Consciousness

Consciousness

Postby Maurice Goldsmith » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:04 am

For me the pinnacle of human achievement would be to understand how consciousness works, and this is what I would like to see preserved if possible.

We're not there yet, but the progress since 2000 has been so rapid that I believe we should achieve it in the next few decades. The problem I see is the sheer amount of technology required to get there (for example the Big Brain project with it's supercomputers). We need advanced technology to do the modelling of protein structures, simulation of neural networks, and 3-D visualisation, to name just a few examples. The computers we use now can't be designed by hand, they needed the previous generation of computers to build them, and so on back to the 1950's. I suspect that consciousness will turn out to be a quantum phenomenon, so in parallel with neuroscience, the ability to do quantum physics research, with all the technology that implies, will also be necessary.

I suspect that a large population buying consumer technology is needed to generate the wealth to be able to achieve this advanced level of development (the world only seems to be able to sustain a small number of global computer manufacturers). Therefore it's not clear to me how it could be rebooted by a greatly reduced population, even given all the ingenuity Lewis's book describes.

My strategy, for what it's worth, would be to stockpile a large number of Raspberry Pi's, memory cards and screens, so that as one breaks there are spares to replace it. Some could be used as digital encyclopedias, while others were being used to bootstrap the next level of technology. This doesn't totally solve the recovery issue, but it could be enough to preserve knowledge across a few generations while the world economy was being rebuilt, allow programming skills to be maintained, provide a design capacity and components for control systems.

I have to say that I find the idea very scary, that after 4.5 billion years of evolution, our generation could be the one that determines whether this planet can sustain an advanced technology. It hadn't occurred to me that there may not be a second chance, but in hindsight it's obvious - what a responsibility!
I am the author of a post-apocalyptic novel - The Lucifer Bug http://www.theluciferbug.com/
Maurice Goldsmith
 
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Re: Consciousness

Postby Strongbow » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:10 pm

Consciousness? Wow. Hadn't even considered something so deep. Where would your soul fit into this? Would this be one and same?
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Re: Consciousness

Postby germanforestgump » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:06 pm

Hello Maurice,
i agree with You, that the conciousness of mankind is the most important factor to the topic, whether we humans will be able to keep our planet in a form to survive longtime on it.
But i´m not shure whether i understand Your point correctly: Do You mean it would be helpful to create something like an artifical intelligence and an artifical conciousness?
Which benefits You hope mankind could get from this?
And will the benefits outweigh the risks connected with this new technologies?
Remember: the strongest motivations for innovation are profit and power.
So we have to expect a big chance, this new technologies will become misused for military control about other peoples and landscapes and for their economical exploitation.

Could the expected benefits maybe reached with cheaper and less risky methods?

At first, lets have a look at the biggest obstacles hinding people to evolve their individual and collective potential of conciousness:

- the lack of nutrition specially during pregnancy and early childhood causes heavy under-evolving of millions of brains every year.
- diseases, pollution and drug abuses damage the brain functions of millions of people.
- most people have to work like slaves just to survive, are too exhausted and don´t have enough time to form their conciousness.
- heavy stress-periods and traumatic events don´t only hurt the conciousness of the direct involved people, but by epigenetic mechanisms their offsprings also.
- the lack of humanistic education and many forms of religious or ideologic delusions causes a devil´s circle of disfunctional social relationships and irritated conciousness.

Actually, there happens a revolution in the conciousness and social-economic relations of mankind by the internet and IT.
There are big chances, but also big risks in the extreme fast transformation of worldwide society.
There are big and rapidly increasing holes between those who have access to this new technologies and those who have not.
There is a big danger to drive a big amount of the word population out of work by digital automatisation.
There is no concept about how to transfer consum-ability (?"Kaufkraft") to them.

My opinion is, before we create new technologies with unknown risks, we should solve the existing problems by a step-by-step-evolution and running evaluation of methods and try to close the increasing gap between people who have the ressources to evolve their already existing potential of conciousness and those who have not.

There is a giant existing potential to evolve high levels of conciousness in all living people -
but it is wasted by bad circumstances!
It would take a few percentage of the ressources of some hundred most rich people to realise it!
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Re: Consciousness

Postby Maurice Goldsmith » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:47 am

Strongbow: I don't think it's necessary to believe in a soul in order to study consciousness. Personally I used to think that science had discredited the possibility of a soul, even though I always wanted to believe I had one. Since exploring consciousness I now see that science and souls can be compatible, especially at the quantum level, so I can have both!

Forrestgump: You make a lot of valid points that I agree with. My idea is to find ways of preserving the knowledge that's been gained to enable us to understand our own consciousness, rather than trying to create one artificially. I think we need technology to help us, it can't be done from paper records, partly because there's just too much information needed and partly because it's too complex for any one person to do it with just there own brain (which is a paradox in itself!). I made a start by creating my own dedicated "search engine" which helps a lot with cross referencing and joining up ideas, but it's basic in comparison with what's needed. Thinking of the brain as a fractal, it's as if nature has found a way of cramming four or more dimensions into a 3-d space.

As you say any new developments run the risk of being pounced on by the greedy people for exploitation or military use. I can think of many positive benefits, but the big one for me, as we are discussing the apocalypse here, is that there are more man-made apocalyptic scenarios than natural ones, and I believe that if we understand our consciousness better that could help us to reduce the risk of our own self-destruction.
I am the author of a post-apocalyptic novel - The Lucifer Bug http://www.theluciferbug.com/
Maurice Goldsmith
 
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