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Thread: Consciousness

  1. #1 Consciousness 
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    If a person is completely annihilated and then recreated, much like the concept of teleportation, will the original person's consciousness live on? Or will there be a new consciousness with the exact same body and memories, thus being under the illusion that it is the same person as the person annihilated?


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    And will it ever be possible to transfer consciousness'?


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    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    That's a very popular and talked about question, and the conclusion so far has mostly been that we don't know.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Are you the same consciousness that you were yesterday? How can you be sure?
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    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shenron View Post
    If a person is completely annihilated and then recreated, much like the concept of teleportation, will the original person's consciousness live on? Or will there be a new consciousness with the exact same body and memories, thus being under the illusion that it is the same person as the person annihilated?
    A lot depends on your 'definition of consciousness' and whether you believe consciousness is purely manifest in the brain or is extended to include the environment in the context. Those supporters of Artifical Intelligence that believe that the brain is just an enhanced computer where consciousness resides would probably believe it is only a matter of time to allow technology improvements to improve to achieve this result regardless of the complexity of non-linear interactions that may occur in the brain.

    Others would argue that consciousness is a fundamental component of physical reality which is expressed through a complex reaction between electrochemical processes in the brain through the interaction between sensory measurements taken with the external environment. As a result, without transporting the entire context we cannot resurrect an identical consciousness.

    .....and there are many further variants that would support or reject this notion.

    Obviously a lot more work is required before entertaining the prospect of beaming your Mother-In -Law to Alpha Centauri :-))
    Last edited by Implicate Order; October 18th, 2013 at 09:07 PM.
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    I read quite recently that the practicality of physical teleportation was more than "difficult".It was completely physically impossible at any time in the life of the universe ( this is not where I read it but I think these people come to the same conclusion Is Teleportation Possible? )

    That being so "consciousness transplantion or transportation" would either be similarly impossible or (if that were possible) even more impossible.

    That being said I seem to remember reading a book by Penrose which suggested that consciousness was embedded in the environment rather than in the individual....
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    Forum Freshman Lizard7Bo's Avatar
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    Your consciousness is just a product of your brain being able to build a world that you can understand out of the information that you receive, and progressively building on that information. When you die the information that your brain has stored is lost, which includes your personality and memories. And yes your consciousness as well is lost when your body becomes unable to process that information.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Implicate Order View Post
    Those supporters of Artifical Intelligence that believe that the brain is just an enhanced computer where consciousness resides would probably believe it is only a matter of time to allow technology improvements to improve to achieve this result regardless of the complexity of non-linear interactions that may occur in the brain.

    Others would argue that consciousness is a fundamental component of physical reality which is expressed through a complex reaction between electrochemical processes in the brain through the interaction between sensory measurements taken with the external environment. As a result, without transporting the entire context we cannot resurrect an identical consciousness.
    I don't think there's an difference of such beliefs by supporters of "Artificial intelligence versus Neuroscience. Both are completely physically based. And even if one could, for example, copy a self-aware program from either a computer or the brain, that self-awareness would be unique to each, not a transfer between one or the other.
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    Is the person annihilated, and then constructed out of the original atoms? Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? If I build a computer which perfectly simulates a human brain, and then set it up in such a way as to perfectly simulate your brain, which is you? If I slowly replace your brain over the years, with computer parts which will perfectly simulate your brain, did you slowly stop being conscious, or did you slowly become a computer? If all matter in the universe is a part of the universe, like all water molecules in a lake are part of the lake, and a person is like a droplet of water, how much does it matter which water molecules make up your droplet? Is consciousness separate from the universe? Is your consciousness unique? Can it be destroyed if it is merely a result of a complex arrangement of your constituent parts which fundamentally can neither be created nor destroyed (only changed into different forms)? Or is your consciousness just a pattern that emerges for a time, changes, dissipates, and may once again re-emerge in a similar fashion (yet never the same) in the infinite expanse of time and space?
    Last edited by Ninja Pancakes; November 30th, 2013 at 04:21 PM.
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    Your Mama! GiantEvil's Avatar
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    I wouldn't want to hazard any guesses concerning these questions without having some understanding of a robust neurological model of memory.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes View Post
    Is the person annihilated, and then constructed out of the original atoms? Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? If I build a computer which perfectly simulates a human brain, and then set it up in such a way as to perfectly simulate your brain, which is you? If I slowly replace your brain over the years, with computer parts which will perfectly simulate your brain, did you slowly stop being conscious, or did you slowly become a computer? If all matter in the universe is a part of the universe, like all water molecules in a lake are part of the lake, and a person is like a droplet of water, how much does it matter which water molecules make up your droplet? Is consciousness separate from the universe? Is your consciousness unique? Can it be destroyed if it is merely a result of a complex arrangement of your constituent parts which fundamentally can neither be created nor destroyed (only changed into different forms)? Or is your consciousness just a pattern that emerges for a time, changes, dissipates, and may once again re-emerge in a similar fashion (yet never the same) in the infinite expanse of time and space?
    Until we can better define 'consciousness' I think it is just safest to assume we don't know. For example, I play with the following notions:

    1. Let's assume consciousness simply resides in the brain. Further let's assume the analogy that the brain is the software of the organism. If I faithfully teleported that componentry to another location, would a conscious brain emerge? I dispatch that thought quickly as for example if I recreate faithfuly software in another location, all I get is the dormant software. I need to have the software working to gain a notion of 'consciousness'. That therefore requires the hardware as well.

    2. Let's assume the brain is more than just the software and it is relatively autonomous in its function eg. a self-sustaining 'living brain'. If I faithfully construct this notion elsewhere, then it may contain the memories provided the replication is exact (whether these memories are stored locally of non-locally throughout the brain) but without the measuring devices of the body to transmit new information to the brain for processing, then what we have is really just a hard drive. I am not sure that a notion of consciousness (for example self awareness) would be created through this idea.

    3. Let's assume the entire organism with its measuring devices to provide a context for a notion of self in the environment are faithfully copied at another location. In this instance I am thinking that it is likely the memories are retained from the previous existence (provided they originally were stored for retreival) and that the entire organism can function as an integrated autnomous whole. This is probably where I would leave the experiment as in my opinion, I would think this is the minimum requirements we would need to have a conscious organism. For example, I would not need to go further and assume that consciousness extends further into the environment or is a property of the universe itself as IMO the solution would be found in this 'living context'.

    If you were an advocate that consciousness is an emergent property of living things then you could probably comfortably stop at this level of enquiry without having to extend further. Note that I do get intrigued when reading the likes of Penrose and other physicists particularly those in QM who dabble in their musings with 'consciousness'. I personally believe it gets a bit 'woo science' when they extend the notion of consciousness to the universe. What is however relevent with regards to QM and biological organisms however is in measurement and decision theory. I cannot divorce the idea that biological organisms may actually harness QM in decision making theory and the process of measurement....but anyway that would be for another day.

    Some very thought provoking books you might want to read on the subject relationg to QM and consciousness are as follows:
    1. Johnjoe McFadden - Quantum Evolution (one of my favourites);
    2. Roger Penrose - The Emperor's New Mind. Also have a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WXTX0IUaOg
    3
    . David Bohm - His collected works particularly 'Wholeness and Implicate Order' - My master hence the 'Implicate Order' handle.

    :-))
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    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Lynx_Fox;477152]
    Quote Originally Posted by Implicate Order View Post
    I don't think there's an difference of such beliefs by supporters of "Artificial intelligence versus Neuroscience. Both are completely physically based. And even if one could, for example, copy a self-aware program from either a computer or the brain, that self-awareness would be unique to each, not a transfer between one or the other.
    Hi Lynx. Sorry about the late response. Your post slipped through my net. What I was referring to in my 'other's would argue comment' was not the neuroscientists, I was referring to some of the Quantum Mechanics enthusiasts who unnecessarily in my opinion stretch the definition of consciousness to reside as a property of the universe. Unfortunately I don't have the skills in that arena to debunk those views so I have to accept at least that they may have a valid argument. :-))

    PS Unfortunately David Bohm himself (my hero) supports this notion...*sobs*....why, oh why?....I need more time in the monastery I think :-))
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shenron View Post
    If a person is completely annihilated and then recreated, much like the concept of teleportation, will the original person's consciousness live on? Or will there be a new consciousness with the exact same body and memories, thus being under the illusion that it is the same person as the person annihilated?
    Its one of the best questions around, bar none. Both have bizarre consequences. If it is the same, what happens if instead of being teleported, the person is just copied? Would they have the experience of being two people at once? If its not, than consider the fact that pretty much all the atoms in my body have been replaced since I was seven years old, just through normal growth and metabolism. Does that mean that the conscious self I have now wasn't actually around when I was 7, but came into being at some later, and just has access to the memories? Its weird, weird, weird either way.
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    This may seem silly to outright wrong to some, but I view the brain as a discrete organism, and the nervous system as a part of this organism. The brain works in concert with other organisms, sending and receiving signals through the nervous system to the other organisms that compose the "body". It's interesting to me to note that the stomach has something to the effect of 200 million neurons of its own in its lining, and has a significant amount of pull in the total discourse, where the brain has the most control. If the brain contains a consciousness, the stomach does as well. Being the consciousness of the brain, we are not aware of what the stomach consciousness is thinking except through a few degrees of separation (the stomach sends signals to the brain and the brain consciousness is not directly aware of these signals, but is instead compelled to undertake action due to these signals). I also don't believe in free will, so that lends an entirely new perspective on consciousness for me.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes View Post
    This may seem silly to outright wrong to some, but I view the brain as a discrete organism, and the nervous system as a part of this organism. The brain works in concert with other organisms, sending and receiving signals through the nervous system to the other organisms that compose the "body". It's interesting to me to note that the stomach has something to the effect of 200 million neurons of its own in its lining, and has a significant amount of pull in the total discourse, where the brain has the most control. If the brain contains a consciousness, the stomach does as well. Being the consciousness of the brain, we are not aware of what the stomach consciousness is thinking except through a few degrees of separation (the stomach sends signals to the brain and the brain consciousness is not directly aware of these signals, but is instead compelled to undertake action due to these signals). I also don't believe in free will, so that lends an entirely new perspective on consciousness for me.
    I can see where you are coming from Ninja. I have my own views on this that are not too dissimilar to yours but for the sake of this Science forum I won't unleash them as it is a hypothesis only and open to significant smiting by mainstream consensus. One of my concerns is where the actual distinction is made between a multicellullar organism and a colonial organism. The consensus view is that the distinction is made based on whether an individual organism from a colony can survive on its own, but in my opinion we are simply dealing with two ends of a spectrum. Without going into things too deeply when looking at embryonic development and also evolutionary development you start seeing things a bit differently to consensus view. You also may see things that you could attribute to communication betwen cells as opposed to mere synaptic transmissions....anyway let's leave this to our deep dark ideas :-))
    Last edited by Implicate Order; December 1st, 2013 at 10:51 PM.
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