Toward a Substrate Independent Engineered Subjective Qualia
In the words of the ever uber salient, George Dvorsky, "Protopanpsychism and the consciousness conundrum, or why we shouldn't assume uploads." He writes:
The other broad approach to the issue of consciousness is emergence theory, the idea that self-awareness and qualia can arise from complex computational dynamics in the brain. The critical assumption here is that mind’s architecture is largely computational, but that consciousness emerges through the concert of myriad neuronal interactions. In this sense, consciousness is an epiphenomenon or metaphenomenon of the brain’s machinations.This approach to cognition is clearly essential, but it is not sufficient.
I was particularly happy to read this essay because it dramatically clarifies some ideas I shared on StumbleUpon, when asked by JollySpaniard (architect of the incomparably interesting Brain Parades on MemeTherapy.Net), "What's your 'pet prediction' of something that might happen in the next decade or two?" as a followup to his earlier stumbler poll, "What is the strangest thing you believe to be true?" In my case, both questions share the same answer. The strangest things that I believe to be true, I also believe will become better understood over the next couple of decades.
On Sept 30, 2006, I wrote to JollySpaniard:
For my part, the strangest thing I believe to be true is that Intelligent Design is on to something; but not what the feuding factions think they're on to. Remember, the Big Bang was first proposed by a clergyman, Father Georges Lemaître. The Big Bang was widely criticized as positing a Creation Event from which a Creator could be asserted into the scientific disciplines. A very similar argument is now leveled at so-called I.D. However, my own atheist belief is that Intelligence may be as palpable a force as any of the quantum entangling forces. In fact, it may be Intelligence that explains entangled behavior of quantum particles. Perhaps this is how one entangled particle "knows" the state of the other. My specific weird belief and pet prediction is the suspicion that just as the Big Bang adapted to the subsequently corroborating data, new OBJECTIVE DATA WILL EMERGE to suggest and subsequently bear out the influence of a "universally embedded intelligence" as a constituent feature of the observable and measurable universe. What some of us presently refer to as extropy, the inverse of entropy, could turn out to be Detectable Intelligence. This is a very quick and sloppy way to put it, but hopefully it is clear that I believe both sides of the present I.D. debate to be wrong for distinctly opposing myopic reasons. Put another way, if there's a Star Wars "Force," that "force" just might turn out to be Intelligence. Human Brains may not create Intelligence, they may simply be attuned -- like radio receivers -- to what is already there, in the ether. Of course, some antennas are far more effective and efficient than others.
I had no idea at the time that I was essentially describing some version of protopanpsychism. Then, imagine my surprise when I read, "This has lead to the development of what is known as quantum consciousness theory, which postulates the idea that consciousness is indelibly tied to quantum processes – that the brain is essentially a quantum computer utilized by an observer to “decohere” quantum superposition." This is not qualitatively different from what I was attempting to express a month ago when I spoke of intelligence as a fundamental force, particle, or energy that might have something to do with quantum entanglement. Interesting, at least from the perspective of this wannabe idiot savant.