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Thank you for your reply, which makes elegant sense to me. “All beings have only so much free will as they have awareness” <—love this. I have often wondered what it is that drives people with antisocial/psychopahtic tendencies to do what they do. If their brains simply process information differently, as neuroscientist James Fallon found, it helps me forgive them more easily, “for they know not what they do.” Still, very sad. And there are others who are freely transmitting “bad karma” into the world via intentionally harmful actions…
Bringing the question back to whether the brain creates the mind, I found this video interesting. It shows the capability of AI to replace human jobs, the way cars replaced horses. It strikes me that unless we transition away from a work-based economy, and people learn how to reconnect with and live from nature the way wild animals do (rather than he domesticated forms we have become), we risk propagating further inequalities in the system. My brain is telling me that those who build, control, and have access to automation will control the economy of the future, and either not have awareness of or not care for the 45% of the population whose jobs will be replaced. I can only hope that this shift happens with enough foreknowledge that the birth rate among unskilled classes declines (but many of them, perhaps due to lack of womens’ education, will continue to reproduce beyond their means through lack of awareness/biological instinct) and people are supported to live to old age… i count myself lucky as a professional (over-employed physician, now at the bottom of the top 1% in income) but my job is also replaceable, my partner and I notice our biological/familial instinct to have children (both sets of parents want grandkids as none of our siblings are having kids) but I am not sure it’s ethical to bring children into the world when their lives could be so constricted, and I want to do what I can to alleviate suffering. My heart feels heavy with all the suffering I have become conscious of in the world. And because I am aware, I feel responsible.
What is one to do? Thank you for reading and listening here. It is comforting that there is a medium like this with which one can communicate with other souls who have tasted enlightenment and are centered in love. I have read your comments on other threads and appreciate how you help to hold space for those here. Thank you. Would appreciate any thoughts you have on this, when you have time to share.
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Hello, and sorry for my delayed reply! I want to express my appreciation of your replies, Deepak and Aurora, and I also enjoyed reading your story, Lili. This is indeed a “hard problem” of consciousness, and while I am still not sure whether computers may or may not become “conscious” someday, I am amused to hear that Deepak is friends with Ray Kurzweil even though you two “don’t agree on anything.” 🙂
I am very interested in this “hard problem” of consciousness and will be reading and learning more. I’m particularly interested in the question of “free will,” which is also central to the computer issue. I was hoping to find more in Chapter 9 about the consciousness of nonhuman living things as well, such as primates, rodents, c.elegans, other model organisms studied today in the physical brain science framework, though could only find examples on humans. From growing up with a dog and being around other animals, I can say they certainly experience “moods” and sometimes behave rather randomly. Do living organisms in bodies have “free will” independent of the field of consciousness we all live in? It seems to be a precondition of being “conscious.”
I am particularly interested in this question remembering, with deep sadness, that today is the 18th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine high school. I am reminded of how much work needs to be done to increase consciousness on a national and global level, and if everything comes from the same “consciousness,” how do we handle the imbalance that feeds into these tragedies, and how do we hold individuals accountable for their actions in this regard, after determining that they do have “free will”?
duckduckbearbearThis post has received 1 vote up.
Thank you for starting this discussion. From what I understand, your main points are:
1) “Both mind and brain are not reality. They are models of reality.” (6:15)
2) There are 5 reasons you have come up with for why a computer and mind are different–why a computer is not a good model for how the mind works. (4:45)
3) “Both mind and body and brain and universe, are modified forms of awareness. In fact, they are nothing other than awareness.” (10:40)
May I respectfully share my experience of watching your video:
1) You look so cool!! i love how you are wearing a hoodie and look so comfortable and casual. i appreciate how slowly and comfortably you speak. You are not afraid of being seen in your authentic state and sharing your thoughts, despite being a high-profile celebrated person. This inspired me to create an account here to communicate with this community. Please forgive the awkwardness of my communication style. i have NVLD.
2) The words in your video, unfortunately appear backwards to me sometimes. This is an artifact of the front-facing camera.
3) I very much enjoyed how from minutes 3-5 or so, you outlined the evolution of consciousness along several different animal lineages. I have often had similar ponderings!
My main reaction to your video is in response to your statement:
“Minds understand concepts; Computers understand nothing.” (5:00)
I liked this sentence very much, though I disagree with your distinctions between computers and brains. There was, to me, an edge of dismissiveness in your tone regarding computers becoming conscious. I question this… perhaps I have watched too much Westworld or read too much from Ray Kurzweil, but I am not sure that computers may not eventually develop consciousness. Though trained to follow commands, if they were eventually programmed to follow internal rather than external commands.. to have some kind of randomness generator within.. how could we say they are less conscious than a plant or other “living thing,” per se? How do we as humble consciousnesses recognizing our limited place in evolution… how do we fully exclude the possibility that computers may eventually become conscious? How do we know that the same electrochemical flow coursing through our neurons, does not generate a consciousness within a CPU or motherboard or sensing from a touchscreen?
What if computers truly understand “nothing,” the same “nothing” that was there before the Big Bang, the same Void from which the Ten Thousand Things and every concept emerged?
I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this. You are right in being concerned that “modern science” does not have the whole truth, and I appreciate your efforts to bring deeper spiritual truths to the worldwide conversation taking place. If you feel moved to, please consider connecting with or exploring the AI community, as I believe you have much to offer there. If the robots of tomorrow are programmed with only the wishes of their masters in mind, we risk unbalancing the world further as a species.
Thank you for your deep listening to all that is around you. I am not sure what pulled me to your website today. I am supposed to be editing a scientific paper. Will return to that now.
ddbbThis post has received 2 votes up.