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Old 10-02-2021, 12:13 AM   #1
Tom H.
 
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Default What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

I claim that the most fundamental and significant advanced resource in the universe is the ability of conscious focus.

I’m concerned that transhumanist goals will unintentionally undermine this resource.

I was hoping that some of you with more knowledge of the topic could help me discover the true purposes of the quest for digital consciousness.

The ruling and academic class seems to fear independence.

The reasoning seems to be that with the advent of so much incredible technical power a “wise” authority needs ultimate control so that “rogue” individual cells cannot acquire this power to upset the balance and redefine the reality of everything including the existing gatekeepers of power.

Therefore, the authority needs omniscience to be sure that no such rogue initiative can attempt this. This omniscience requires the elimination of privacy for the masses. Even independent thought can be a danger, so that must be co-opted as well.

A collective digital consciousness seems to be the goal to control all this. The attempt to accomplish this would be to harness radio communications in conjunction with the Internet of Things (and beings) along with neural interfaces in order to bypass the barriers that guard individual identity.

So here’s the rub.

This exercise would advance a singularity of consciousness and perception. But I submit that greater intelligence is predicated on the diversity of conscious focus.

I believe that there is an analogy between the human mind and global society.

The human mind has a subconscious and a conscious aspect. The subconscious is the diversity of signals competing for the conscious’s attention.

Similarly, “each of us a cell of awareness”* define the subconscious competing for the intelligentsia’s conscious direction for the future of the planet.

*Sorry, I couldn’t help but quote Neil Peart from “Freewill”; Rush is likely my favorite band.

Think about it. No matter what the intelligence, its choice of focus becomes singular at the expense of all the other noise. It was the weakness of the Eye of Sauron.

But, by the very nature of allowing independent cells-of-awareness, focus can be multiplied; although, it then competes for consolidation at a higher level.

However, the ruling class’ fear of conscious freedom and independence and the desire to restrict it is the very thing that will dumb the system down. The attempt to centralize control of everything will fail because it will lack the necessary intellectual resources required for such a monumental endeavor.

Another way to put it is that barriers between consciousnesses allow for independence of identity and focus, so why the rush to eliminate them.

So I want to ask those of you who have studied transhumanism more than myself, what is the ultimate vision for this integration of conscious resources?

And do you think my theory could expose the folly of such a plan?
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Old 10-02-2021, 08:30 AM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

Sorry if it's not the answer you're looking for but in Gurps the answer is "it's never achieved".

The formula for IQ for a Volitional AI is required Complexity equals [(IQ/2)+3].

The highest Complexity in a hard science universe is a TL12 Megaframe with the Genius option for 15.

Complexity 15 equals IQ 24. That's smarter than any natural human but much of the effect is blunted by the rule of 20.

Knowing all skills at 14 or 15 is less than omniscience anyway (and yes, there are no default to attribute Skills). Even with Skills in the 30 you can still only invent things that are physically possible. High IQ does not equal a License to ignore the Laws of Physics.

If you don't like these numbers you'll get generticlally similar ones out of any formula that bases IQ on finite computing resources. The Singularity requires infinte (or possibly only transfinite) computing power.

Transhuman Space does not assume unlimited computing power at any TL. There may be a few years before the majority of people in the setting figure this out but eventualy they will when they notice the Singularity doesn't happen.

Even for dreamers who do assume unlimited computing power at some unavoidable point in the future it's called a "Singularity" because it goes beyond their ability to comprehend.

It's sort of like the Singularities assumed to be at the core of black holes. You reach a place where the equations fill up with infinity symbols and a certain sort of mathematician assumes that Reality breaks down at the point rather than assuming he's reached the limits of his equations.

Anyway, there can be no vision of the Singularity pretty much by definition. It''s called a Singularity because it can't be visualized much less mathematically described.
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Old 10-02-2021, 11:17 PM   #3
Tom H.
 
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

Thank you Fred for commenting.

One takeaway I'm getting is the limitations of the concepts.

Initially there was so much exuberance regarding nanotechnology, AI, and its evolution. Then there was a lot of consideration of its potential dystopia. And more recently, I've been aware of pushback against the inevitability of some of the exaggerated, fundamental changes that are implied.

It was interesting reviewing this tone in a recent thread here as well.

As you hinted though, I'm still interested in what the advocates of approaching a digital and collective mental integration hope to achieve. How do they envision the dynamics of the state they end up with?
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

Do you know the phrase "rapture of the nerds"?

It seems to me that the human race tends to come up with apocalyptic visions of the future. They used to be magical or theistic, along the lines of "when the Messiah gets here and conquers the world." But with advancing technology we've had technological apocalypses. In the 19th century it was Marxism, with the industrial workers seizing the means of production; in the 21st it's transhumanism and Singularitarianism.
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Old 10-05-2021, 06:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom H. View Post
As you hinted though, I'm still interested in what the advocates of approaching a digital and collective mental integration hope to achieve. How do they envision the dynamics of the state they end up with?
I'm not sure most of them do. The thing is that "ultimate" assumes there is some sort of final state. That's not the way the world works, whatever changes are produced by digital consciousness won't *end* change, and I think most people actually working in the field know that, and are aiming at the next shift or maybe the one after that and not some "ultimate" goal in the unknowable future.

I think even the more grounded of the "singularity" cultists know that - they're using singularity not in the actual mathematical sense, but as a metaphor. It's not that they thing processing power is genuinely transfinite, or the behavior of the system has passed beyond the *possibility* of description, but that it's passed beyond our limited ability to describe it.

Note that this is specifically not a vision of a goal, or of what it's like, but an assertion they have (and cannot have) any idea of what the state beyond that is. Singularity proponents using the term at all seriously are not only not expressing a vision, they are saying that "ultimate vision" is *impossible*.
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Old 10-05-2021, 10:08 AM   #6
whswhs
 
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

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Note that this is specifically not a vision of a goal, or of what it's like, but an assertion they have (and cannot have) any idea of what the state beyond that is. Singularity proponents using the term at all seriously are not only not expressing a vision, they are saying that "ultimate vision" is *impossible*.
That seems curiously like Marx's assertion that after communism was achieved, and the state withered away, it would be impossible to predict what people would do next, as they would have the freedom to choose the history they wanted.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
That seems curiously like Marx's assertion that after communism was achieved, and the state withered away, it would be impossible to predict what people would do next, as they would have the freedom to choose the history they wanted.
Or alternately "For now we see as through a glass darkly, but then face to face". These are all expressions, possibly with varying degrees of humility, that you can't really know what it would be like on the other side of a major transformation in human nature.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:21 PM   #8
whswhs
 
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Or alternately "For now we see as through a glass darkly, but then face to face". These are all expressions, possibly with varying degrees of humility, that you can't really know what it would be like on the other side of a major transformation in human nature.
They are all predictions that such a transformation will occur, and as such may be driven by magical thinking or wish fulfillment rather than based on actual evidence.
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Old 10-07-2021, 12:37 PM   #9
Tom H.
 
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

Thank you for the discussion.

I have some replies and comments, but I'm a bit tied up right now. I'll get back soon.
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Old 10-07-2021, 03:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: What is the ultimate vision for digital consciousness?

I do think that much of the reason why discussions of AI and the like tend to focus on capabilities, is that's something we may be able to know something about, if only to find limits of what isn't possible at all. But a lot of the interesting philosophical questions actually revolve around goals, and even the capabilities mostly only matter because of how they might use them to advance those goals

But when you ask what are the goals of a post-human (or anything particularly alien really) the only honest answer you can give is you don't and probably can't know. Sure Marx and Paul (and for that matter Nietzsche or de Chardin or Tippler) have big enough egos to claim more than say Drexler or Kurtzweil or the Cetagandan haut, but in their more honest moments even they admit at a lot is unknowable.
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