by Alex Vikoulov
"I have always been convinced that the only way to get artificial intelligence to work is to do the computation in a way similar to the human brain. That is the goal I have been pursuing. We are making progress, though we still have lots to learn about how the brain actually works.” -Geoffrey Hinton
In May, 2016 I stumbled upon a highly controversial Aeon article titled “The Empty Brain: Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer” by psychologist Rob Epstein. This article attested to me once again just how wide the range of professional opinions may be when it comes to brain and mind in general. Unsurprisingly, the article drew an outrage from the reading audience. I myself disagree with the author on most fronts but one thing, I actually agree with him is that yes, our brains are not “digital computers.” They are, rather, neural networks where each neuron might function sort of like a quantum computer.
by Alex Vikoulov
"This deep power in which we exist, and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Over-Soul (1841)
I'm always leery when some neuroscientist comes along and says: “We are the brain. There’s nothing besides it. If something is wrong, it’s physical.” No, you are not a "brain in a vat," and if we are to deconstruct human intelligence, it would make sense to apply the so-called top-down “holistic” analysis — when we work from the general to the specific — the big picture to the smaller details, from the superset to the subset. So, in this type of analysis we should not start with the brain. Instead, if viewed collectively, human intelligence is a networking phenomenon based on technology and culture that we call civilization; and individually, it's an operating system of the person's mind.
by Alex M. Vikoulov
Book by Alex M. Vikoulov, Synopsis*
"Regard the physical world as made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals." -John A. Wheeler
Everything, including energy, matter, space, time, and consciousness, is INFORMATION, or Code if you will. Many scientists now come to a consensus that information may be fundamental, since information patterns persist through dimensions and, it seems, is an evolving phenomenon.
This is the synopsis of my new book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution" where we will set to explore the conscious mind's journey through times and paradigms with the focus on what's most important to us as conscious beings -- OUR SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE. From Noogenesis to Apotheosis of the Universal Mind, this book will examine the five distinct evolutionary paradigms:
By Alex Vikoulov
"The arrow of time obscures memory of both past and future circumstance with innumerable fallacies, the least trivial of which is perception." -Ashim Shanker
Time makes us tick... or rather, our consciousness makes time tick. When you fall asleep, you are plunged into a timeless unconscious state, whereas the neurons of your brain never stop "talking to each other," then while you're still asleep, consciousness reemerges -- that's when your mind plays a kaleidoscope imagery in the form of dreams. Only when you wake up, time starts "ticking" for you again -- in one direction.*
This is an exclusive abridged excerpt from my book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution" in which we examine temporal ontology and the physics of time in by far more scrupulous detail. In this excerpt we start with a common misconception that time can only move forward.
By Alex Vikoulov [Updated 04.22.20]
"Organisms are themselves expressions of emergent order and agents of higher levels of emergence." -Brian Goodwin
Our observable Universe is 92 billion light years across, which is a fraction of the unobservable universe, which is just one of an infinite number of universes in the multiverse. All this space, time, energy, and matter, even consciousness itself boils down to information, or Code if you will. Digital Physics, a relatively new field of science, implies that information may be a fundamental property of our Universe, an evolving phenomenon.
My 2019 book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution" revolves around this very question "what actually is information?" and takes you on the journey through times with the focus on what's most important to us as conscious beings -- OUR SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE.
If everything is made of information, according to Digital Physics, what is the fabric and ultimate nature of reality? Philosophy of mind has been wrestling with another question: can we solve the hard problem of consciousness"? What inner experience could a bat, a dog, or an augmented human have?
Biological organisms, from unicellular bacteria to a human, are incredibly advanced, intricate information processing, computational systems, the product of billions of years of evolution. But do biological systems hold monopoly on conscious awareness?*
"If we encounter a machine that can do what we can, and that must operate under the same bodily constraints that we do, the most parsimonious explanation will be that it is indeed conscious in every sense that we are conscious." -George Musser
Many definitions are given to consciousness but yet no definitive answer. However, here's the most succinct definition for the sake of this discourse I could come up with:
"CONSCIOUSNESS refers to a collapse of wave of possibilities resulting in a subjective multi-sensory perceptual experience and involving multiple parallel processes such as interpreting sensory data streams, retrieving and creating memories, using imagination, envisioning the future, planning, thinking, self-reflecting, reacting to the sensory input, and being aware about the surroundings. Consciousness is a first-person phenomenal experience of an entity; it feels like something to be that entity. Consciousness can be identified as an underlying mathematical pattern, can also be viewed as meta-algorithmic information processing and quantified via feedback loops in interacting with environment."
I concur with AI researcher Hugo De Garis who argues, that once we reach a certain threshold of computational capacity and comprehensive understanding of the human brain, we could finally simulate the brain and obtain programmable sentience. On a more spiritual side, if you believe that we share the same immaterial "non-local" source of consciousness, as I do, that would mean that an adequate container to host an advanced AI mind will have been created. After all, in the vast space of possible minds, universal consciousness would inescapably instantiate phenomenality of non-biological entities.
The arrival of the AI matching human-level intelligence is estimated by futurist Ray Kurzweil around 2029, "when computers will get as smart as humans." By then, computers will possess emotions and personality... and, I'd argue, their own subjective experience, i.e. consciousness, and even spirituality. "When I talk about computers reaching human levels of intelligence, I'm not talking about logical intelligence," says Ray Kurzweil. "It is being funny, and expressing a loving sentiment... That is the cutting edge of human intelligence."
Do biological systems hold monopoly on self-awareness? As Dr. Bruce MacLennan puts it: “I see no scientific reason why artificial systems could not be conscious, if sufficiently complex and appropriately organized.” If Nature made its way to human-level conscious experience, ultimately we should be able to replicate the same in our empathetic machines. In the next few short years, programmable sentience will become relatively easier to develop -- an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) entity must have a reliable internal [virtual] model of the "external" world, as well as attentional focus and intentionality within their cognitive architecture. Already, deep learning algorithms aim to simulate the activity in the vast network of neurons in the neocortex, the part of our brains where thinking occurs. These artificial neural networks learn to recognize patterns in digital representations of various types of data, including images and sounds, just like our children do.*
By Alex Vikoulov
"Yet, it's our emotions and imperfections that makes us human." -Clyde DeSouza, Memories With Maya
IMMORTALITY or OBLIVION? I hope that everyone would agree that there are only two possible outcomes after having created Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) for us: immortality or oblivion. The necessity of the beneficial outcome of the coming intelligence explosion cannot be overestimated.
AI can already beat humans in many games, but can AI beat humans in the most important game, the game of life? Can we simulate the most probable AI Singularity scenarios on a global scale before it actually happens (the dynamics of a larger physical system is much easier to predict than doing that in the context of an individual or small group), to see the most probable of its consequences? And, the most important question: how can we create friendly AI?*
The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020): eBook Paperback Hardcover Audiobook
THEOGENESIS: Transdimensional Propagation & Universal Expansion by Alex M. Vikoulov (2021): eBook
The Cybernetic Singularity: The Syntellect Emergence by Alex M. Vikoulov (2021): eBook
TECHNOCULTURE: The Rise of Man by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020) eBook
NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020): eBook
The Ouroboros Code: Reality's Digital Alchemy Self-Simulation Bridging Science and Spirituality by Antonin Tuynman (2019) eBook Paperback
Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019) eBook
The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019) eBook
The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019): eBook
The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019): eBook
More Than An Algorithm: Exploring the gap between natural evolution and digitally computed artificial intelligence by Antonin Tuynman (2019): eBook
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