Sunday, 1 March 2020

Born to do Math 159 - Synthetic Stuff

Born to do Math 159 - Synthetic Stuff
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
March 1, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, any unified theory of consciousness will come from two ways and will be sandwiched horizontally. 

Rosner: Do you mean a theory of consciousness that doesn't suck?

Jacobsen: Yes, one that sucks less: empirical, and concrete, and naturalistic, and technical at the end of the day, but is stacked up like a deck of cards over time.

Rosner: Something that stands up to scrutiny.

Jacobsen: It would be something standing up to the stringent standards of modern psychological science. 

Rosner: It is something like a theory of physics that hopes to derive all the forces as manifestations of a single set of principles. 

Jacobsen: Empirical and sufficiently filled out to cover the relevant bases. I'm thinking of two paths. One, we are finding this stuff out accidentally with A.I. that works out things similar to the human brain. It does things the same or similarly to the A.I. algorithm/the human brain. 

That is direct discovery through replication in a different substrate. Two, we have thousands of papers on how the brain sucks, a knowledge base. Visual hallucinations, inability to see certain things, portrayals of dots and lines that mess with our visual system, etc.

Rosner: Not that the brain sucks, it does not do everything that we would want the brain to do. 

Jacobsen: I would say, "Yes, and no." That way, but also sucks in other ways. This suckiness can give us an idea as to what theories of consciousness would produce that level and kind of suckiness. So, the details of suckiness that we have could infer the general idea of what the brain is and does rather than just a dozen or so schools of psychological thought. 

Something covering the relevant fields and then making predictions based on it. The direct replication is more solid. It is harder to argue against that. But the failures, you can say, "Certain systems will produce certain types of failures." 

It will have caveats of being part of a system evolved in a substrate and the limitations themselves are reflective of evolution for something good enough. These are an extension of "good enough" into real data. 

Then you stack those up horizontally, direct and inferred, towards one another. At some point, you can kind of get a pretty clear picture to say, "This is what was in the picture the whole time." You have enough wattage in the light to give us a good enough picture of what is going on in the room, the little man in the room.

Rosner: We were talking, basically, about the sources of what the brain sucks at: the current hot theory is that the brain's primary job is to be a good predictor, setter-upper, tries to anticipate whatever is going to happen and tries to maximize the positive outcomes and anything else is just a happy byproduct of that, including consciousness. 

If having consciousness reduced an organism's chances of survival consistently, then that organism wouldn't have consciousness. 

Jacobsen: I would add one caveat. Consciousness is new evolutionarily to levels seen now. With deep time of evolution at billions of years, then it may be a lethal mutation. If simple consciousnesses assumed earlier, then maybe not.

Rosner: If you take consciousness as rich information sharing among the brain's processing systems, then it is hard to argue that it is mutation and isn't part of the life of any organism with a brain beyond some minimum size. 

There is that argument about sexual reproduction. It was some flukey thing that turned out to be so advantageous to the organism's engaged in it. That it has basically taken over reproduction among all animals that are beyond just very, very simple. 

With a few exceptions, the exceptions also being variations on sexual reproduction. It is hard to argue that consciousness is some kind of glitch because it is so pervasive and has been around so long; it makes so much sense that it is not a glitch. 

Jacobsen: There are other ideas we've covered over the years. There are ideas of a magical property to consciousness. I don't buy that. Certainly, you don't buy that. What can we expect on such a prediction, that it is a technical property and a naturalistic thing.

That given it is technical. It can be reverse-engineered and produced in another substrate.

Rosner: What can we expect with the increasing ability to replicate conscious-like thinking?

Jacobsen: That too. But also, what can we expect as a consequence of this thinking? What things are present that we should sort of expect over time? We will have artificial consciousness to different degrees. Fine.

Rosner: You're saying artificial consciousness. But you're asking about how this will play out in terms of people's lives in the future. 

Jacobsen: Is it really artificial if it is doing the same stuff?

Rosner: People will always want to distinguish. In my lifetime, it has gone from impossible to make diamonds to now, probably, making diamonds in just about any size of jewelry now.

Jacobsen: Artificially?

Rosner: Yes! It is from incredible pressure. I don't know what else. The last time I looked into it was probably a decade ago. They could make quarter carrot diamonds at the time. Now, they could probably make carrot diamonds, which can be pretty good quality. 

The natural diamond industry now, there is a De Beers three blocks down the road with an ad. A wife being like a shitty wife, e.g., burning food and not giving a shit, because the husband gave her a lab-grown diamond. The natural diamond industry is saying only to buy a natural diamond, which is ridiculous.

For a long time, they have been able to grow really nice, chemically indistinguishable rubies, emeralds, sapphires. There's always an emphasis on being able to tell what is a synthetic. The natural stuff is much pricier. Even though, visually, you put them in a ring.

They are the same. They look equally beautiful. I am sure there will be, for all sorts of reason - even when synthetic consciousness in terms of performance is indistinguishable from natural consciousness, a push from all sorts of various places to consider artificial thinking in consciousness inferior, at the very least, to natural consciousness.

When it comes to diamonds, people don't have religious objections to synthetic diamonds. But when it comes to synthetic consciousness, we've talked about abortion. Abortion is much less complicated to think about than artificial consciousness. 

You can frame the issues around abortion very clearly. That won't be so for a long time with consciousness. A lot of the people around issues like abortion and climate change. There are people who try to obfuscate.

People hired by oil companies have spent decades trying to confuse the issue. Anyway, for diamonds, there is a ceiling. Artificial diamond products could be better if they made artificial stuff like rope, like an elevator to space.

An industrial-grade diamond has so specks of non-diamond carbon in it. That you can't use it for jewelry. 

[End of recorded material]


American Television Writer

(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America's, North America's, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main "Genius" listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the "World’s Smartest Man." The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named "Best Bouncer" in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing

(Updated January 1, 2020)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:


[1] Four format points for the session article:
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