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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #13291
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Further on that point, it seems quite plausible to me that symmetries are like tools that we create to fit the job at hand. Two of the places we find Noether's symmetries are space and time, where as said above, symmetry under spatial translation through space gives us conservation of linear momentum, symmetry under rotations within space gives us conservation of angular momentum, and symmetry under time translation gives us conservation of energy. But in the spirit of MDR thinking, it is rather easy to conclude that spatial translation, rotation, and the concept of time, are all mental constructs that simply do not exist at all independently from how we think about them, and would not exist at all in a universe with no intelligence to create and contemplate those ideas. Do atoms need space between them to do what they do, or do they just do what they do and we imagine the space? Do events need to occur in a time order, or do they just have complex relationships that we interpret as time order? The more I ponder these notions, the more clear it seems to me that our minds are adding all these concepts to a reality that is likely nothing like that at all, if it even makes sense to talk about how reality is without the context of a mind to say it (which of course it doesn't!).

    So if time and space are tools, like a fork that we eat with or a wheel we put on a cart, is it so surprising they exhibit good symmetries that make them easier to manipulate and understand? And is it so surprising that their symmetries don't hold up absolutely when looked at more closely? It is still perhaps surprising that these simple tools work at all, and it is still surprising that sometimes to find the places where the symmetries break down you have to look so closely that advanced technology is required, but on the whole, I'd say it makes more sense to say that Occam's Razor is not a principle that scientists use because it works, it is a principle that more or less defines the process of thinking. And of course that includes the process of creating an MDR.

    If one needs Occam's Razor to create an MDR by virtue of the limitations of our minds, then the result of that process, the discoveries of science, will necessarily end up looking surprisingly simple. Call it MDR evolution.
    Very interesting, i have always had a worry about Occam because some mechanisms only work when complex, eg, animals. And some really useful stuff, like steel, only works because of impurities. I like the idea that a working reality needs nearly complete symmetries but not complete, it leaves room for many changes (i avoid saying infinity) with individuality while statistically remaining the same overall. Like snowflakes to quote a well known example, or minds indeed.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  2. #13292
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    And doesn't GR support this argument since, IIRC, the conservation laws are local but not, perhaps, universal?
    Yes, GR does not support energy conservation very well, and neither does the Big Bang model because in a universe with a finite age it's hard to claim that you have time translation symmetry!

  3. #13293
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Very interesting, i have always had a worry about Occam because some mechanisms only work when complex, eg, animals. And some really useful stuff, like steel, only works because of impurities. I like the idea that a working reality needs nearly complete symmetries but not complete, it leaves room for many changes (i avoid saying infinity) with individuality while statistically remaining the same overall.
    Einstein's version of Occam said it best-- a theory should be as simple as possible but no simpler. Perhaps the statement should be expounded to be flexible to different contexts, because what succeeds is context-dependent, and what counts as "simple" is mind dependent. Just apply that to the whole MDR, and this is what we get.

  4. #13294
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Einstein's version of Occam said it best-- a theory should be as simple as possible but no simpler. Perhaps the statement should be expounded to be flexible to different contexts, because what succeeds is context-dependent, and what counts as "simple" is mind dependent. Just apply that to the whole MDR, and this is what we get.
    Nice!
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Einstein's version of Occam said it best-- a theory should be as simple as possible but no simpler. Perhaps the statement should be expounded to be flexible to different contexts, because what succeeds is context-dependent, and what counts as "simple" is mind dependent. Just apply that to the whole MDR, and this is what we get.
    So there is room for a MIR, as an unreachable ideal like Plato's perfect form, unless you inflexibly regard the MDR as the perfect (not the best we can do at the moment) form with no place for a MIR.

  6. #13296
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    So there is room for a MIR, as an unreachable ideal like Plato's perfect form, unless you inflexibly regard the MDR as the perfect (not the best we can do at the moment) form with no place for a MIR.
    Surely Plato like any MIR is untestable rather than unreachable? It’s not that MIR is out of the room, it's just impossible to know where phenomena come from as we experience our MDR
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    So there is room for a MIR, as an unreachable ideal like Plato's perfect form, unless you inflexibly regard the MDR as the perfect (not the best we can do at the moment) form with no place for a MIR.
    This is what I would have thought...

  8. #13298
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    Our model seems to shifting, entanglement creates gravity and spacetime as well as everything else. On that model all sorts of action at a distance realities become imaginable where they would be just fiction a few years ago. Sean Carroll has a nice everyman explanation in this week NS.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    i was listening to a podcast that interviews famous scientists... often questions like “what do you see as the most interesting question facing scientists in your field today?”. Answers range from things like explaining dark energy, or dark matter, or the future of gene modification or the fermi paradox.

    .... but it struck me that (i think) the most important ‘question’ is the meta-question of ‘who/what is asking the question in the first place?’.

    if we accept MDR, then the most interesting question (to me) is not the R part, but the M part!

    our best scientific theories perhaps tells us more about our own minds, than about any ‘reality’

    it is interesting to think about the future possibilities of general AI, whether conscious or not, whether ‘humanized’ or not.... how would an AI interpret its own MDR?

    there do seem to be a quite few people in AI research who started out in quantum mechanics..
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Neurons firing in the brain are doing the asking.

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    on another tangent... regarding models vs ‘reality’.

    one can have a useful/predictive simulation of a hurricane in a computer... however i don’t think anyone would mistake the model with the actual hurricane. (yes ‘hurricane’ is also a model).

    however when we talk about minds (AI or organic)... since we assume (i think) they are complex symbol manipulators.... could we say that an accurate simulation of a mind IS equivalent to a mind?
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Surely Plato like any MIR is untestable rather than unreachable? It’s not that MIR is out of the room, it's just impossible to know where phenomena come from as we experience our MDR
    If we leave that infinitessimal amount of humanity out of our science we are no better than an AI without sentience.

    We know that things are going to change in the future SMDR but we just don't know what exactly is going to change so we should not be talking in absolutes with regard to the current SMDR. While we cannot say exactly what any specific change is and test for it we would be foolish to say that change will never happen.

    There is a high probability that new and currently unknown aspects of knowledge about the universe will be revealed in the future. There is also a probability that there are aspects about our universe that we will never know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    on another tangent... regarding models vs ‘reality’.

    one can have a useful/predictive simulation of a hurricane in a computer... however i don’t think anyone would mistake the model with the actual hurricane. (yes ‘hurricane’ is also a model).
    Both are models.
    A computer predictive simulation is a model obtained by following the scientific process. (There is always objective evidence remaining which demonstrates the thinking which lead to such a model).
    'A hurricane' is whatever we mean by that term and once 'a hurricane' is described, we can observe that it too, is also a model .. just of a different type.
    How one could possibly confuse one from the other is completely beyond me .. Why do you raise such an odd query?

    Quote Originally Posted by plant
    however when we talk about minds (AI or organic)... since we assume (i think) they are complex symbol manipulators.... could we say that an accurate simulation of a mind IS equivalent to a mind?
    Again, it beats me why questions like this keep coming up(?) There is nothing magical about AI computer simulations! Armies of people leave an absolute tonne of information pertaining to how AI is constructed! The evidence of active human minds couldn't be clearer (or more objective) than that! Come to think of it: that's also what gives 'Artificial' its meaning .. for goodness sake!

    Even in the case of this information not being accessible, I am yet to see any AI simulation come close to emulating a human mind such that it would convince another human mind interacting with it, of anything other than its artificiality. Consciousness, self awareness, sentience and sapience only make their appearance in interactive conversations amongst human minds .. and those very characteristics are what distinguishes the human mind .. and a human mind is what is required to distinguish those characteristics .. and not anything existing independently from one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    If we leave that infinitessimal amount of humanity out of our science we are no better than an AI without sentience.
    What's with this 'if' assumption here? How can you possibly achieve that? Its a hypothetical for goodness sake! What is this .. magic or something?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG
    We know that things are going to change in the future SMDR
    How do we 'know' that?
    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG
    .. but we just don't know what exactly is going to change so we should not be talking in absolutes with regard to the current SMDR.
    And given that we don't 'know that things are going to change in the future SMDR' ... 'talking in absolutes' has no relevance to your argument .. and can be dismissed on that basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG
    While we cannot say exactly what any specific change is and test for it we would be foolish to say that change will never happen.
    Err .. what? Fallacious: Non sequitur.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG
    There is a high probability that new and currently unknown aspects of knowledge about the universe will be revealed in the future. There is also a probability that there are aspects about our universe that we will never know.
    No .. there is no probability .. for any of that! Prove it!

  15. #13305
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    Mind is memory, emotion plus processing power, usually operating on an incoming data stream. Most if not all AI does that without emotion. We tend to forget how important emotion is and we do not understand it very well,although we are getting better now that we have tools to observe what is mostly unconscious. It is more than just subjective versus objective. In all our modelling processes we should have some awareness of our emotional state, or our emotional reasons for thinking about something. Our emotions are primitive and evolved for our survival. The frequent objection to MDR in that it seems to be ignoring the obvious reality is I believe an emotional response. It is a combination of startle and fear both of which are characteristics of change. Change is the reason we have minds. To point out that reality may be more complex than kicking the rock, is an intellectual challenge which also challenges our emotional stability which we have carefully built from infancy.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  16. #13306
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    Maybe the mind is the brain's mental model of itself.

  17. #13307
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Maybe the mind is the brain's mental model of itself.
    I don't think so, but it’s a group of models including what we now think of as the brain. That model is modern.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    So there is room for a MIR, as an unreachable ideal like Plato's perfect form, unless you inflexibly regard the MDR as the perfect (not the best we can do at the moment) form with no place for a MIR.
    There is always room for any belief, as long as one does not confuse it with what connects with objective evidence. We can believe that every imperfect circle reflects some aspect of a Platonic perfect circle, or we can just stick to what is in evidence-- we can gain understanding of, and power over, the objects we call circles by holding up next to them an ideal template that is the perfect circle. I never saw any need for the "Platonic form" to be anything beyond a conceptual template, a part of our MDR, but everyone is free to believe there is some perfect circle out there somewhere to compare to. That's just how I see the MIR concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Maybe the mind is the brain's mental model of itself.
    I think that is what we must conclude a student of the mind means when they talk about "the mind," they really have no choice there (though it need not be a single model, any more than "the electron" is a single model). Indeed we should all mean that, when we talk scientifically about "the mind"-- we should not try to mean something else, something that the mind "really is" outside of our ways of understanding it. The tiger-chasing-its-tail element of this bothers some, but I say we cannot be bothered because this is all we get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    The tiger-chasing-its-tail element of this bothers some, but I say we cannot be bothered because this is all we get.
    Hi Ken,
    I know you've probably said this already x100 in this post but it's very hard to search!...
    Is it true you feel that: (not trying to put words in your mouth but trying to undertand your POV so apologies if i misrepresent)
    1. MDR is the only/default position one can have without having a 'religious' belief in some entity i.e. 'reality' is what we can test with our models and nothing else.
    2. It is the "mind" that creates the models
    3. "The mind" is also a model.
    4. Hence the 'tiger chasing it's tail' model of models making models in an infinite loop? Which came first- the tiger or the tail?

    Why doesn't this bother you? Doesn't this suggest a paradox? Or even logic that is somehow 'broken'?
    Often, when we detect a paradox it is a clue that our models are incomplete- and lead us to a 'deeper' model/ better/more complete/more predictive model. ( an analogy might be optical illusions which suggest a window into how our visual cortex works)
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Why do you raise such an odd query?

    ... I am yet to see any AI simulation come close to emulating a human mind such that it would convince another human mind interacting with it.
    Ok- so lets ignore your 'agrument from incredulity'.. "I can't believe it's not butter' :-)

    I raise the odd query because a model of a hurricane is not a hurricane. A menu is not food. A map is not the country. We all agree (I think?)

    BUT I think that an accurate model of a mind IS ACTUALLY A MIND because unlike a hurricane, a mind is a symbol-processing 'device'.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps you might say the universe IS ALSO a symbol-processing device- and that a hurricane is a form of computational system using air molecules, heat etc to generate an emergent structure that humans in English call the word "Hurricane".

    Perhaps you might disagree that a synthesized general AI would be a conscious-less zombie with no internal qualia. I think this is an unanswerable question as I don't even know YOU experience qualia.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    I like the smallest (5 - word) version of Occam's: "Don't multiply entities beyond necessity"... but perhaps the longer and longer versions with caveats and subheadings are more ironically humorous.
    I wonder if one can get it down to 4 words?
    Perhaps you could just shout "Parsimony!!!!"
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    What's with this 'if' assumption here? How can you possibly achieve that? Its a hypothetical for goodness sake! What is this .. magic or something?
    Speak for 'yourself' Selfsim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    How do we 'know' that?
    And given that we don't 'know that things are going to change in the future SMDR' ... 'talking in absolutes' has no relevance to your argument .. and can be dismissed on that basis.
    We know it has changed in the past or we would still think that the earth was the center of the universe. Only an AI wouldn't know if they were programmed with the latest science knowledge and had no knowledge or understanding of past SMDR's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Err .. what? Fallacious: Non sequitur.
    Only to an AI or a Selfsim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    I raise the odd query because a model of a hurricane is not a hurricane. A menu is not food. A map is not the country. We all agree (I think?)

    BUT I think that an accurate model of a mind IS ACTUALLY A MIND because unlike a hurricane, a mind is a symbol-processing 'device'.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
    Depends on what you mean by 'a symbol processing device', I suppose.
    The context where this would work seems to be fairly limited .. I mean does a snake process the 'symbols' you're thinking of?

    Quote Originally Posted by plant
    Perhaps you might say the universe IS ALSO a symbol-processing device- and that a hurricane is a form of computational system using air molecules, heat etc to generate an emergent structure that humans in English call the word "Hurricane".
    Well if I were to say this, then I would immediately see that using 'a symbol-processing device' as a means for distinguishing a mind from the universe or a hurricane, wouldn't be of much use .. but at the same time, I would also see the tremendous value in the models symbolized by the words: universe, hurricane, molecules, heat, emergent structure, English, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by plant
    Perhaps you might disagree that a synthesized general AI would be a conscious-less zombie with no internal qualia. I think this is an unanswerable question as I don't even know YOU experience qualia.
    Well .. you could just ask me whether I experience that or not, no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post

    Well if I were to say this, then I would immediately see that using 'a symbol-processing device' as a means for distinguishing a mind from the universe or a hurricane, wouldn't be of much use .. but at the same time, I would also see the tremendous value in the models symbolized by the words: universe, hurricane, molecules, heat, emergent structure, English, etc.

    ?
    There are those who view the universe as a 'computer'... Seth Lloyd comes to mind.... see also "Digital Physics"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_the_Universe
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    We know it has changed in the past or we would still think that the earth was the center of the universe. Only an AI wouldn't know if they were programmed with the latest science knowledge and had no knowledge or understanding of past SMDR's.
    How can a belief in the present, (or worse .. a truism?), of: 'things are going to change in the future', possibly serve as justification for ruling out other people's beliefs about the future as being 'foolishness'? Science certainly doesn't attempt resolutions of such matters, nor does it take notice of MIR beliefs (because of untestability)

    Were an AI to acquire sentience, such prejudices would have had to have been inherited from its human programmers and the same judgement of 'foolishness' (or 'not foolishness') remains .. Ie: it has nothing to do with with AI, or science .. (nor does conflating the past with the future).

  27. #13317
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    This thread has become awfully philosophical and convoluted. All I know is that the universe as I know it exists whether or not I do. The tigers will continue roaming the jungles, the stars will continue shining, the birds will continue singing. For this the concepts of MIR, MDR, SMDR are all irrelevant. I prefer my simplistic world view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    This thread has become awfully philosophical and convoluted. All I know is that the universe as I know it exists whether or not I do. The tigers will continue roaming the jungles, the stars will continue shining, the birds will continue singing. For this the concepts of MIR, MDR, SMDR are all irrelevant. I prefer my simplistic world view.

    There is no love, courage, free-will, music, sound, color, roughness, wetness, sourness, sweetness in the universe without mind. You can't have a bird singing without someone to know what a bird is, without ears and an auditory cortex to convert those sound waves into electrical impulses, and a mind to interpret the electrical signals into 'birdsong'....
    If a tree falls in a 'jungle' and nobody is there to convert those sound waves into electrical impulses.. did it really make a 'sound'? Whatever things it did by falling, i don't think 'sound' is one of them.
    But- for all you know- you are the only mind in the universe and it all dies along with you.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Neurons firing in the brain are doing the asking.
    And when they are asking "how does a neuron participate in the asking of a question", you see the tiger chasing its tail in greatest clarity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    This thread has become awfully philosophical and convoluted. All I know is that the universe as I know it exists whether or not I do.
    But to know that requires the way your minds works, does it not? So in the end, we all take the view we prefer-- that's what choosing beliefs is all about when there is not scientific evidence to decide an objective answer.
    I prefer my simplistic world view.
    And so must we all, for our limited minds will never have anything more than a simplistic world view, even the mind of Albert Einstein had to settle for that.

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