reply to post by badmedia
"Machine consciousness" is the simulation of conscious things. That is possible, so long as you realize it is only a simulation and not real.
This is still an apparent fundamental disconnect between our positions. While you may have used the brain as an inspiration, filling in the gaps with
your own devices, I know you didn't actually emulate all the various independent and codependent regions because... well, nobody has. There's still
quite a few areas we haven't fully explained in terms of function or operation, or that we simply don't have a high enough resolution (yet) to
accurately differentiate some of the more subtle interactions.
However, we do have a few working models of various regions - such as the visual and auditory cortex. Most of these aren't fully comprehensive (as
they've been compartmentalized) and represent rough working drafts, etc.
One of the most promising projects in these regards is the Blue Brain Project out in Switzerland who are trying to emulate the neocortical column in
mammalian animals, eventually expanding out into full neocortex emulation - and from there, the entire mammalian brain. They preformed working
simulations of the column in 2006, and are now finishing up their initial research and working on a molecular level emulation capable of accounting
for the various electro-chemical pathways for study into the effect of gene expression.
Keep in mind, that although an integral structure in the Neocortex (where our higher cognitive functions are processed), they are only working on rat
brains IIRC. The processing power simply isn't there yet for full brain mapping and emulation... even for a rat brain. We are still quite a few years
off from human brain emulation and there's still lots to discover.
Wikipedia: Blue Brain Project
Blue Brain Project Home
BBC News: Simulated Brain closer to Thought
BBC News: Simulated Human Brain 10 years away.
Exert from the above:
For example, they can show the brain a picture - say, of a flower - and follow the electrical activity in the machine. "You excite the system and it
actually creates its own representation," he said.
However, I find their claims of 10 years to simulated Human brain to be a bit optimistic. We'll have to see. I was wrong thinking the Human Genome
Project wouldn't be finished on time as well.
... but then again, lol, proteins. The true work started after the genome was sequenced. Such may be the case here as well, and I don't hold out much
hope for consciousness in the final emulation if corners are cut or the simulation slightly dumbed down due to budgeting or processor inequities.
It seems you're not fond of explaining phenomena by way of emergence, but there seems to be quite a bit of it going on in our heads, based on the
above papers and the New Scientist video on Page 1, it's not exactly uncommon to find there.
And the universe/creation itself is based on logic, action and reaction. So, if what you say is true, and consciousness is merely a function of
the brain - then it also means we do not have those things. The problem is this - I know that is not true in myself, if in nothing else.
I take it this is regard to Free Will? At it's basest level, no, I don't think we have free will. However, it is literally impossible for us to know
all of the variables which will go into creating the stimuli which propels us. To abolish the practical application of free will, you would need a
perfect understanding of each and every interaction of each and every sub-atomic particle on up in our universe from it's beginning to the point of
execution of will.
Even with a sufficiently high enough accuracy on more immediate cause and effect reactions, and it was accurate 99.9% of the time... it still
wouldn't abolish error or uncertainty.
... and there's just not enough energy in the universe to power a perfect simulation of the universe.
So while we appear to live in a strictly linear universe, our understanding and modeling of it are realistically well into the non-linear realms. In
essence... it's a moot point whether we have free will or not, because for all practical/realistic intents and purposes - we do.
[edit on 18-8-2009 by Lasheic]