35C3 – The Ghost in the Machine

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An Artificial Intelligence Perspective on the Soul

Artificial Intelligence gives us a uniquely fascinating and clear perspective at the nature of our minds and our relationship to reality. We will discuss perception, mental representation, agency, consciousness, selfhood, and how they can arise in a computational system, like our brain.

Cognitive Science describes our mind by identifying it as a particular kind of machine, a generally intelligent computer built from a nervous system embedded into the body of a social primate. Intelligence can be understood as a system's ability to create models, usually in the service of regulating the interaction of this system with its environment. But how does such regulation give rise to a sense of self and conscious awareness?

This is the fifth installment on the series From Computation to Consciousness, which covers philosophy of mind, epistemology, the nature of consciousness, the emergence of social structure and the relationship between mind and universe using concepts from computer science and Artificial Intelligence.





Funny how people pretend to know and try to simulate consciousness without having any sientific proof of what it is.

Oscar Garcia says:

What does he say at 6:22 when he says: "If you want to understand what's true you have to look for __?__ motive and you have to be autonomous." ?

De Los Libros says:

Great talk! Thank you Joscha.

Lukas Majerik says:

Amazing man, I loved every second of this. Thank you !!

Eric Hiatt says:

"Observe" is too vague of a term. This has to be defined in terms of some level of recursion, which manifests as subjective phenomena that comprise "awareness".

The problem with "infinite" sets and the power sets of these and so on is that they don't exist. That is, they have no manifestation within the ontological substrate of any possible Universe. So the fact you end up with nonsense is because you were playing with nonsense to begin with. To see what would "really happen" with such mathematical constructs would be the same as seeing what really happens in the ontological substrate of the Universe as these structures actually manifest. But of course no such absurdities can exist.

The main issue with mathematics is that it needs to determine which of its structure can actually manifest as ontological reality. Until it does that, and nonsense results continue to emerge, then the reasonable assumption is that the absurdity means the particular mathematics is nonsense.

thewiseturtle says:

I love Josha! He's got a beautiful mind and has been so lucky to have been given the resources to use it. I feel sad that he doesn't feel like he belongs here in the universe, and that his ideas haven't allowed him to feel like life has a purpose, which he's absolutely serving exceptionally well, but I think he's getting closer to a model of reality that will help most humans be healthier and more able to serve life (evolution/entropy) as it aims to continually take apart the older things and recombine them in novel ways to make more creative, collaborative, and complex stuff that expands life ever outward into space.

Pollen Applebee says:

Really enjoyed this talk, although I do think he glosses over the mind-body problem a bit, and this is confirmed at the end of his talk when he says: "there is no meaning." There is a deeper question here: what is the space of possible experiences? Or, put another way: what is the nature of qualia-space? Why does pain feel the way it does, and not some other way that is also negatively valenced but subjectively feels completely different than the pain we actually feel? I think this question hints that there is more to the story, and the question of "meaning" is wrapped up in this discussion, so I think his statement was premature…meaning exists, we just don't understand it.

paeinlicz says:

Pro tip: watch at 0.75x speed! 😉

piechulla1966 says:

Being a humble programmer, i always had problems understanding Ludwig Wittgenstein. Great! Can we expect an explanation of Martin Heidegger's "Unzuhandenheit" ("Breakdown of technology" in Winograd/Flores) in the next talk at CCC?

Ralph Ulrich says:

Love is common purpose. And religion pushes this love beyond family.

Sebastian Roy says:

This guy has such a deep understanding about the world and about the human mind.

A Tribe Called Blyat says:

Danke Joscha!

Sebastian Scholz says:

this dude has to chill a little. he throws thesis after thesis at you and there's no time to actually think about them xD

Luram says:

If you didn't understand the first part (the presentation of his model of reality) you should still watch the second part (Q&A). It's very rich in content and value and doesn't necessarily require information from the first part!

Zu_alt_fuer says:

imho best talk of 35c3

Peter P-a-n says:

All mortals, use j-, k-, l-keys to pause and digest this wonderfully dense talk. You're welcome.

sardab al mardab says:

awesome talk! by the way is it me or the audience seems little intoxicated maybe? kinda not polite? Baudelaire once said the following after he was asked about The public

"In this regards, my friend, you're like the public, to whom one should never offer a delicate perfume. It exasperates them. Give them only carefully selected garbage."

Bystroushaak says:

Wonderful, almost poetic.

tsz Online says:

interesting, but missing some pragmatism and phenomenology.

Vivie Moraiti says:

Too bad that this talk isn’t accessible to me because of lack of proper captioning . Subject of talk looks interesting though.

Alexander Biersack says:

Haha, confusion is so great. Independent of that more people should know about Hilbert, Model theory, Gödel, undecidability and von Neumann, Turing and Alonzo Church and Turing Machines,…

szymborska says:

1:00:22 The idea that there are no such things as hive minds, just people emulating what the group wants is contradictory- how is it even possible for a group to want anything if groups are merely composed of emulating individuals? If you deny the hive mind then there's nothing for the individual to emulate, as it's impossible for groups to want something. Would all groups then in reality be a single individual's will imposed on everyone else? I don't think so. Consciousness/desire/will, whichever you prefer, are more black and white- either there's consciousness or there isn't. Number is irrelevant, as consciousness interacts with itself across bodies, creating feedback loops and vectors for mass action beyond an individual participant's preview. Consciousness is >0, and likely doesn't fall into whole numbers- the set up of a discrete individual vs a group composed of discrete individuals isn't necessary.

-R O B- says:

Joscha Bach is absolutely fascinating. It will take some time to digest all these thoughts, but it is definitely worth it. I also highly recommend his other talks, and also his appearances in podcasts (like Singularity.fm) where he has some more time to get the idea across.

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