Shapes in qualia space

Discussion in 'Consciousness & Science' started by Bucky, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    There's a nice series of short interviews with Tononi about his IIT theroy.
    This one is very puzzling:



    I don't even think Robert Khun (the interviewer) really got what Tononi is saying. :D
    The whole idea of "shapes" in "qualia space" seems like a very obscure way to describe an abstraction that is supposed to be an identity with consciousness.

    It's both arbitrary and obscure... imho. If anyone can shed some light I'll be all ears!

    Thanks
     
  2. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    I'll watch as soon as I have time because from the title I have a feeling this is going to give me a new way to think about some things that are on the tip of my brain. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
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  3. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    So... here Tononi proposes that consciousness is a mathematical structure...



    But I've heard him say more than once that IIT is not going to solve the hard-problem, so it seems he's being a little disingenuous here...

    For those interested in some criticism of IIT here's an interesting analysis:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574706/

    Cheers
     
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  4. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    I think I got what he was saying and strangely enough it sounds exactly like what a high school friend of mine described to me a few years ago (she was valedictorian and went off to Cal-Tech to study neuroscience) about viewing consciousness as a multidimensional shape.

    Since this shape does not reside in physical space-time it opens the possibility of something like an eternal soul...
     
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  5. Lincoln

    Lincoln Member

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    You won't get that view from Tononi. I am pretty sure even with his new theory he still believes death is the end - I don't agree with that assumption - but the man is a neuroscientist. Even though his theory is an evolution in acknowledging conscious experience as more than an "illusion". I don't know how it will solve the hard problem like Bucky referenced above - there are a lot of phenomena that still won't be addressed by it. In my opinion this is a shift though. To even acknowledge consciousness and look into more without ignoring it - I see this as progress. I feel this is just the start and many more theories will rise. Maybe one day they will reach your friends statement above.

    What I take away from this interview, the more complex the shapes in structure and integrity. The more they can perceive themselves and essentially be conscious. That is my take on what he is saying. I feel like I could listen to that 10 times and come away from it differently though - he has a very vague way of speaking.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
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  6. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    it's like he's put a number of different things that we currently understand about nature together, (interactions between quantum systems, degrees of freedom, spacetime etc.), and sliced them in a certain way.

    He then measures things about this slice. He claims the things he has put together, the way he has sliced them, and the way he measures the slice add up to a number.

    And he claims that number tells us something interesting about consciousness... he thinks he can do something like weighing consciousness.

    I honestly think that this idea, this special slice and dice recipe, is vacuous, at least as regards telling us anything useful. It doesn't even tell us what consciousness is, but apparently if you follow his instructions, you can weigh it, how bizarre.

    But people keep digging away at the idea, thinking that their inability to understand why other people think it's so interesting, means they must have missed something. They must not have understood it properly.

    It's like the emperors new clothes. It's a beautiful example of how an idea can gain traction, without having anything useful to tell us about the world, beyond its title, that information is integrated...but we knew that already.
     
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  7. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    Bucky - thanks for posting. In the beginning Tononi claims that subjective experiences, as shapes, are unique to the living thing generating those shapes and not accessible to others as experiences. I strongly disagree and this conclusion is a result of his clinging to materialism. He then invents a thought-experiment, so only he and his staff can see them. But, he still is presenting these shapes as scientifically objective.

    Visionaries have been seeing the shapes of thoughts for millennia.

    His metaphor of a "qualiascope" detecting subjective experiences as math shapes and forms - might as well be an advertisement for thinking in terms of informational objects. He is headed in a direction I like!!!
     
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  8. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Interesting, are you referring to "thought forms" and the like?

    Can you shed some light?
    What is an informational object? How can it describe my experience of listening to Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" or being bored by a dull political debate? :)

    Cheers
     
  9. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    I am pretty confused as to how 1st person experience would naturally translate to some kind of shape?
    I mean, is the shape some kind of representation of the experience? And what is the shape of experiencing a shape of another experience? :D Is that a meta-shape?

    What confuses me the most is how one could claim that the shape IS the experience.

    Is there really any sense in the core of this theory? Or is Tononi smoking something too strong? :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  10. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    So you're saying it's a big load of bollocks... :D That was my first impression. Then I went ahead and read his "manifesto" and the subsequent revision last year. Now I am just confused. Maybe the 1st impression was the right one, Lol.
     
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  11. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    Aye, if things cannot be explained in clear unambiguous ways, I too sense meaningless bullshit. I understand the idea that there is something underlying spacetime. This thing existing before it is split into space, and time, and now jumbled up into spacetime (the way we have found to understand this underlying thing). None of that's a new idea though.

    What's odd to me, is that he takes things we do understand, in a way that makes sense to us, jumbles them up, and says he has found a secret formula that can tell us about how conscious a thing is in nature. I mean we don't have a clue what consciousness even means... or the tools to scrutinise things at really tiny temporal or spatial levels yet... so how the heck can you say you can measure consciousness... what on earth does it mean to measure consciousness... it's just vacuous to me.
     
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  12. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    It kind of agrees with my theory that everything could be considered to be symbol transforming into meaning and meaning is yet another symbol. A symbol is a kind of "shape".

    For example, a CD is a mathematically describable shape. It has ridges and valleys and the particular shape symbolizes data which is shape translated into meaning which is another shape. So light hits the shape or symbol of certain meanings and bounces off in yet another shape (albeit very quickly moving shape yet still mathematically describable) which we call a signal. This is then transduced into electrical signal (another mathematically describable symbol) which is then processed (more symbol/meaning transformations) and then possibly displayed on a screen or played through speakers in yet another shape or symbol or signal which can then be transduced by human senses once again into mathematically describable electrical signals and then more processing takes place (symbol/meaning transformations) which would result in yet another mathematically describable "shape" that symbolizes the experience.

    I think that a symbol to meaning transformation is the fundamental element of consciousness and if you get trillions of these transformations going on in a structured way (both hierarchical and networked) with various feedback loops going on, then the result is a highly complex experience of consciousness.

    A record is a shape (like the CD). The Akashic records could be thought of as the 5D shapes of all experience and the physical body could be thought of as the drive that is capable of processing certain segments of that record.

    Now since "the only thing constant is change", and every type of physical storage will eventually degrade, if the akashic records are stored in an eternal way, they must have a very slow rate of change (essentially zero)... if the Akashic record is light itself (which should not age relative to anything physical...) hmm... just high octane speculating now. :)
     
  13. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    I think the set of informational objects is just like the set of physical objects in many ways, just made of different "stuff" and described by different rules for transformation. They both have the property of being integrated and defined by their structure. The information science roots for information objects come from simulation work and object oriented programming. An app is an information object. Like physical objects, IOs can have a function or meaning associated with its internal structure. Unlike a physical object, its structure doesn't result in extension in space but in discrete bits and strings. And its active property is not an informational objects energy - but its ability to communicate or organize. DNA is an IO.

    Black Dog's digital or analog information makes an "object" that can keep its same "form" in multiple formats and in multiple physical mediums. You can recreate the music from vinyl, tape and a virtual drive.

    The classic place to start -- is to see numerical quantities and logical functions as a special cases of information objects.
     
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  14. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Ok, I do get object oriented programming and how it can be used to model "real" objects (as well as other abstractions)
    And I do get that Led Zeppelin's songs are coded as sound wave information on different mediums.

    Where I am lost is how "informational objects" can describe and ultimately be identical to my experience of listening to a Zeppelin's song. Actually, the description is feasible by modeling the detectable information running through my skull when listening to the music. But the jump to saying that that is my experience... no... it isn't. It's just what it looks like from outside. It has zero power of describing what is it like to listen to "Black Dog".

    cheers
     
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  15. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    So the shape of the electrical signals is the experience?
    How is that different from mind = brain?

    cheers
     
  16. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    You posted this in C+S where people will object if I post, but I'll just say that Tononi would not say that the shape describes what it is like to have the experience. However he would say that the shape would describe the depth of the experience.
     
  17. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    well said. I am sketching a process where what we experience has some scientific units of measure and they apply to subjective states. They are not a subjective state in itself.

    The model here is the inverse of the materialist worldview. Physical objects (big or really small) do not ooze information as organic molecules. Physical transforms in the brain are supporting mental activity, enabling bio-communication with the ambient informational environment. Mental activity (in this informationally real worldview) is detecting the informational objects, relating them to an inner personal database and ideally then searching the database of real-world activity for potential fulfillment. With this new orientation from linking together information objects - a restructuring of the information object's output from being understood - meaningful behavior can be achieved. The mind is sensing information objects directly and "reshaping" them in informational space.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
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  18. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Ok, thanks.
    But he claims the shape is the experience. If it describes the "depth" (whatever that means) then it's more aking to a map describing the territory, not the territory itself.

    p.s. = I don't think anyone will object if you are contributing to the understanding of a theory :)
     
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  19. EthanT

    EthanT Member

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    I started this video, but didn't get very far, had to run. But, I found myself having problems right from the get-go. I thought he said two of the fundamental assumptions of his theory are that (1) consciousness is hierarchical and (2) can be divided up (paraphrasing, hopefully not overly so). Now, on a superficial level, sure, I'll give that consciousness can appear that way. But, if consciousness is fundamental than those cannot be actual fundamental properties of consciousness, which means his theory can only go so far, if it's not wrong altogether, given that they sounded like core assumptions on which all else is based (at least, that's how what he said came across)

    Also, his analogy with his qualia-scope sure made it sound like consciousness is awfully localized according to this theory, in contradiction to the evidence for psi, NDEs, etc. Although, maybe I am taking the analogy too far?

    Am I totally off base here? Admittedly, it was 5 mins of a video on a theory I know very little of.
     
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  20. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    No, you have it right in my opinion - Tononi's theory is that brain activity wholly generates information processing, rather than brain activity supports bio-information processing.
     
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