Category Archives: Mind and AI

The prospects for a scientific understanding of consciousness

Michael Shermer has an article up at Scientific American asking if science will ever understand consciousness, free will, or God. I contend that not only consciousness but also free will and God are mysterian problems—not because we are not yet … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 190 Comments

Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor? Is that a relevant question?

A while back, Julia Galef on Rationally Speaking interviewed Eric Jonas, one of the authors of a study that attempted to use neuroscience techniques on a simple computer processor. The field of neuroscience has been collecting more and more data, … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

The layers of emotion creation

What are emotions?  Where do they come from?  Are they something innate or something we learn?  The classic view is that they’re precognitive impulses that happen to us.  If so, this would imply that they have specific neural signatures. Early … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Adding imagination to AI

As we’ve discussed in recent posts on consciousness, I think imagination has a crucial role to play in animal consciousness.  It’s part of a hierarchy I currently use to keep the broad aspects of cognition straight in my mind. Reflexes, … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Does information require conscious interpretation to be information?

Peter Kassan has an article at Skeptic Magazine which sets out to disprove the simulation hypothesis, the idea that we’re all living in a computer simulation. I personally find arguing about the simulation hypothesis unproductive.  Short of the simulation owner … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

Layers of self awareness and animal cognition

In the last consciousness post, which discussed issues with panpsychism and simple definitions of consciousness, I laid out five functional layers of cognition which I find helpful when trying to think about systems that are more or less conscious.  Just … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Panpsychism and layers of consciousness

I’ve written before about panpyschism, the outlook that everything is conscious and that consciousness permeates the universe.  However, that previous post was within the context of replying to a TEDx talk, and I’m not entirely satisfied with the remarks I … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI | Tagged , , , , , , , | 79 Comments