208.ai – Eve Theory of Consciousness v3.0 – By Andrew Cutler

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2 Responses to 208.ai – Eve Theory of Consciousness v3.0 – By Andrew Cutler

  1. Grant Castillou says:

    It’s becoming clear that with all the brain and consciousness theories out there, the proof will be in the pudding. By this I mean, can any particular theory be used to create a human adult level conscious machine. My bet is on the late Gerald Edelman’s Extended Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. The lead group in robotics based on this theory is the Neurorobotics Lab at UC at Irvine. Dr. Edelman distinguished between primary consciousness, which came first in evolution, and that humans share with other conscious animals, and higher order consciousness, which came to only humans with the acquisition of language. A machine with only primary consciousness will probably have to come first.

    What I find special about the TNGS is the Darwin series of automata created at the Neurosciences Institute by Dr. Edelman and his colleagues in the 1990’s and 2000’s. These machines perform in the real world, not in a restricted simulated world, and display convincing physical behavior indicative of higher psychological functions necessary for consciousness, such as perceptual categorization, memory, and learning. They are based on realistic models of the parts of the biological brain that the theory claims subserve these functions. The extended TNGS allows for the emergence of consciousness based only on further evolutionary development of the brain areas responsible for these functions, in a parsimonious way. No other research I’ve encountered is anywhere near as convincing.

    I post because on almost every video and article about the brain and consciousness that I encounter, the attitude seems to be that we still know next to nothing about how the brain and consciousness work; that there’s lots of data but no unifying theory. I believe the extended TNGS is that theory. My motivation is to keep that theory in front of the public. And obviously, I consider it the route to a truly conscious machine, primary and higher-order.

    My advice to people who want to create a conscious machine is to seriously ground themselves in the extended TNGS and the Darwin automata first, and proceed from there, by applying to Jeff Krichmar’s lab at UC Irvine, possibly. Dr. Edelman’s roadmap to a conscious machine is at https://arxiv.org/abs/2105.10461

    • Andrew Cutler says:

      Grant, you reply with this verbatim comment in many places, so I understand it’s fairly low-effort. Nevertheless, I want to reply to the “proof is in the pudding” aspect. One of the exciting things about consciousness* evolving in the last 10-50 kya, is there area lot of ways to test for changes in those time frames. If it’s in the last 10,000 years, then we should see huge amounts of selection pressure. And maybe we do with the Y chromosome bottleneck. In that time frame, we should also expect lots of words related to cognition to be cognate. In the article, I give “think” as an example, as well as the first-person singular pronoun.

      If the timeline is more like 50kya, then we should see lots of selection on genes that are expressed in the brain. Maybe even evidence of a brain reorganization expressed as changing skull shape/size. We see both of those things. All of this is, of course, ambiguous, but a much closer to proof in pudding than other theories of our evolution which don’t look to language or genetics or even try to explain what happened 50 kya as more than window dressing on the human saga.

      *Now to address the word consciousness. It’s a theory of consciousness the way the word has been used for thousands of years. But it sidesteps the hard problem, which is sounds like you are concerned with. If the Eve Theory holds, it could provide constraints that make the hard problem more tractable. So it is relevant, but not what I choose to tackle.

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