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Consciousness unexplained

Garden Gnome <andret@rpi.edu>

Sat, 31 Aug 1996 09:22 -0400

Jeff,

You may be right about Dennet's theory of consciousness as a whole. Like I said, I'd have to read it again (and maybe again after that) to be sure I hadn't missed anything. When I got to the end it still seemed like the explanation of consciousness was, "Keep adding complexity to a brain and sooner or later SHAZAAM! consciousness." I know that's not a completely fair summary but I still wasn't satisfied with Dennet's explananation.

However, the book did raise a lot of interesting questions and ideas and that is where the human consciousness as VR idea came from. It is in our conscious minds that we perceive ourselves and our world around us. The stimuli that our consciousness receives are all mediated by our physical brains so doesn't that mean that we exist in a "virtual" reality that is just one possible interpretation of the world around us? It seems as though this is independent of where consciousness comes from too. Whether consciousness arises from the physical brain or is some sort of viewer within the theater of our minds, it does not directly experience the world.

Anyway, more importantly, I agree with Jeff and boothj about the over use of obnoxious net/technology related catch phrases. Here are just a few that I heard way to often at work this summer:

intranet (isn't this just a fancy way of saying LAN?)

information-superhighway

virtual reality

cyberspace

Anyone want to add to the list?

thayer

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Jester <gentrj>

Sun, 01 Sep 1996 12:39 -0400

Thayer ....

I see where you're coming from on the conciousness/VR thing ... I'm not so sure that i would tag my impression as to what goes on as a "virtual reality" ... but I do see your point. I think i'm pretty much just rehashing what you stated, but my take on his theory (gross oversimplification due to many ppl probably not reading the book, and me also not remembering it very well <grin>) ... was that our "conciousness" was really just a cohesive set of firing neurons that happen to form "just the right pattern" and somehow allows us to be "concious," i.e. our reality is in fact just a trite "simulation" if you will - nothing is real except for external stimuli and our neuron's reactions to them. Now that I look at it, I suppose that could pass for a definition of virtual reality, but as i mentioned in my intro, i'm not exactly keen on tossing that term around to every tom, dick, and harry who trips on X or realizes they're just a finely tuned turing machine.

Blah. I just realized that I probably mispelled conscious(ness) just about every time in this message. :)

In response to your obnoxious words:

intranet: A term invented to make money off of stupid MIS middle managers information-superhighway: the granddaddy of all the lame "driving" analogies virtual reality: blah

cyberspace: Really wasn't "bad" .... just got overused. The rest are just blatantly cheese. now we have to deal with cyberrodents, cyberfruitsnacks,

cyberbaseballhats, and just about everything else that The Man can think of to cheat us out of cash. (tip of the hat to Agent Booth)

I have a few more terms i'd like to add:

Surf: How lame does one have to be to actually say, "I surf the net/web"?

Windows: We know your OS is popular, but so was New Kids on the Block

"Point and Click": Doesn't anyone think that computers should take some

sort of skill to use?

Alright. Enough of the bad mouthing of buzzwords ... (The job i applied for at the CAT was just one big buzzword: "Will use object oriented analysis within a given application framework blahblahblah" ... still worked out okay though.)


As an aside, I was reading the paper today (made from paper, not like clarinet or something, oh well) ... and there was an editorial article on "hackers penetrating government computers." It was the biggest load of crap i've ever seen. They quoted that DoD statistic of 250,000 break in attempts from "hackers." (A movie attacked the DoD?) I've heard tell that they counted every failed password attempt, for instance, in this figure - thus, probably everyone of their employees are wily crackers.

What is the general feeling in the class as to freedom of information? Are there any people on this list who go for the ultrahardline "information desires to be free" line? How many of you think that The Man deserves to ban encryption (who needs to use it except for criminals?), overcharge us for online time, and censor what we say?

personally, I think the only way that the logical extensions of the 'net (read: Gibsonian 'Trix) can be reached is with minimal influence of both The Man, the Religious Right, and Liberal PC Fascists. Doh, I said both, and named 3 people. Pity. I just don't see how one can think the net will be anything worthwhile 10 years from now if I couldn't post a message to alt.sex.bondage detailing some rather odd actions that i would like to take with chelsea clinton were I so inclined. I feel that censorship in any form on the net should be discouraged, except by perhaps, individual sites (that is, if I'm the owner of stupid.com, i could tell my users not to say this or that ... my idealist hope, however, is that no one would patronize such backward thinking sites).

I also don't like the commercialization trend. The net is not supposed to have commercial advertisements. Never a written rule (which by definition, could not exist), but for a long time has been unspoken. Well, the corporate thieves found a new market, and they've moved in ... ruining the net. I logged into sage4d.its.rpi.edu 3 years ago. I now get an average of 3 or 4 commercial spams every couple of days, because "gentrj@sage4d" appears on a CD of "opportunity seekers" sold by "MassEmail@aol.com" (had to be an aoler), does this not seem wrong to anyone? Don't we have enough overcommercialization in "real life" ....



On a completely unrelated thread, I was watching Wargames the other yesterday for the 10923057820598724601876th time. (side note: Anyone think that Prof. Porush looks like a slimmer version of the bio teacher at the beginning?) Anyhow, it brought up the idea of self-realized AI (A friend noted that he thought that Joshua was such, since he started calling up David on his own.) What are people's thoughts on self-realization? And what would happen if they were released on the net as in Neuromancer? Would there really then be "Net Deities?" I think that would rock. Perhaps they'd rain electronic lightning bolts down on all the stupid .com sites.



J

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Garden Gnome <andret@rpi.edu>

Mon, 02 Sep 1996 15:27 -0400

So much to respond to. Well here's my take on the censorship and commercialization of the net. I disagree with both. I recognize that certain individuals will be offended by material available to them (or their families) on the net. However, I think that this is something those individuals have to deal with without forcing their standards on everyone else. People complain that the mass media (magazines, TV, the net, etc.) are responsible for destroying the moral fiber of this society. My response to them would be, "Since when is it my responsibility (or anyone elses for that matter) to teach your family good values?" A common response by critics of this position is that their kids are watching TV, logging in, etc. without them knowing it. Then shouldn't they be keeping a closer eye on their kids? After all their children are their responsibility not mine or yours or the governments. And I know it's impossible to know what kids are doing all the time. God knows my parents didn't know what I was up to a lot of times. However, they made sure I knew how they felt about what was right and wrong and they always kept an active interest in what was going on in my life outside of our home. In the end I think this is a much better solution than sweeping bans on certain types of information.

As for the whole net advertising thing I think advertising on web sites is fine. Hey if you spend time and money to build a popular site then more power to you if you can sell advertising space on it. The thing I hate (and I hope a lot of people agree here) is mass mailings about stupid products I don't care about. I don't like real junk mail flooding the mail box at my apartment so there's no reason I'm going to like it online.

thayer

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Leareth <leareth@rpi.edu>

Mon, 02 Sep 1996 17:05 -0400

> Windows: We know your OS is popular, but so was New Kids on the Block

can you say "linux"? good! i knew you could. :)

> "Point and Click": Doesn't anyone think that computers should take some

> sort of skill to use?

computers should take some skill to use, even for the basest of functionality.

> What is the general feeling in the class as to freedom of information? Are

> there any people on this list who go for the ultrahardline "information

> desires to be free" line? How many of you think that The Man deserves to

> ban encryption (who needs to use it except for criminals?), overcharge us

> for online time, and censor what we say?

the Man is scared of encryption... no more line tapping, no more e-mail reading, no more snooping into the business of everyday people where they don't belong. what a shame. i strongly encourage the use of encryption for personal e-mails, because that's how they should remain, personal.

> thieves found a new market, and they've moved in ... ruining the net. I

> logged into sage4d.its.rpi.edu 3 years ago. I now get an average of 3 or 4

> commercial spams every couple of days, because "gentrj@sage4d" appears on

> a CD of "opportunity seekers" sold by "MassEmail@aol.com" (had to be an aoler),

i posted once or twice to usenet this summer, now i get these strange e-mails directed to "hallm4@marcus.its.rpi.edu" where i was logged in.. "make money fast" grr.

> does this not seem wrong to anyone? Don't we have enough overcommercialization

> in "real life" ....

the net wasn't for commercialization, it was for the exchange of ideas and information, ads, banners, and all sorts of commercialized activity was frowned upon by the unspoken rules of the net. these days, i'm sure the average person has no clue as to what "netiquette" means.

### ##### http://www.rpi.edu/~hallm4

######## ##### leareth@rpi.edu

#### ### ######

######## ####### life isn't fair highness, anyone who tells you so

###### #### ### is selling something -- Princess Bride

##### ########

### #####

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Jester <gentrj>

Tue, 3 Sep 1996 03:10:41 -0400

> the average person has no clue as to what "netiquette" means.

Along similar lines, I"d like to throw in an arguement to the TA (doherm) ... he was talking in class on monday how there is a growing sense of netiquette. I am curious as to how he can say that. Netiquette is disappearing at an exponential rate, starting with AOL being allowed on the internet - its been downhill ever since. People have no idea that they aren't supposed to spam crap to 800 newsgroups, send out commercial adverts, be good UNIX citizens (some don't even realize they should be UNIX citizens, but oh well) ... instead of increasing netiquette, what I think we are getting is increased "real worldization" of the net - I suppose if one was rather twisted, this would seem a good thing ...

Jeff Gentry jester@rpi.edu

RPI CompSci Senior http://www.rpi.edu/~gentrj

"Fifty years of programming language research, and we end up with C++."

* Unsolicited advertising will be proofread at the cost of US$5000/hr, *

* 4 hours min. Mailing of such will be taken as acceptance of these terms. *

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Jesse Booth <boothj@rpi.edu>

Tue, 3 Sep 1996 04:02:42 -0400

On Sep 3, 3:10am, Jester wrote:

> > the average person has no clue as to what "netiquette" means.

>

> say that. Netiquette is disappearing at an exponential rate,

> starting with AOL being allowed on the internet - its been downhill

two words: MSN.COM

> ever since. People have no idea that they aren't supposed to

> spam crap to 800 newsgroups, send out commercial adverts, be good

> UNIX citizens (some don't even realize they should be UNIX citizens,

well Jeff, lack of netiquette has been a problem for many years. is it possible that it has begun to stand out more blatantly since the "infobahn explosion" <g> in the past couple years? take for example rpi.forsale. the number of legitimate posts to that newsgroup from the RPI community i would guess has been only slightly increasing over the past 5 years. however, the number of spams to that group has increased due to the exponential growth of the number of non-RPI community members (i.e. AOL.COM baby). would you agree that netiquette isn't going all to hell, rather there is just a larger grand total of idiots on-line to spam, post in ALL CAPS, etc. giving the appearance that netiquette is degrading? I certainly can't agree with the theory that the netiquette of the average user is improving, but this leads to the question of who now is the "average user." - that sure has changed over the past decade!

Mick, maybe you could explain the theory of "netiquette is improving..."

thanks

Jesse

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Leareth <leareth@rpi.edu>

Tue, 03 Sep 1996 7:46 -0400

> > the average person has no clue as to what "netiquette" means.

>

> Along similar lines, I"d like to throw in an arguement to the

> TA (doherm) ... he was talking in class on monday how there is

> a growing sense of netiquette. I am curious as to how he can

> say that. Netiquette is disappearing at an exponential rate,

> starting with AOL being allowed on the internet - its been downhill

it's not really the people of AOL, it's the way AOL treats them. AOL keeps them in their own boxed in little world where AOL rules are in force, and they don't feel the need to require people to learn or become aquainted with the "laws" of the outside net. i'd say that a fair number of AOL people act out of ignorance. well, and then there are the people who are just plain ignorant.

not to pick unfairly on AOL or anything, but i swear i see more idiot postings/happenings coming from that address than anywhere in particular.

> but oh well) ... instead of increasing netiquette, what I think we

> are getting is increased "real worldization" of the net - I suppose

> if one was rather twisted, this would seem a good thing ...

maybe for the average joe this would seem a good thing, but for the people who've been of the net for years, our elitist society is coming to an end...

### ##### http://www.rpi.edu/~hallm4

######## ##### leareth@rpi.edu

#### ### ######

######## ####### i have stood here before inside the pouring rain

###### #### ### with the world turning circles running 'round my brain,

##### ######## i guess i was hoping that you'd end this reign,

### ##### but it's my destiny to be the king of pain... Police

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Re: Consciousness unexplained

Leareth <leareth@rpi.edu>

Tue, 3 Sep 1996 13:57:37 -0400 (EDT)

> So much to respond to. Well here's my take on the censorship and

> commercialization of the net. I disagree with both. I recognize that

and i agree with you. :)

> them knowing it. Then shouldn't they be keeping a closer eye on their kids?

that's exactly the point, but most parents don't seem to want to be troubled with keeping an eye on their kids. hell, most kids that i know have more knowledge of computers and being online than parents. so it's no wonder there's this trend of having other people make the world "safer" for our children.

this was a major argument and point of debate on the internet... but back in the "real" world, there was hardly a whisper of it. people didn't seem to realize that they were loosing the right to raise their children in the way they saw fit to.

come to think of it, the online world seems much more politically active than anyone/group i know in real life.

ramble ramble...

> After all their children are their responsibility not mine or yours or the

> governments. And I know it's impossible to know what kids are doing all

the

point exactly.

> outside of our home. In the end I think this is a much better solution than

> sweeping bans on certain types of information.

i think a lot of those bans was fueled by the religious right, and clinton, congress, and others gave in, playing the political game for votes and acting out of ignorance rather than making intelligent decisions.

> don't care about. I don't like real junk mail flooding the mail box at my

> apartment so there's no reason I'm going to like it online.

make money fast!

### http://www.rpi.edu/~hallm4 #####

######## leareth@rpi.edu #####

#### ### devil and the deep blue sea behind me ######

######## vanish in the air you'll never find me #######

###### i will turn your face to alabaster #### ###

##### when you find your servant is your master ########

### The Police #####

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