Wednesday, September 20, 2017

674: Welcome to The Chinese Room......

As I mentioned previously, many people still think that the brain is a digital computer and that the conscious mind is a computer program, 
though mercifully this view is much less widespread than it was a decade ago. Construed in this way, the mind is to the brain as software is to hardware.
The most famous proof, that the mind is just a computer program is of course HAL - 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssee”
OK, our computer technology is not yet advanced enough, but with the help of the programming language PROLOG , for instance, we already can create sophisticated expert systems.
"The Myth of the Computer," was the title of the article by John Searle in The New York Review of Books, April 29, 1982 (!), that came with a refutation of this Artificial Intelligence claim
HAL was born in 1968. So, the SF dreams about computers with a mind was already around. Searle showed, that such a computer was doomed to stay science fiction.
A computer is by definition a device that manipulates formal symbols. These are usually described as zeros and ones. 
Computation, so defined, is a purely syntactical set of operations, in the sense that the only features of the symbols that matter for the implementation of the program are the formal or syntactical features.
But we know from our own experience that the mind has something more going on in it than the manipulation of formal symbols; minds have contents. 
For example, when we are thinking in English, the English words going through our minds are not just uninterpreted formal symbols; rather, we know what they mean. For us the words have a meaning, or semantics.
In Searle’s own words: “I have illustrated this point with a simple thought experiment. Imagine that you carry out the steps in a program for answering questions in a language you do not understand. 
I do not understand Chinese, so I imagine that I am locked in a room with a lot of boxes of Chinese symbols (the database), 
I get small bunches of Chinese symbols passed to me (questions in Chinese), and I look up in a rule book (the program) what I am supposed to do. 
I perform certain operations on the symbols in accordance with the rules (that is, I carry out the steps in the program) and give back small bunches of symbols  answers to the questions) to those outside the room. 
I am the computer implementing a program for answering questions in Chinese, but all the same I do not understand a word of Chinese. 
And this is the point: if I do not understand Chinese solely on the basis of implementing a computer program for understanding Chinese, 
then neither does any other digital computer solely on that basis, because no digital computer has anything I do not have. (…)
The Chinese Room Argument-as it has come to be called-has a simple three-step structure:
1. Programs are entirely syntactical.
2. Minds have a semantics.
3. Syntax is not the same as, nor by itself sufficient for, semantics.
Therefore programs are not minds.”
Step 2 says it all: when we think in words or other symbols we have to know what those words and symbols mean. That is why I can think in English but not in Chinese
Our mind has more than uninterpreted formal symbols running through it; it has mental contents or semantic contents, which means, it is more than just like a computer program.
Thank you for your attention… ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
John Searle: The Mystery of Consciousness (1997)
Antonio Damasio: Self comes to Mind (2010) Bruin/F. Jongepier/ Maargt: IK, Filosofie van het Zelf (2017)

 The Discussion

[13:20] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:21] herman Bergson: Reread a few lines if you like....
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): very true herman, a computer can not make sense of anything it does, it just blindly follow instructions
[13:21] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita
[13:22] herman Bergson: and on a syntactic level
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe we have to be careful with the instructions for a computer
[13:22] herman Bergson: why so, Beertje?
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and what is more, a computer dont even understand lava, python ect, it only "understands" a set of maybee around 100 basic instructions and all programming languages have to be translated into those specific instructions for the cpu to get anything
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): who knows what a computer can do in the future?
[13:23] Ciska Riverstone: because the computer takes it "literally"
[13:23] herman Bergson: we do, for we construct it ourselves
[13:23] Ciska Riverstone: it shows us basically where we not conscious yet on how we do things...
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this is java translated into the base code the cpu understands
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:24] herman Bergson: A computer understands rules...independent of the language used....
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sceptical we will solve this issue as always ... without more questions than answers
[13:24] herman Bergson: I think I disagree, Gemma...
[13:25] herman Bergson: The question is....can a computer as we know it have a mind...
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and no matter the programming language we use, the cpu will always perform the same set of these base instructions for an equal task in each language or the output would be different
[13:25] herman Bergson: the answer is no...
[13:25] herman Bergson: In deed Bejiita
[13:26] herman Bergson: Let me give you a simple example....
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it is no smarter then a light switch, it just channels electricity around itself to turn 1 into 0 and vice versa using so called logic gates
[13:26] herman Bergson: You all know Google Translate...
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:26] herman Bergson: Then you all know that is often produces a complete nonsense translation
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ha, yes
[13:27] Zorba (code2.hax): The apparent intelligence in the computer is the algorithm that the human created and runs in the machine.
[13:27] herman Bergson: That is because the program applies only rules
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): very true, cause there is no way a computer can understand grammatics
[13:28] herman Bergson: no it understands gammatics doesn't understand the MEANING of the words
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for a computer the word jack can be as much headphone jack as a hydraulic jack in any translation because it can not understand the meaning of the text around the word
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: it lacks... experience?
[13:29] herman Bergson: It lacks the ability to see contexts which are based on content
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): more than that
[13:29] Zorba (code2.hax): The computer makes associations among symbols according to how the instructions given it parse and use those symbols, all the while understanding nothing in and of itself.
[13:29] Zorba (code2.hax) nods
[13:29] herman Bergson: Indeed Zorba...a perfect Chinese Room is Google Translate
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and so when dranslating english into for ex swedish can give text like anslut hörlurarna till hörlursdomkraften instead of hörlursuttaget, when faced with the text plug headphones into the jack
[13:30] Zorba (code2.hax) nods
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it cant see the difference
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): nor can I Bejiita :)))
[13:30] herman Bergson: because it uses only rules and not meanings to translate, Bejiita
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): domkraft = hydraulic jack
[13:30] CB Axel: So I computer doesn't know jack...
[13:31] Zorba (code2.hax): :D
[13:31] CB Axel: *so a
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it translates word for word and just picks any existing one and jack have as i get it maybe 20 meanings at least
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wil this be the end to the discussion about computers and consciousness and self????? I hope
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right cb
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:31] herman Bergson smiles
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is a saying
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not knowing jack
[13:32] herman Bergson: No now begins....
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed as we can see the mind is way different from a computer
[13:32] CB Axel: Yes. Not knowing jack is an American expression.
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but it is at least a fast and useful tool
[13:32] herman Bergson: because now we have established the relation between the brain and consciousness...
[13:32] Zorba (code2.hax): A more useful program would be fed instructions to try and compute context for words as much as possible, but it's still doing the same thing. Operating on rules, and not understanding.
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:33] herman Bergson: and the next step is that from it emerges self-consciousness, self-awareness
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): which certainly no machine can have
[13:33] herman Bergson: and now we can answer the question whether we have a Self and what this Self might be...:-)
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): good
[13:34] herman Bergson: Wouldn't we all like to be ourselves in the first place?
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:36] herman Bergson: And don't we need the excuse now and then...Sorry I wasn't myself...? :-)
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): [13:36] .: Beertje :.: can we always be ourselves at any time?
[13:36] herman Bergson: We'll see Beertje :-)
[13:37] Zorba (code2.hax): Are we ever anything 'but' ourselves? ;-)
[13:37] herman Bergson: Because to answer that question we have to know WHAT exactly we want to be in such cases
[13:37] herman Bergson: I'd give you the same answer Zorba :-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: Interesting statement...I am myself....
[13:38] Zorba (code2.hax): We are what we do, not what we want to do.
[13:38] Zorba (code2.hax): No?
[13:38] herman Bergson: We'll use some more lecture to figure out whether this is true or not....ok? :-)
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone:
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting question indeed
[13:39] herman Bergson: if that  is the case are we also what we have done, Zorba?
[13:39] herman Bergson: Can we be what we will do too?
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh oh here we go
[13:40] Zorba (code2.hax): I would put what we've done in a different category as 'what we were'. What we are is what we do now, or next.
[13:40] herman Bergson: Is our Self the set of all passed  actions?
[13:41] herman Bergson: But now I do this and 5 minutes later I do that...does that mean that my Self is changing every moment?
[13:41] herman Bergson: Because I am what I do?
[13:41] CB Axel: What we will do will depend on who we will be when we do what we will do.
[13:41] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: heheheh
[13:41] Zorba (code2.hax) nods
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: good one cb
[13:42] herman Bergson: Indeed CB....there must be some personal continuity, you suggest
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: I guess thats why the buddhists boiled that down to 8 fold path ;)
[13:42] herman Bergson: is this continuity perhaps what we call our Self?
[13:43] CB Axel: LOL
[13:43] CB Axel: I think we are ever changing. Evolving according to our experiences.
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:43] herman Bergson: But dont you have a feeling of personal identity, CB?
[13:43] CB Axel: didn't mean to lol there. I must have a macro built in somewhere on my keyboard
[13:43] herman Bergson: I mean ..some personal continuity?
[13:44] CB Axel: Yes, but my identity depends a bit on my circumstances at any given time.
[13:44] Zorba (code2.hax): The Christian apostle Paul spoke of two persons in one. A spiritual person, and a fleshly person always in conflict. One desiring for example to do good, and the flesh pushing in a more selfish direction. So I think it's not a simple thing to quantify.
[13:44] herman Bergson: I love your laugh, worries here :-)
[13:45] CB Axel: It's like those internet pictures that show "what friends think I do," "what parents think I do," "What I think I do," etc.
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think that was Paul’s real problem
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): his temptations
[13:46] herman Bergson: If Paul observed conflicting intentions in his mind, no big deal...we all have them
[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:46] Zorba (code2.hax): I agree, we all have them.
[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but i think he tried to foist them off on annother self
[13:46] herman Bergson: Splitting up the person in a spiritual part and a flesh part is old fashioned dualism...
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: thats how consciousness starts to manifest no? in conflicting minds?
[13:47] herman Bergson: I'd say consciousness shows itself by awareness
[13:47] Zorba (code2.hax): He called himself chief of all sinners. I don't think he was trying to deny his sin. I believe he was teaching of there being a spiritual person who seeks to please God, and the flesh fallen in sin in rebellion to God. I agree with him.
[13:48] herman Bergson: awareness of yourself in space and time and in interaction
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: well u start to conflict - cannot solve and then you start to try to be more aware to "solve" the conflict no?
[13:49] Zorba (code2.hax): This gets to the point of the fact that we tend to have a view of our selves, that may include 'wanting' to do something, and then another part of us who is what we do causing us to say things like, 'I was not being myself'.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Would you define personal / mental dynamics as conflict driven, Ciska?
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: until u have a certain level of consciousness - yes
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: consciousness in the sense of being aware and able to communicate about it
[13:50] herman Bergson: AM I mistaken are are you talking about a kind of spiritual consxciousness, Ciska?
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: I make a distinction between awareness and consciousness yes
[13:51] herman Bergson: to communicate about it presupposes self-consciousness....
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: its not the same for me
[13:51] herman Bergson: But I am talking here only about consciousness as a biological phenomenon
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: how do you define that?
[13:52] herman Bergson: as a product of the physical brain processes...
[13:52] herman Bergson: As I defined it in a previous lecture...
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess thats how you can describe it in the easiest way
[13:53] herman Bergson: the state of awareness when we are awake which ends when we fall asleep or in coma...
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oops
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: how is that measured biologically?
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think that video tried to tell us
[13:54] herman Bergson: by the fact that you can actively interact with your envirionment
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: ah ok  - my fault  - did not watch it
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: well but thats no biological measure
[13:54] herman Bergson: then next step is the self awareness
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: that chicken is pecking a hole in the carpet
[13:55] herman Bergson: which allows us to reflect on our interaction with our environment for instance
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: interaction is a sociological measurement.
[13:55] herman Bergson: I noticed, Gemma :-)
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): has been in sight
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum whispers: lol
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's not aware of doing that Gemma
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh goodness
[13:56] CB Axel: Can consciousness be measured by EEG? Brain waves?
[13:56] herman Bergson: The chicken lacks consciousness...otherwise it would feel guilty of ruiening my carpet :-)
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am beginning to believe that cb
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it shows working going on
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): which must be consciousness
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (whips out shotgun) BLAM! BLAM! i got the chicken!
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehehe
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or not
[13:57] herman Bergson: Yes CB
[13:57] herman Bergson: it is possible...
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it fled through the door it seems
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eeg is the closest we have in looking into the brain today i think
[13:57] herman Bergson: that black picture on the wal with the four brain scan pictures  demonstrates it
[13:57] CB Axel: fMRI looks into the brain.
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think there are newer experimental things
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that are better
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eeg have been around a while so
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no new thing at all
[13:59] herman Bergson: Well...I guess I have given you enough to think about again till Thursday....
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum whispers: thank you herman and class!
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): one thing we can say for sure at least
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the mind is amazing
[14:00] herman Bergson: So, thank you all for your participation, including the chicken....:-)
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:00] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...^_^
[14:00] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[14:00] herman Bergson: HEllo John
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:00] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi) takes a humble bow
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: have a great day or night everyone
[14:01] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):
[14:01] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): brain inspecting
[14:01] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[14:01] herman Bergson: Interesting...thnx Gemma
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
[14:01] CB Axel: That looks interesting, Gemma.
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten Ciska, slaap lekker

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