Chris Fields talks with Mark Solms

Chris Fields and Mark Solms clearly seem to be aware of each other’s work even if this is the first time they’ve communicated. As the tweet says it’s a very informal chat facilitated by Mike Levin (interesting Tufts connection with Dan Dennett in my context.)

Mark is someone I’ve already talked about a lot – proper “neuro-psychological” (systems & Friston-free-energy) understanding of consciousness – building on where I’d got to with Iain McGilchrist and all the #LesionLiterature before that.

Chris Fields is of interest for all the references [29][31][32] by Anatoly Levenchuk and others in the #UpperOntology field. I didn’t actually know much about him until this exchange. (And of course I am reminded now that Chris, like Anatoly and Karl Friston, are scientific advisory board members of AII – ever convergent “systems” world!)

So far just rough notes on the informal dialogue
(apparently the first of two):

    • #HardProblem an absurdity arising from the exclusion of our subjective “machinery” from all considerations.
    • John Wheeler’s star in the ascendant in the “fundamental information” camp.
    • Carlo Rovelli the poet-laureate of the relational view of quantum theory.
    • Karl (Friston? or Carlo?) making positive statements about using our knowledge (of consciousness) to engineer “sentient machines”. Feynman “if I can’t create it, I don’t understand it” (Maybe we already have? Just haven’t convinced people – may take multiple (typically 3) human generations (like Kuhn / Kondratiev)
    • Other than observed behaviour what evidence of sentience are we expecting anyway?. Addressed for many decades in sci-fi – novel embodiments of the kind of sentience we seem to ascribe exclusively to humans.
    • Exchanging first-person felt “affect” by artistic means?
    • Psychedelics – LSD & Psilocybin experience and perception; not thought and conception, intellectual deduction.
    • Different “living” needs compete with each other on different timescales – where they “think” (actively infer) free resources (energy and material) are available based on felt sensations of needs / expectation-gaps / surprises. It’s more complex than deciding which need is most important and ignoring the others, a balanced mix on different time-bases. An optimisation landscape where sometimes exploration is more valuable than exploitation in immediate-needs-satisficing (sufficiently satisfying).
    • Physical face-to-face / get-to-know conference / symposium of like minds on “what criteria” would convince more widely of subjective states of conscious sentience. Thoughts as experience of “feelings”? (And exists by degrees.) Maybe using VR / Video-game resources (and biometric monitoring, and  prosthetics, and body-swaps / mannequins?) to demonstrate (#LesionLiterature is full of such “games” with subjects).
    • Bonding with another “being” is about shared existential “struggle” not the physical mammalian biology – so no reason why the “artificial” could not also provide such – more than empathy – bonding. The dawning of self (unity) distinct from our parts. [System<>not-System – Markov blanketed boundary of distinction.]
    • Formally – the whole of evolution is one self-organising system of which we are a “component”.

Looking forward to Part 2 !!!


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