011a-Why representation first or AI ESP
Representation and awareness must come first. the pseudo-scientific dependence on a materialist view or ideology cannot, and will never be able to arrive at, representation or awareness. these two things must pre-exist in science to be meaningfully accounted for or designed for in an artificial intelligence.
ESP is evidence of that. ESP or the supernatural succumbs to all the arguments for unicorns, but it is larger than that.
One of the upshots of materialist ideology is that the supernatural does not exist. The problem with this view is that so-called primitive people use magic or the supernatural to explain phenomena. Many people have deeply animist experiences of objects, nature, and other creatures. And ordinary people have anecdotal ESP experiences. Materialist explanations fail to explain how supernatural or ESP experiences occur. The dogma of materialism instead asserts that supernatural events simply do not occur.
Whether the events themselves are "real" is not the issue, the issue is that these EXPERIENCES happen.
In consciousness studies, there is an argument about the nature of qualia that is called the zombie argument.
Qualia are the sense of an experience. For instance our vision gives us experiences that are not physical. Magenta is not a wavelength of light for instance but it is an experience of color that we have. The wave lengths of light are not colored, we experience those energies in that way. We experience vibrational energies as sounds through our ears, or as that great bass rumble through our bodies on the dance floor. These are all different experiences, different qualia.
A Zombie would have the same physical construction as a human being, but would not have consciousness. So, what colors would it experience? A materialist who believes consciousness is some side-effect, or causative outcome of the brain would argue that the zombie would have the same experiences as a person. Others argue that the absence of consciousness would also mean the absence of certain kinds of experiences. Like the experience of magenta, because magenta is not physically caused.
*note: see chalmers/dennett and church
The materialists have a much deeper problem than qualia though. In a strict materialist model, a person and a zombie should be indistinguishable. A physically identical human without consciousness should only "experience" it's sensory inputs and it's internal processes. Meaning that zombies should not believe in a supernatural world (eg, gods, demons, magic etc) because all their ideas MUST descend from their sensory experience or their physical development. Supernatural/fantasy experiences are denied by materialist ideology; because, the supernatural does not descend from a materialist world, which is all a zombie should experience.
Supernatural experience is criticized as being explicitly impossible by the materialist. Therefore, a zombie should never have a supernatural experience. But people have supernatural experiences, thus the difference between a person and zombie is one that must be explained outside of materialism.
Moreover, a materialist world view presents a second problem. Why should materialism, especially a strict materialism, be a highly developed way of thinking, versus the most ordinary way of thinking?
That is, both children and so called "primitive" peoples should be closer to the bone of material-based cognitive development and should therefore have experiences more closely tied to sensory experience. But it is children and "primitive" people who are the ones who most believe in angels gods demons etc. What happens to brains once they develop to something past animals that they begin to have outrageous fantasies? Perhaps animals engage in even more fantastic representations?
In materialism, religious beliefs like all supernatural beliefs and experiences are outrageous. Materialism never gets to God, and yet gods and spirits are enmeshed in all human cultures. Perhaps the most early human cultures were explicitly non-"spiritual", but encounters with indigenous cultures and their pharmacopeias indicate otherwise.
Materialism discounts the idea of gods and spirits usually as projections from our brains, sort of neurological side-effects. The idea of gods and spirits as projections of human like consciousness is anthropomorphizing and animist. It is exactly the same experience and argument for the existence of gods and spirits. That is, gods and spirits are anthropomorphic, but arguments that rely on anthropomorphizing man do not explain how gods and spirits arise in experience. Discounting gods and spirit experiences does not explain the mechanism that generates those experiences in a materialist model.
Cultures, religions, and scientific ideologies are attempts to understand and create consistent models of experience. Our god/spirit projections fail to account for the growing complexity of experiences and reasoning as culture has developed. This is why cultures change and religions come and go. But, because god/spirit projections and experiences exist, that is a fact that requires explanation by any model of consciousness. And necessarily, from one that provides a framework to produce an artificial mind.
ESP and supernatural experience must be explained and not merely dismissed. A model of consciousness MUST explain them. It isn't that the extrinsic facts of ESP must be explained anymore than the extrinsic facts of unicorns must be explained. What must be explained is the supernatural or ESP EXPERIENCE.
What is interesting about supernatural experiences is that they arise at all. A sufficiently advanced artificial consciousness should be EXPECTED to experience them. An AI should be able to have an animist experience, at least as well as a child. What we see with children's dolls and stuffed animals and action figures is something that looks very much like animism. This behavior is something we should expect to see in our development of an AI.
Why do ESP experiences happen at all?
Synchronicity[Carl Jung: Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle.] provides a model to explain how ESP events originate. They originate in the realm of meaning. But meaning is excluded from materialist ideology. Meaning can be supernatural in an ordinary way. Therefore a creature that creates or discerns meaning may create or discern supernatural meanings, even for ordinary experiences.
That supernatural meanings exist seems to be driven more by the epistemic narrative structures a person works with than by some external fact of supernatural or ESP phenomena. This narrative problem must be accounted for in a theory of consciousness. Epistemic narratives which confer meaning (supernatural or otherwise) arise from representation and not from materialism or a material externalism. Simply, our narratives and explanations arise from our ideas and not from a material objective world.
An AI or a group of AIs should be expected to develop their own culture and epistemic narratives and structures to understand THEIR world. That these narratives and structures may involve magic and supernatural explanations does not seem improbable.
Representation, especially representations of self, seem to naturally lead to anthropomorphic and animist thinking. As a conjecture, an AI, like an alien, would develop its' own set of ideas that would appear animist and "anthropomorphic". This path of representation results from the power of the epistemic structure of a self as seen in the world and in others beings.
The humorous question is, what do you do with an AI that thinks it has ESP when it really doesn't? When an AI believes it has ESP do you put it in the looney bin? What do you do with an AI that actually does have ESP? Perhaps you burn it at the stake*?
A note about Apophenia, which is the detection of patterns or meaning in random data. Apophenia is not a critique of ynchronicity itself, it is a critique of the content associated to such an experience. That an experience is claimed to be supernatural is an after the fact claim about an experience. Claiming that an ESP experience is apophenic (?) is a similar after the fact claim. The problem is explaining meaning at all. Apophenia does not deny the existence of meaning, but any rigorous materialist view point must explicitly deny meaning and ideas. The fact that there are ideas, that ideas make sense is, fundamentally, a synchronicty - an acausal connection between events or experiences. Nearly all ideas can be shoehorned into the idea of synchronicity, because without acausal meaning, we do not have ideas at all. To claim that some ESP like event was in fact an example of apophenia is itself an acausal association. Not that the content of the claim would be incorrect, but the fact of distinguishing events as synchronicities are apophenias originates from where? The claim of apophenia is a supernatural claim about the kind of world the claimant believes the external universe to be.
It is the generation of any kind of idea, whether it is apophenic or not which is the fundamental problem. As I argue here, awareness and representation are first principles, are existential facts about the the universe. Describing the characteristics of experiences, as apophenia or synchronicities, is a secondary construct of the pre-existing fact of representation making. Apophenia or synchronicity are ways to structure ideas and experiences that occur; they are ex post facto descriptions.
A note about randomness and patterns. The existence of patterns is not a feature of physics. Our physical model is an atomic (or sub-atomic) model, where our physical universe is built from the bottom up. When we see a pattern, either a pattern that is random or not random, this is a side-effect of physics. Randomness is not a feature of physical phenomena, randomness is our recognition of a pattern in phenomena. Randomness in some sample sets becomes a pattern in larger sample sets. We speak about randomness as if it were a kind of force in the universe, but this is not correct. Randomness is our own apprehension of a pattern. The problems with randomness and patterns will become more obvious later when we begin to address the problem of state in developing machine consciousness.