Oct 10, 2022·edited Oct 10, 2022Author

"Artificial general intelligence will need an incubatory stage possessed of a body (or bodies), me thinks." I suppose it could be a virtual body for the sake of learning by navigating an adversarial virtual environment. And then *we* can divest ourselves of our flabby, fleshy forms and join with AI...

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Oct 10, 2022·edited Oct 10, 2022Liked by Angela Volkov

Debates in philosophy of mind and the neurosciences concerning the nature of consciousness have raged for several decades and show no sign of abating. I've studied the issue from the perspectives of both philosophy and cognitive neuroscience and, in my view, two authors from very different backgrounds made seminal contributions to the field: Daniel Dennett in *Consciousness Explained* and Gerald Edelman in *The Remembered Present*. Most of what has been written, even by eminent academics, is, at best highly speculative metaphysical theory in search of any kind of empirical basis.

That's because the attempt to understand consciousness echoes the early, misguided, explanations of the phenomenon of heat as the effect of caloric fluid. The error there was in looking for a substance that corresponded to the phenomenon. Similarly, all efforts to understand consciousness as anything other than an epiphenomenon of other (entirely non-conscious) processes will fail. Nothing is fundamentally conscious. Any such view misunderstands the basic nature of the various phenomena that typically get lumped together under that heading.

People get very, very passionate about this issue. Careers have been made on unsupported theories. In my view, it's just the modern version of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I'm virtually certain you'll disagree. :)

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