What I was getting at yesterday is that I don’t think consciousness can result from a deliberate effort to make conscious. Consciousness is a process operating on top of a collection of other nervous system tasks. And I’m not really sure that “on top” is the idea we want here.
For what I think consciousness asks is “what is relevant.” And this can be off calibration in people. My youngest child who has the most persistent case of ASD of our little lot, seems to be able to hear and to imitate a variety of sounds, but he doesn’t have the same idea of relevant as the rest of us (and us, my family, tends to find different things relevant from society generally.) He does sing songs, and somewhat goes with a big bite approach to communication, like our oldest. And I think this goes along with the overconnection tendency I have. Perhaps my consciousness asks “what else is possibly relevant.”
On another blog I wrote about how maybe emotion is not subjective at all, but too great a bandwidth for consciousness (from about the 5th paragraph). Where relevance is a cognitive question, emotions judge the salience of a thing. This is the level on which, if I understand it, ABA works. It is all very well and good for people to question whether we have free will, but ABA asserts to operate on a level where individual choice does not matter. And yet I’d say ABA is an effort at synthetic intelligence, in reforming the behavior and conditioning of people with ASD.
Another application of what I’m calling synthetic intelligence to people is Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I just went though the Beck Diet Solution, though I was working it for organization rather than weight loss – on the hope that the one might have the same success as the other. It’s hard to say. I’ve worked the 12 steps, and had some success with overeating (and a lot with codependency), but never with organization… perhaps due to lack of social support and sustained effort. Do these kinds of programs just overclock the executive operations (in Freudian terms, the superego) or are we really rooting out maladaptive defense mechanisms? Which, in the end, is a disfigurement of the soul? From growth mindset to emotional intelligence to NLP, do we really know what it is we are attempting?
So as far as AI goes, I think something like Jane is most likely to occur, a program that forms on top of an assemblage of information processing. Though Jane relied on the ansibles turning out to have metaphysical properties, or at least physical properties that turned out to underlie free will. Will the machines become like people, or the people like machines?
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