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Percentage of brain used for conciousness?

r norman rsn_ at _comcast.net
Fri Jan 9 08:16:54 EST 2004

On 9 Jan 2004 02:08:31 -0800, guyscarsbrook at hotmail.com (Guy Lux)

>r norman <rsn_ at _comcast.net> wrote in message news:<graovvcfc55jmdslf159btpg32npusqvgk at 4ax.com>...
> wrote:
<snip mostr discussion to leave just this one point>

>> Furthermore, whatever consciousness is, it is not simply raw machine
>> computational power, but must be something about how that power is
>> used.  For example your supercomputer, no matter how powerful, is
>> totally incapable of solving a weather simulation or nuclear reactions
>> or generating a fully animated video scene or anything else unless it
>> is programmed to do so.  Further, none of these situations requires a
>> supercomputer in a theoretical sense. With a small, slow computer, it
>> just takes longer to do the job.  Is consciousness a problem that
>> requires, for some fundamental reason, massive computational power or
>> is it simply something that runs too slowly to be useful on a small
>> system?  We have no clue.
>I agree with you about "how the power is used".  I think you are right
>to question whether is is raw computing power and think it is far more
>to do with programming and input. I can't imagine how many things a
>baby learns (learing = self programming?) in its very first year. 
>(When are children considered conscious? New borns no, but by about 1
>year?  Sorry if this offends any one!)  If all those millions of self
>programmed rules could be fed into a computer could it then become
>conscious?  Who knows?  Whatever the answer, the whole debale seems to
>be more about the programming than computational power.
A very serious problem with this notion is that the brain seems
pre-wired (whatever that may mean) to produce consciousness.  It is
not just that babies are exposed to learning, but the way their
experience interacts with their development seems predestined to
produce the phenomenon.  A parallel might be language.  There do seem
to be language capabilities built into the human brain.  Experience
controls just which language we learn, but not the ability to behave
linguistically.  In the same way, a babies experence may shape just
what the consciousness looks like, but not the existence of it.

Another very serious problem is that some notions of consciousness
(Damasio's "The Feeling of What Happens", for example) are intimately
connected with the physical body and our own sense of awareness of our
body, especially including the autonomic nervous system.  That is
something that would be very difficult to replicate in artificial


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