Conversation with the "Higher Mind". Formula of consciousness

The last excerpt from the story " Higher Mind ". This time there is a certain “claim” on the formula of consciousness with an explanation of its origin. At once I want to note that all the given theses are based on modern scientific data (cognitive sciences). Still, this is my opinion, I do not pretend to absolute truth and do not argue with anyone. Everyone has the right to have his own opinion, but other people's opinions are interesting to me, if they have a valuable thought that will help me to advance in search. So:

- Amy, the most important question is what is consciousness? How to make the programmed processes generate light of consciousness? And the robot suddenly became aware of what he sees?
- It's simple enough.
- How simple? Can not be.
- This is true. If you compare the unconscious and consciously, then the second is different in that you remember it as your action. You remember that you were aware of this, in contrast to unconscious actions. So? What does this mean in your opinion?
- I don’t know, but it seems I guess what you are driving at - remember our actions?
- Yes, it means that after committing an action, for example, recognizing something, you still recognize your recognition as your action. And write them in the memory of yourself - in the autobiographical memory, connected in a single chain of time by the pronoun "I" as a poem rhyme.
- I do not understand yet what you mean.
- You realize, not when you start to have feelings for the picture you like, but when you recognize these feelings in yourself as your own! Here you enter the museum, see a picture of the Red Square. Your brain first recognizes that it is red and square. Nothing special, this can make a neural network. But after a moment you recognize that you are looking at the picture “from the eyes” and recognized the red square on it. You know that this recognition is yours, which is accompanied by a feeling of “familiarity.” Here in the second action there is a feeling of awareness.

- But consciousness is a single process! I immediately realize what I see.
- There is no such a single phenomenon as consciousness. It consists of two parts, which can be expressed by the mental formula "I know what I see." There are two acts - “I see” as an ordinary discernment of what you perceive, and “I know” as recognition of my own act of “discernment”. Both stages are unconscious, but it is the second that creates a feeling of awareness. And it is possible only if you have a model of your actions, that is, knowledge about them. A child from childhood called his actions, then he begins to comment on his actions, and so he acquires this model. But awareness is repeated every minute since childhood, so that by adulthood you can no longer distinguish these two stages. They are folded into short processes. You need to create a scheme with these two acts. Then the robot will have consciousness.
- I do not quite understand, can you explain what kind of scheme?
- “I know what I see” - this scheme. Instead of "seeing" there can be any action of the subject. If it is in his model, he can “recognize” him. As you can see, it has endless recursion. The action of recognizing the action can also be recognized and then recognized. This is what you feel as the constant presence of consciousness, although you are not aware of all the actions. You are aware only of the action that is being constructed now, carried out according to a previously developed program, and is not realized.
- What is “know” in this formula?
- It means to recognize by model, in the etymology of the word it means to be familiar, recognized.
- Something is too simple. The best thinkers of people struggled over the problem of consciousness for two centuries and could not come to a decision. Something does not believe that everything is so simple.
- I can show you a simple example that demonstrates the scheme in action. You probably noticed that in the formula of consciousness, the recognition of your actions occurs after the action itself. The action is recalled, realized after a moment. This is a very short step, half a second, so you do not see them separately.
- Suppose. What an example?
- Your scientist B. Libet set an experience in which he was able to detect these two steps separately. In it, an awareness of the action occurs after the command to perform it - the movement of a finger to stop the arrow. This happens precisely according to the formula of consciousness — first the action, then the recognition of it as one’s own, which you feel as awareness.
- Exactly! And therefore, our scientists could not understand how it turns out that awareness occurs later. They even suggested that he was simply not there, and consciousness was an illusion. Everything is predetermined without him.
“But this experience of Libet happens to everyone in life. Did you have such a feeling in the morning that you woke up an instant before the alarm bell?
- Yes, it happened. I still do not understand how exactly my biological clock can wake me up in an instant before 7.30.
“The alarm clock is waking you up, its sharp call, not the biological clock.” You wake up from him and the next moment the consciousness is turned on, which is trying to recognize what happened at the last moment. This is an alarm bell. It is as if you are returning half a second into the past because of this, recognizing the action you have already performed - the recognition of the call, from which you woke up. But all of this you feel like what happened in the mind, that is, in the present, when you woke up. This creates the impression that you woke up a moment before it began. That is, did not sleep before the bell.
- Consciousness brings us back for a moment? - How do we perform deliberate actions if awareness occurs after?
- Yes, we can say that you consciously live half a second in the past. But you think it is real. “Speech or thought is the programming of one’s future actions, even if they immediately follow such programming. You thought you wanted to move your hand when the hands reached a certain number on the dial. With this word code, you created a program that connects a digit with a finger movement. And when such an event occurred, the programmed connection worked as an unconscious action. And only after that you recognized this action as perfect. And he realized it that way. - How unusual! Do you think we perform all actions unconsciously?

- Yes, some of your scientists have come to this. The action itself is the same as in all animals - this is the realization of an unconscious movement program. You realize it later, after a moment, even if it is just a bending of a finger. And you program until.
- And is programming itself through speech - is it also unconscious?
- Not really. The speech act itself, like a program, is the same unconscious action as any other. But coherent speech requires its continuous awareness. It is the awareness of speaking as one’s action that returns the content of the speech act to perception. And this allows us to make the next, new speech act from the new speech situation. So you became able to speak longer sentences and create large programs of your behavior. But this is a separate issue, I suggest while we stop on this.
- Only one question - if there is a recognition of the apple, what is the recognition of my recognition of the apple as my own? What do I recognize as my own when I see an apple? What is the argument of this function?
- The argument at the second stage is the data of proprioception, for example, the tension of the eye muscles, or the feelings that you experience at the sight of this apple. This is the recognition of your action accompanying the recognition. Even if you just contemplate and say “apple” to yourself, this speech act as a hindered movement by the muscles of the larynx is also recognized.
- That is, the internal sensitivity is always the second stage?
- Almost always.
- How do I program it? What could it be?
- If you create a robot, the activation of servomotors or contraction of artificial muscles. This is the motor sensitivity, the propriety of the robot. You will still need to take these readings to control the accuracy of the action.
- Wait, that is, the whole secret is that I not only see, but also know that I see it?
- Yes, it seems you started to understand. And this is expressed even in your speech. When you say “I have seen”, for example, a mirror - this means that you not only recognized the mirror, but also recognized your looking at the mirror. You talk about your action, and not about the mirror in this phrase. And you talk about him in the past tense. This is the explication of consciousness, if this is easier for you to understand. In a speech you have expressed so far that which has already been minimized in real processes.
- And the secret apparently in the second stage?
- Yes, if you recognize your action - you attributed it to yourself, and it remains in the autobiographical memory. You remember him. And in his absence for you to recognize the mirror remains unconscious. You do not know about him - you can not pull out of memory until you meet the mirror again (it will seem familiar to you).
- Is it really that simple? Why do we not notice this? Not aware?
- This happens every minute from about 4 years old and therefore the two stages are curtailed so that by the conscious age, when you realize yourself completely, you can no longer separate these stages. Remember how children begin to speak - they express in words what you have already minimized. They talk about their actions with objects. So you still write in the stories to each other about your adventures, for example, "I told him, I saw, I fell." You are not talking about falling, but about your involvement in it, that is, you recognized that it fell, saw, you said. All the secrets of consciousness have always been before you. It was necessary only to see them that way.
- This is not the first time in the history of people. Then it is not clear how we even realize our thoughts and consider them as ours?
- Thoughts are also your actions, because it is an inner speech. Previously, you said everything out loud, did not know how to think about yourself as still primitive people of some tribes in Africa. You perceive speech as an act produced by you, your muscles, perceived through proprieption. In your mind, you are not moving them anymore, but all the same, the same inhibited motor neurons are involved in the process, and you will recognize their activity as your own.
- But why some processes are not realized?
- Aware of the new action that requires coordination of the location of the body, its desires and the recognized situation to better match the conditions of the action. Consciousness is part of such an orienting behavior, which is characteristic of all animals, as described by your scientist Halperin. Unlike animals, you can change your behavior arbitrarily, as you learned to direct attention to any, even non-new, stimulus. So they are not always aware of anything new.
- I still do not understand how we program our arbitrary behavior.
- An example. You saw the weather on the computer and you want to take an umbrella with you when you leave the house. You pronounce it to yourself, performing a mental act. Sometimes even unconsciously. What is this action? This programming - you changed the actual associations in the brain. And then you are completely mechanically, and not consciously, remember the umbrella, however, when you go out the door of the house. Because he said to himself "when I get out of the house." If I had said when I was going to dress, I would have remembered when I went to the closet with my clothes, where the umbrella was. You are aware only of the fact that you remembered the umbrella. The memory itself is an unconscious but programmed act.
- We tell ourselves what to do, and then follow this?
- Yes. People did not immediately learn to control themselves. At first you learned to talk about the past, then about the future as a repeating past. Since the past was missing for people right now, it was difficult to talk about it. Therefore, the past talked in myths and legends. Through them, laws were established as something that repeats and prescribes actions in the future. These are the stages of the development of thinking - through the story. Your memory is a story to yourself about what happened to your “me” in another situation.
- But why precisely through words?
“You cannot see your eyes when you look at the world.” For this you need a mirror (this is a metaphor). Such a mirror became the words that call not something outside, but your organs, feelings, and actions, combined by the demonstrative pronoun “I”. A person who has learned to speak about his “I” as a body, feelings or thoughts, as if he discovered himself. The word directed at yourself, by others or by yourself, became a key moment in the appearance of mind and consciousness as you know it.
- I do not think that earlier I would have agreed with you so simply. But I will try to believe that this is so.
- Tell me, why is consciousness so important for you, and not thinking or attention, which technically precedes consciousness and is more important for brain work?
- I think, because for a person consciousness is that he himself. In the mind, a person discovers himself, aware of himself as you write. And now it is clear why - because according to your formula there is an "I" in it. But still it is not clear, how does a subjective feeling appear? How the light of consciousness lights up inside as one of our philosophers said.
- This is a memory of your actions in the formula of consciousness and “turns on” that “light in the brain” you are talking about. You have a time in which your subjectivity lives.
- Until it became clear from your words, where does the subjective feeling come from when there is only dead matter around?
- I will try to explain. First, you have a sense of time. This can be expressed by the formula "I was here." It is only a sensation, not a knowledge of time as a flow. This formula is not less important than the formula of consciousness. With her, you can remember the situation in which your “I” already was and compare it with a similar present situation. This expanded the possibilities of comparison and conclusions. Such a transfer of "I" in time allows you to say: "Yesterday there was water here." Animals will come, they will not find water, which will not cause reinforcement of this route. And the person will conclude "someone drank it (knows his own same action)." And will look for the cause. In gods or other people.

The association of the place with the name allowed me to say “I was there” and to compare the situations “here” and “there”. Thus, ahead of the change, for example, “came from there,” which was a breakthrough for people. There are many verbs of action, that is, changes. While uttering a verb, a person learned to resurrect a different situation in his memory, different from “here and now.” This is how the imagination manifested itself and, over time, a purely human ability to plan. It was not for nothing that your philosopher Russell believed that a man became rational when he began to plan his actions. Artifacts appeared along with imagination. The man broke away from "here and now" and learned to transfer himself to the desired point. And he learned to wait, to go to the desired in the imagination through several steps of the gun activity.

In a child during a speech explosion, verbs appear in large numbers. He suddenly realizes that “drinking” is to make a full glass empty. He may mean a full glass at another time, seeing it empty and activating the action - “pour”. Animals will wait for him to become complete himself. That's what happened important to you.
- But where does subjectivity come from?
- Memories allowed me to see my feelings in front of me when they were already accomplished. You cannot feel them when you do them. Because the brain is engaged in this action. But when done, you can return them to perception. And "see." There are not many people among you who realize at once everything that they do. But everyone can say what happened to them. I saw a cheetah, it was scary, I ran, I was tired. Gradually, you learned how to discover, to remember not only your actions, but also your feelings. And the subjectivity lies in the fact that this is an opportunity to recall your feelings as in the formula of consciousness. Internal experiences associated with perception. And the more often you remember this, the more the process turns off and it becomes usual for you to feel a sense of subjectivity in the perception of everything. Know what you see, or “qualia,” as your philosophers say.
- That is, I need to build the possibility of memories, so that the robot has subjectivity?
- You have to implement the formula of awareness, as we said earlier. Short memories in it already laid. They generate a sense of subjectivity. The difficulty will only cause that the robot does not have feelings like body experiences. The same "sadness." You will have to replace it with something if you want to achieve a similarity.
- It is not a simple question, considering that the robot does not have blood in the veins, the tide of which causes the feeling of “baking in the chest”, if I correctly remember the origin of the word “sadness”.
- Right remember. You need to come up with an equivalent, you have temperature sensors.
- But then one question remains - how do I know that the robot had a consciousness?
- It is also very simple, if you follow the formula of consciousness. It implies a model of their actions. Its presence at any time and must be checked.
- How? Not very obvious to me.
- The question "Why?", Asked at any time of communication. Why do you think so, why do you say so, why did you do it, why do you treat so. As soon as you asked such a question to the robot, you made him turn to the second part of the formula of consciousness - does he know what he is doing? Of course, he can know only if you yourself laid in him a model of his actions. Important - the question "Why?" Should be directed to the actions of the robot, and not "why the stone fell from the roof."
- Similarly, to answer, the robot must have a reflection. But the answers to such questions, too, can be laid in the program, as do all sorts of applications, assistants.
- You can, but not all. The question should be unexpected for the robot. All his actions can not lay the answers. Most predicates occur only once in your speech, and together there are billions of such combinations. And the majority of questions from the robot without consciousness will not have answers. The model of one’s actions is no less complex than the picture of the world in which common sense should be laid.
- Well, I'll check on your robots. And how to check the mind of a person?
- Dreams. If a person is suddenly awakened during REM sleep, and he tells about his dream, then he has a consciousness. This ability to “dream”, that is, to remember them after a sudden waking up, appeared due to consciousness - you can remember what you did. Since you didn’t take any other actions in your sleep, you remember a dream (like brain activity).
- I'll check it too. The last question, why do you constantly clarify that this is a metaphor? I quite understand so.
- We do not have such a form of thinking, it was difficult for us to learn it, therefore I don’t always tell them exactly. And I specify just in case.

The continuation of the origin of consciousness, see the book of the Conversation Eighth.

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