple beings observe a single consciousness than plainly it is not. However, I would have trouble saying that the consciousness only existed, or was only experienced "subjectively".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I was unclear. I will try again. And please remember we are talking about definitions of the words "objective" and "consciousness."

          On scientific objectivity:

          One person claims that he found a pill which, when swallowed, attracts dragons. He knows it works because he saw the dragons himself, very clearly. So, to be scientific, several people take a pill, most of them placebos, while even more people stand around and watch. The result: only the people who actually swallowed the pill see dragons, and they

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      From a practical side, conscientious can be, and sometimes is, described as an awareness of one's immediate surroundings. Thus, a robot that responds and reacts to objects around it in predictable way(s) could be said to be "conscious" to some extent.

      A "degree" of consciousness could perhaps be assigned based on knowledge of one's surroundings, such as the ability to offer different responses based on the "kind" of things around, and the ability to predict their behavior (usually based on observations, comp

      • Typo: "conscientious" should be "consciousnesses".

        Clarification re: "usually based on observations, computations, and/or past knowledge"

        Reworked: "usually based on observations, computations, and/or knowledge gained from an external source."

        • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

          Rats, I fouled up my corrections also. Doesn't significantly affect readability, though. I just don't want to be nagged by anal trolls. Let 'em nag. Overhaul English if you want to do it right.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        (My interactions with domestic telecoms would probably fill the checklist.)

        But I could trivially mimic your interactions and feel nothing.
        Hate is inferred from action but (so far) cannot be directly observed.

        From a practical side, conscientious can be, and sometimes is, described as an awareness of one's immediate surroundings. Thus, a robot that responds and reacts to objects around it in predictable way(s) could be said to be "conscious" to some extent

        I don't know that I think an ant has coinsciousness. I'm not even slightly convinced that a roomba does.

        • But I could trivially mimic your interactions and feel nothing.

          Trivially? I don't think so, at least not well.

          And we don't know what "feel" is exactly. It's easier to feel "it" than define it.

          I don't know that I think an ant has coinsciousness

          Since neither of us have been an ant, perhaps it's premature to comment on it. (Although I've had a boss who treated us as ants.)

          And as I suggested, "consciousness" could a matter of degree. Humans can adapt to changes in environment better than ants, and thus could be

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            Trivially? I don't think so, at least not well.

            Enough to hit every box on your checklist without breaking a sweat.

            They seem to adapt fairly well at colony level. They've learned to make their trails around areas we've sprayed with insecticide around our house, for example. At first they fell for it, but somehow learned to go around.

            The mechanics of ant scent trails haven't been completely unravelled but they act more like automata than anything else. And the collectively complex colony behaviour arises from pretty simple stuff.

            Perhaps it's a "distributed consciousness". Just because individual ants seem dull and drone-like, doesn't mean that as a group they don't "perceive" at a higher abstraction.

            Distributed consciousness certainly is plausible to exist somewhere, but there's no evidence it exists in ants.

            And as I suggested, "consciousness" could a matter of degree. Humans can adapt to changes in environment better than ants, and thus could be considered "more conscious".

            A paralyzed human who can't move, or adapt, or do anything but blink is still fully conscious to human standards.

            And as I suggested, "consciousness" could a matter of degree. Humans can adapt to changes in environment better than ants, and thus could be considered "more conscious".

            Can it? Is a single ce

            • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

              Enough to hit every box on your checklist without breaking a sweat.

              Paint me skeptical.

              And the collectively complex [ant] colony behaviour arises from pretty simple stuff.

              So does the human brain's activity: a bunch of basic cells hooked up to each other like a huge blob of gray pasta.

              A paralyzed human who can't move, or adapt, or do anything but blink is still fully conscious to human standards.

              Unless they recover enough to communicate experiences to compare, we'd have no way knowing. What "standards"?

              Can i

              • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                So does the human brain's activity: a bunch of basic cells hooked up to each other like a huge blob of gray pasta.

                So your arguing individual neurons are "a little bit conscious" or and that the brain is a distributed conscious?

                Or are you arguing that ants collectively have a consciousness? (The former doesn't really make sense, and the latter is conceivable, but there's no reason to believe it.)

                Unless they recover enough to communicate experiences to compare, we'd have no way knowing.

                See: The Diving Bell and Butterfly

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

                What "standards"?

                Well.. he wrote a book. So I'm going to posit that he's conscious.

                • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

                  the latter is conceivable, but there's no reason to believe it.

                  And there's no reason to discount it yet. We just don't know, or at least don't have a clear enough and agreed-upon definition of "consciousness" to score it on a scale.

                  I misunderstood what you meant by "blinking". I interpreted it as involuntary blinking at first. The blinking man was able to communicate, just very slowly. (That kind of must be how the New Horizons probe feels :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Consciousness cannot be defined as an awareness of one's immediate surroundings because

        A: It is possible to have a consciousness that exists in a vacuum.
        B: It is possible for that consciousness to believe that it is not in a vacuum because its method of detecting the outside world is faulty.
        C: A and B both being the case, qualification as a consciousness must not require knowledge of anything outside itself.

        Because of this, and some other sticking points, there is no test for whether or not something else i

        • I challenge you to prove A.
          Your first step is defining "consciousness" (good luck).

          Even presuming A and B, C does not hold. "Must" should be "may", since you don't know how the consciousness operates. And the qualification can only ever be done by the consciousness itself, never an outside observer. (And there can never be an outside observer and a vacuum scenario.)

          • I don't need to define consciousness to stipulate A because while we have been unable to create a firm definition of the word, the ability to exist without any external influence is an aspect commonly agreed upon about it. Yes, you could stipulate that it is not the case, but then you would be losing almost all literature on the subject and would effectively be choosing to speak a different language.

            C does hold given A and B. It's true that only the consciousness itself can determine that it is a consciousn

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      But that's all rubbish anyway because as far as I'm concerned the question itself doesn't make sense.

      If you want to reach any of the more interesting conclusions out there, you must first allow us to perform the logical equivalent of a division by zero. You don't want to hold back progress in the science of philosophy, do you?

    • Re:Gibberish (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @06:13PM (#51384915)

      I have a philosophy degree and I have no idea what this sentence means.

      That's a common danger with philosophy degrees, you can never be sure what anything means any more...

  • A collection of organs that evolved to work together and achieve homeostasis despite an environment trying its best to the contrary. We know that there are areas of the brain predisposed to certain activities, and we can call those "organs of the brain" striving for homeostasis as well.

    What's interesting about the brain as opposed to other body systems is how malleable it is. The brain can keep functioning normally despite severe disruptions like aphasia and injury, and can even recover to some extent (see

  • prefer the propofol. my brain ruts were not bad at all.
  • New? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @03:29PM (#51383767) Homepage Journal

    I thought it was pretty much established that anything interesting happens on the border between chaos and stagnation. Had an old book about it once.

  • Is "Carefully balanced" chaos still chaos?
  • "Consciousness" is passive. "Control" is active and predicates someone doing something.

    My camera phone is conscious of light bouncing off of images. It isn't saying, "This is what I'm going to do with my days on the earth!"

    Call me when a bot can pass a Turing test without shenanigans.
  • I recently watch a Documentary TV series on PBS called "The Brain WIth David Edelman" which I thought was excellent. There was a place where the series talked about consciousness. First, it pointed out how most of the activity in the brain is unconscious. When people are learning a skill, they are doing things consciously and badly, but later, it becomes an unconscious activity and is done more efficiently.

    I was going to call this Edelman's definition of consciousness, but decided that it's really his de

  • The brain seemed to be stuck in a rut—using the same pathways over and over again.

    Man, this really struck a chord with me. This is almost exactly how I would describe being really high on THC...

  • like the last grain of sand on a pile that tips it into a landslide, consciousness exists at that "critical instability" point. that's according to a friend of mine - dr alex hankey - who has been studying consciousness in a formal mathematical way for over a decade. i am _delighted_ to see that other people are finally catching up.

  • My whole life is the product of carefully balanced chaos!
  • "Every good regulator is a model of the system it regulates.." Therrs yiur bread crumb..
  • researchers suggest that our experience of the Internet is the product of a delicate balance of voltage around 120V—too much or too little and the Internet slips away

    There, FTFY

  • consciousness from chaos comes from an intellectual attachment to the universe being strictly material (and completely explainable through precise language), as if everything unknown is actually knowable or as-yet-unknown. leave a little room for mystery is all i'm saying

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