Kevin Aylward B.Sc.
Adapting to all environments requires adaptable physical action. Fully adaptable physical action requires programmable emotions as emotions instigate physical action. Emotions (gene traits) are programmed by morals (meme traits). Morals are programmed by the environment. Emotions require consciousness.
"Understanding" itself requires consciousness, therefore consciousness cannot be "understood" without referring to itself for the explanation, therefore the "hard problem" of consciousness, is intrinsically unsolvable as it is self referral.
Consciousness, for example, the fact that humans are aware of their environment, is arguably the most difficult science problem to date.
There is no doubt to any of us that consciousness actually exists, although it may not be quite what we think it is. We all actually feel pain, anger, happiness, irrespective of whether or not there are some technical details that might suggest other aspects such as delayed responses, phantom limbs and so forth. The basic issue of consciousness is independent of these, although interesting, but nevertheless irrelevant aspects of awareness. Being mistaken as to where or when pain arises says absolutely nothing about the fact that we feel pain, and so such considerations will be ignored in these papers as beyond the scope of these papers.
Arguably, there are two main facets of consciousness. One are the actions and capabilities that are perceived to be attributed to consciousness, and the second is that we are actually aware of such actions. The principle issue being why are we aware of such actions that consciousness is perceived to take. Presumably, as these actions are mechanical actions, they could be achieved without any awareness being involved.
It has been held that consciousness is itself an emotion, as whatever it is, it is a trait of a Replicator, and a trait that we perceive as a feeling. That is, we feel that we are aware, just as we feel pain, therefore consciousness is an emotion. It is also a very special one. We can only feel emotions via our consciousness.
It is noted from emotions that:
an emotion is a conscious experienced trait of a Replicator, such that that trait attempts to maximize its replication numbers.
It has also been held that conscious/awareness is an emotion whose purpose is to recognize general emotions. It is therefore suggested that:
a fundamental feature of consciousness, is recognition of emotions.
In this way, consciousness performs its obligatory Replicator duty as a trait that maximizes Replicators, simply by ensuring that all other emotions do their duty.
Comment - many appear to doubt that consciousness has evolved due to a Darwinian evolution process and speculate all manner of methods. This is misguided. Since by assumption there is no magic, there is no other choice. There is no other non intelligently designed methods in a non animate universe, other than can be explained by generation, replication and selection.
Self Referral Of Consciousness
Consciousness is held to be an emotion. It is also held to be the recognizer of all emotions, therefore consciousness is the recognizer of itself.
The implications of this self referral immediately results in the impossibility of deriving an explanation for conscious awareness from its inanimate parts, and is proven in detail in the hard problem. That is, the "hard problem" of consciousness is therefore intrinsically, non-solvable.
It would seem that consciousness awareness must be accepted as is, that is, as a fundamental new axiom of science, much the same as the fact that, all inertial motion is equivalent, is taken as an inherent property of physics.
Biological Evolution Of Consciousness
To maximize human Replicator numbers it has been held that a Replicator that has generate-select-copy traits, i.e. an Intelligent Replicator, has a significant advantage over Replicators that do not have this property. It has also been held that emotions form very effective traits of a Trait Selector, of which an Intelligent Replicator is one such example. It has also been held that it is moral meme traits that invoke a particular emotion in a given situation, and that its the emotion that tells us how to behave. It was also held that emotions rely on consciousness to recognize such emotions. This notion is further addressed in environmental adaptability.
The above is suggested as the fundamental logic as to how consciousness evolves. Why we actually perceive such consciousness as awareness, and whether consciousness has an evolutionary advantage, other than as a byproduct of the Intelligent Replicator is another matter.
Overview of Consciousness
It may be said that the brain is a collection of billions of little Darwinian Machines all interacting in a complex manner as a coherent one. Much like the Borg Collective.
Consciousness is concerned with understanding the general properties of the environment.
Consciousness is all about having a general overall picture of the whole problem that can't come about by examining only the individual details. Its understanding of how things interact in a general manner. It achieves this partly via acknowledging emotions. That is, an emotion is that which results from a very complicated mechanical procedure, that is so complicated in its detail, that the details can only be summarized and reported to us as a general "feeling" to our consciousness. Consciousness thus acknowledges the difference between various emotions and acknowledges which emotion instructs physical behavior according to the situation.
Why Conscious Awareness?
From the above, the basic issue still remains...if, for example, as speculated by identification of a free will trait generator, there is no "I" that has any control over our actions, why is conscious awareness present at all? If this is indeed correct, conscious awareness would simply be an observer, something that just tags along for the ride.
Conscious awareness appear to be no more than an equivalent to a virtual VDU (visual display unit).
That is, consciousness does not appear to be a "thing" at all. That is, it is not a physical entity, e.g. a soul, and as such would appear to not be able to do anything.
Can consciousness produce a decision, that can not be made without consciousness?
All of the features associated with consciousness, apart from awareness itself, can apparently be undertaken without the notion that there is any awareness at all.
Does conscious awareness result in a different probability of making a decision, despite the fact that all conscious decisions would seem to be achievable without consciousness awareness?
It is matter of observation that how conscious individuals behave, is apparently a function of whether or not they perceive other entities to be consciously aware. That is, there is a distinction between how conscious and inanimate entries behave to each other. Conscious systems apparently discriminate differently in their action to other conscious or non conscious entities.
For example, a conscious individual has much less concern for slicing a tomato than the individual would have for slicing a baby. Groups of individuals are much more likely to demonstrate against cruelty to other conscious individuals than the would for maltreatment to a tomato. So, individuals appear to make decisions based on whether they consider an entity conscious or not.
Peripherally, if an individual experiences its own pain, such an individual will usually take a different action than if no pain was perceived. Thus, the machine that results in awareness, would appear to take action that is different from a machine that dose not.
Conscious awareness appears to be no more then a byproduct of a machine that develops "knowing". That is, for a machine to actually take action "as if" it "knows" (aware of) what to do for its best "interests", it must actually "know", as an in being truly aware. That is, Zombies cannot exist. The proposition is that any machine that behaves identically as if it is conscious, must be conscious.
For reference, the author is aware that some researchers postulate certain Quantum Mechanical properties may be required for consciousness to exist. This may or not be the case. However, aspects such as the alleged, but non-existent, "collapse of the wave", function play no part in consciousness, as proven here.
It has been held that consciousness arises as described above, all of which are fundamentally as an effort to increase the numbers of the human Replicator.
Consider the situation where it is ascertained that there is no current action that the Replicator can take in an effort to maximize its numbers. Since, the Replicator is designed to do whatever it takes to maximize its numbers, it will attempt to continue to do so. What is suggested here, is that the optimum strategy that the Replicator can do to maximize its numbers, is to determine what future action, based on past knowledge, it can best take to maximize its numbers. It is therefore suggested that:
the fundamental function of thinking, is to predict the future in an effort to maximize its numbers.
Clearly, seeing 4 skin heads with steel toe caped boots on the other side of the road, although not necessarily an immediate threat, can reasonably result in a prediction of possible detriment, such that taking an alternate route would be a reasonable course of action to take. Obviously, the more accurate the prediction, the better that one can avoid future detriments, and so therefore maximize Replication numbers. There will thus be an evolutionary drive to further increase this prediction ability, via brain size.
Thus, it is suggested that the fundamental feature of imagination, is simple an effort to predict the consequences of possible future situations. Of course, whether it manages to do so, is another matter entirely. Predicting the future is a very difficult action to do. Clearly predicting the future is so useful, but so complicated and so difficult to do, a very powerful imagination is required, in particular, the human Replicator Trait Generator, might well generate many traits that have no value at all to increasing Replicator numbers, after all, most mutant variations are non productive. Only a few mutations are eventually selected as aiding replication rates. To clarify, in this authors view, if one did not have the ability to fantasize about Start Trek warp drives, the ability to imagine a complicated future event that was directly resulted to maximizing Replicator numbers, would also not be possible. One must be able to fantasize about, essentially, any condition, if one is to truly be able to deal with any situation. There is no way for genes and memes to be able to predict what might not happen in the future, so there is no reason that an artificial limit should have evolved. An example should suffice to explain how general abstract thought has such a direct evolutionary advantage:
The atomic bomb. It is abundantly clear that the atomic bomb is a weapon of mass destruction that was developed specifically to protect human Replicators, that is by killing others that were killing the bomb developers. Such a technology was only possible because of the abstract mathematics and physics that such a general purpose consciousness was capable of. The essential capabilities of such an ability are no different to abilities required in areas such as architecture, music, painting, philosophy etc. It is simple irrelevant that such side effects might have no advantage to maximizing Replicator numbers.
It is held that the human brain is fundamentally a Darwinian Machine, that is, it generates, copies and selects traits. In processing this data (meme traits) towards a particular problems solution it necessarily generates large numbers of ineffective or redundant traits. Clearly there can only be a finite capacity in the brain in which to store these traits, any continuous processing might well fill it all up, and quite likely cause currently "in use" memory being overwritten by new data.
It is well known that individuals without sleep become disorientated, and ultimately suffer severe mental impairment, such as becoming delusional. It is suggested that one reason for this is that the brains "working meme ram" has become full.
It is therefore suggested that a main function of deep sleep might be to cleanup its working ram by resetting its contents to zero. It can only do this if all conscious processing is turned off. In short, a reboot of the human computer is required.
It may well be that dreaming, is partly a continuation of attempts to predict the future. However, dreams can be somewhat obtuse, which leads to a suggestion that there may be a component of flexing ones brain muscles, much like one does as a warm up prior to performing physical work.
(work in progress)
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provided full credit is given to the author.
© Kevin Aylward 2003-2005 - all rights reserved