What is consciousness?
I was watching I, Robot last night and i got to thinking about consciousness. They talked about random segments of code that could in the future simulate a conscious mind, the ghost in the machine. I got to thinking that what if consciousness what just the random order of atoms, and when looked at a whole, created some sort of mind.
On to another point, while watching the movie, seeing this robot with the beginnings of a conscious mind in an artificial body. What must it feel like to have an artificial consciousness, and is this where humanity could ultimately end up?
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Do not confuse consciousness with awareness. Awareness is inexplicably linked to perception, and perception is a collaberation of factors that are unique to life. Consciousness, however, is something that exists down to the quantum because even though atoms and energy probably do not have the tools of perception, and therefore awareness, they do display productive relationships. There is creative and destructive forces that stem from the quantum and these can be described as love and hate and consciousness can be described as these natural inclinations.
Consciousness is everything.
Consciousness isn’t really something you can give a name to, the word “consciousness” is just a pointer to “it”.
Consciousness isn’t inside of us, we are inside of consciousness. Everything we experience is really just an illusion, a holographic projection from our consciousness, therefore whatever we see, taste, touch, feel, is consciousness itself.
There are different levels of consciousness, ranging from rocks, bacteria, plants, animals, humans, the earth, the sun, the galaxy, the universe to infinity. It also goes the other way.
I don’t know the science but atoms are comprised of energy and energy has its origin of the quantum level. If atoms are quantum then energy is sub-quantum and consciousness is sub-sub-quantum. Yes, I believe energy has consciousness because if you study it, it displays creative relationships, atoms are an example of the relationships of energy.
@trek79, @laskey, I don’t know the science but atoms are comprised of energy and energy has its origin of the quantum level. If atoms are quantum then energy is sub-quantum and consciousness is sub-sub-quantum. Yes, I believe energy has consciousness because if you study it, it displays creative relationships, atoms are an example of the relationships of energy.
There are things that are confused for consciousness such as awareness, self-awareness and sentience. Even the simplest of life forms have rudimentary perception and perception is basically awareness. What makes something sentient? It is something that displays conceptual thought, it does not matter if something has conceptual thought but that it displays it. As you come up the cereberal development chart, self awareness becomes more and more evident. Self awareness is most likely not unique to humans. It is probably in dolphins, primates, definately cats and possibly dogs, for example.
Consciousness has been defined as self-awareness but I think it is rather that we become aware that we are conscious. The advances in perception and cereberal functions allow us to realise we are conscious but no doubt consciousness existed before any mind was developed enough to realize, become aware that it is conscious. If a rat runs past you, you do not say it is unconscious because such would conjur an image of a sleeping rat. Is the rat self aware? Perhaps, but by no means on the level of a human.
So if consciousness goes down to the level of a rat, how much further does it go? As far as perception? As I said, even basic life forms may have rudimentary perceptions. But I have mensioned the creative relationships of matter and even energy, romantically described as love, how can you explain this? Only that consciousness does not start at perception, or at life, but goes down the quantum scale, down to perhaps the most fundamental level of the universe.
“I was watching I, Robot last night and i got to thinking about consciousness. They talked about random segments of code that could in the future simulate a conscious mind, the ghost in the machine.”
Keyword “Simulate” a conscious mind. But could random segments of code ever be a conscious mind?
When we get to the point where artificial intelligence can accurately simulate a conscious mind, how would we ever be able to tell whether or not it is conscious? The same way we decide other humans are conscious, we ask them, and that’s all we can do ;)
This reminds me of a story I heard, about two meteorologist discussing weather simulations and how advances in technology are leading to better and better algorithms and software for predicting and modeling the weather. In that discussion one of them pointed out that no matter how good the model becomes it will still be a model – it will never actually be “weather”.
Now we could imagine an even more sophisticated algorithm that includes little people that go about their business and regardless of how they view the weather simulation, the little people in it will still open their umbrellas when it starts to rain, and if they don’t, they’ll get wet. =D
@laskey, I am not an authority, an expert or anything, what I have said is my view, completely disputable, it is not law but a philosophical theory. But I do not see consciousness as evolutionary, that it evolved from something simpler, but that it is the source of things that evolve. If everything has an equal and opposite, that some how nothingness was divided into two equal and opposite parts to form somethingness, then those two parts are love and hate, creation and destruction. Both of these two parts are consciousness. Consciousness is nothingness divided into two equal and opposite somethings, but consciousness is not nothingness, consciousness begins somewhere between nothing and something.
@ Eric. I have the same question as you. How is it ever possible to tell? I mean you can never be 100% sure… at least I don’t think you could. Is this even a question worth pursuing? To me it honestly feels and appears as if a consciousness/awareness exists outside the mind. But who knows, it could just be another part of my brain. Would a buddhist monk or someone at that caliber even truly hold the answer?
Awareness is a property of consciousness, with consciousness being the root of your perceptions. If someone or something external to you can re-direct your perception, they can effectively control your decision making process. This is the problem that the majority of humanity is facing right now. I’m sure most of you know that I have a lot to say (and have already said a lot on the topic of consciousness), but the upgraded ThinkNowLiveNow is going to blow your minds when it comes to this sort of stuff!
@mikeyw829, There is a certain point where it becomes a “knowing”. You just know in your being. There is no denial. Crazy synchronous things happen, strange phenomenons, predictions come true, things you read makes sense, it all joins up, and it reaches a degree where there’s a “click” that transitions from faith to knowing.
It’s hard to understand, but in due time.
Honestly, we like to seem like we know what we are talking about but you cannot really define consciousness, you can postulate theories and such but we don’t know its source, and it seems we don’t know its function. Scientists, philosophers and theologist have been contemplating it for centuries. But because we are conscious we know it exists, even if that is all we really know about it.
I just finished a philosophy class all about the mind and one of our topics was consciousness. For me consciousness is something that every single being that’s alive contains. It’s what keeps us connected to the world and there by connected to each other. Consciousness is our way of living in a changing world where we want to keep together.
@Daniel… I’ve experienced synchronicites, weird phenomena when I meditate, etc. That still isn’t to say it’s all in the mind. As I said my experience has led me to believe an awareness exists outside of the mind, but really can anyone ever be 100% sure?