How can the difference between network interaction and physical interaction between two people be explained?

Question of the thickness of the relationship.

'Thickness' is used here for the complex dimension. Communication is done at different levels of information. Some are known to us: common language, body expression, pheromones, etc. These exchanges are already more complex than they seem. Body expression has passive and active levels. The physical characteristics of the person are not controlled by him (size, proportions, sex), while his presentation is active, at unconscious and conscious levels.

The whole creates a depth of information. Communication is rich when it integrates a great depth of data. This is the case spontaneously for body language. It is printed from birth. The attitudes of those around them are deciphered before their speech. The mimics settle in the unconscious before the word. A shift that means that we don't always coordinate the two well. But there is always a utilitarianism behind a defect. An introvert is not good at body language because he refuses to let others into him, sharing impressions that he knows too different to be understood.

An example of depthless communication is a math class. Mathematics is a remarkably precise symbolism for a unique level of information. They associate the elements of a system with such precision that there is usually only one possible representation. As this representation is universal, it cannot be identity.

But above all it is not qualitative. Quality appears in the relationship of the level of information with others. Quantities are only of interest to the quality of the thing they describe. Adding apples is more interesting than adding up numbers. Mathematics quickly tires the layman because it reveals nothing about the world but quantities.

When mathematicians or physicists are passionate about mathematical communication, they hold it in a mathematical universe. They share a conceptual building where the equations discussed live. Maths finds a depth and richness that does not exist in everyday life. They hide in everyday life but are not the right language. Even a devout mathematician does not manage his movements and social relationships with calculations.

There is no substitute for the depth of the physical relationship between two people. It alone gives a real impression of thickness, by the multitude of information integrated together. Consciousness perceives that many are not directly accessible. The relationship is a bit of a mystery. So much to discover on each other. The signs are before our eyes, nose, touch. The interactive space is multidimensional. We don't have any extra meaning to measure it. We would like to be telepathic, extra-lucid, radiographic, all in front of the whole person, in its fullness, full of secret information.

On the contrary, network interaction brings the exchange back to an anemic level of complexity. I do not mean that the discussion is simplistic. No, nothing to do with the sophistication of the topics covered. We exchange sometimes very complicated abstractions on networks. It's even the best way to focus on them, not to be distracted by other information. But 'complicated' and 'complex' do not mean the same thing. The complicated is at the top of the complexity scale for our personal pyramid of concepts. Complicated is the limit of what these concepts know how to deal with. To make 'simple' the 'complicated', we need to raise our pyramid a little further, to encompass the difficulty.

The drop in complexity that I am talking about comes from the loss of the languages associated with physical exchange, from everything that enriches it on an unconscious level. All that remains is abstraction. If this interaction does not lead to the icy sobriety of mathematics, it is because our language terms already contain complex information. They combine objects, emotions, abstractions, references to real people. With words such as 'blue', 'luck', 'sad', 'beautiful', we get a good simulation of a much more complete exchange than with numbers. 'Sad' immediately refers to a mental experience that we are able to experience in depth, by analogy with a personal impression.

But that's not all its depth. Not the one that can be achieved when the person expresses his sadness in front of us, with all his expressions. By its presence it also asserts that it is an authentic sadness, not an hasty or even abusive use as easily permitted by dematerialized networks.

Each floor of neural treatment using its particular language, favoring a language develops this neural floor. Continuous use of abstractions develops pre-frontal centers. While neglecting the practice of body language makes your attitudes banal or defective. Starting a relationship on the networks creates an apprehension of the first encounter. What will the other be, in real life? We are aware of the weakness of our other modes of communication. The mystery surrounding the other becomes a fear of being unable to decipher it properly. Or if body language is still functional, you instantly discover that you lack a different kind of attraction. The meeting will be limited to a polite conversation.

Networked relationships don't just have drawbacks. They allow you to domesticate the aggressive facets of body language. Und preparing, instincts already create mortal enemies at first glance. The retro-controlled social consciousness of animosities on networks. It can sublimate them and avoid coming to the hands.

However, it must be an enlarged social consciousness and not a gang transplanted into a small paranoid group on the net. The major danger of the network is not access to everything but withdrawal on almost nothing. No matter how far the mind connects, the mental horizon becomes terribly narrow.

Closer than that of a person walking without a laptop and examining the world around him, thus developing the variety and depth of his impressions, and giving a lot of depth to his relationships.


What is the difference between the subconscious and the unconscious?

Understanding this difference requires seeing the mind as a pyramid of information levels, from physical neural interactions to thoughts.

How does a level of information form? It relies on a group of neurons receiving simultaneous arousals. They codify the regularities by the signals that their own axons emit to other neurons. The code is based on the position of each neuron within the network (graph theory). The "speech" of each neural group shows some stability (neighbouring sets of arousals trigger the same response). But it evolves easily by pruning or creating new bonds. Very active phenomenon in the child's brain.

Each level of information has relative independence. The stability of neural discourse is the basis of intent. As the same "word" is triggered for different nearby sets of stimuli, it can be said that it seeks itself in sensory signals. The mind thus builds its reality.

The complexity of neural codification increases as successive levels overstay their information on previous ones. They incorporate an increasing number of criteria. The pinnacle of this integration is conscious space, a network scattered throughout the entire brain. It is kept awake by the influx of sensory stimuli and by exccitator nuclei active during the daytime.

The independence between levels of information is relative. The synthesis performed by the upper level retro-controls the activity of the lower level, without upsetting it, otherwise the mind would be a random chaos. The greater the distance between two levels (in terms of complex flooring), the less the upper level intervenes directly on the lower level.

You now have the organization of the mind before your eyes. In this pyramid, the conscious top retro-controls the immediately underlying contents. We are aware of what constitutes our thinking and may seek to change it. It's the subconscious.

While it is impossible for consciousness to directly access the base of the pyramid, for example the organization of retinal stimuli into visual objects. This is the unconscious.

Inaccessible? Not completely. Conscious intent can influence subconscious levels that are effectors on the unconscious. This is the basis of the placebo and nocebo effects, a source of very real metabolic changes.


Can a machine that gains intellect become conscious?

(Last article on consciousness and intelligence, supplementing the previous two)

Yes, a machine that gains intellect can become conscious.

You will have read the previous articles. For a machine to become an autonomous consciousness and continue to construct its levels of consciousness on its own, a feedback control must encourage it to resolve the conflicts it encounters in its representations of reality.

We need evolutionary pressure.

In humans, already you can easily see that the spirits bathed in comfort and easy rewards are not those who develop the greatest intelligence or the highest consciousness. It is social competition that produces geniuses.

It will thus be necessary that the future I.A. be subjected to similar pressures to access and overcome the same levels of consciousness.


Why is Google not aware?

(Continuation of the previous article on consciousness and intelligence)

A level of intelligence is a level of consciousness. Not the opposite. Levels of consciousness begin in the organization of matter (of course they are not yet consciousness as we experience it) and then virtualize in the neural organization (the part we also call intelligence).

The consciousness experienced, as well as the intelligence employed, is the result of this stacking of physical and then virtual levels.

The interest of this theory is, in addition to an explanation of consciousness, to understand why intelligence is not just a sum of knowledge. It is their hierarchical organization. It is the depth of this organization.

For example, an artificial intelligence today can gather a quantity of information far superior to the human mind about a particular subject. This does not make him a genius, nor a conscious entity by our standards. His intelligence seems limited to us, and it's easy to understand: it is only one level of information that the AI. thus extended, increasing the set of aggregated items. She did not merge them into integrated information. She didn't build an additional depth of information. However, it is the stacking of levels, not their extent, that increases intelligence.

So we see that there are very intelligent minds who have little information. While others have incredible memories, host entire dictionaries of information, but are not considered remarkable intelligences.

Google is a gigantic layer of information… flat. The human mind is a very high pile of a much smaller amount of information.


What is the difference between intelligence and consciousness?

Simple answer:

Intelligence is the ability to virtualize information. It is specific to living things. While consciousness is the principle of representation. Universal principle in reality.

The two are intimately linked. The strengthening of consciousness comes from its elevation on the levels of information constructed by matter, and then especially by neural networks. It is this upper part of the building that we call intelligence ’.

Complicated answer (for complexity specialists):

Intelligence and awareness are both the result of deepening integrated information. However intelligence is specific to neural networks and their ability to deepen information virtually, while consciousness is not the prerogative of the brain or even of living things. It is a more transcendental principle building reality.

What is integrated information? It is a collection of information, each element of which depends on the condition of the others. This whole, as an integration, represents an additional level of information. This representation is not an immaterial illusion, it is inscribed in reality. She herself becomes information from another level of reality formed by her fellows.

The independence of the representation is evidenced by the fact that different sets of information do not change the representation. The properties of representation, as an independent element, remain stable as its constitution evolves. The additional level of reality is rigorously ontological.

A changing constitution is transformed into a stable whole. "Transformed" is not the appropriate term because the whole does not replace its constituents; it is added to it, entangled. I use the term 'superimposed'.

It is in this representation, an ontological phenomenon, that consciousness is born. There is no need to add the slightest mysticism to it. Consciousness is basically the integration of a set of information into a fusional representation. It exactly matches our conscious experience.

But this is not a phenomenon unique to neurons. Matter is already building its levels of representation and therefore its superimposed layers of consciousness. Neurons add their own layers by virtualizing information. It is because of their special properties that the levels add up very quickly. It is not a question of the number of neurons but of the segmentation of the integrated information. Graph theory gives indications on this subject. Segmentation and depth of information correlate with the variety of signals processed and their regularities, rather than the number of neurons involved.

This explanation shows that some neural areas, like the cortex, build very high level consciousness, while others (the 'second' intestinal brain) do form one, but too frustrating for us to associate with it. our cortical consciousness.

Intelligence also becomes easy to explain. It does not vary according to the number of neurons (all brains have the same number of neurons, some have sometimes only 10% and develop normal intelligence). It varies according to the depth of information constructed in each area studied by neural networks.

Intelligence is the superimposition of a large number of levels of mental representation (of elementary consciousness) about a subject.

The stacking of levels of information is what I call the Diversium for physical reality (it is a process of deepening and diversifying information). The part of this stack formed by neural networks, i.e. the mind, is what I call the Stratium (strata of virtual information).


Why do I think this's thought and not another?

Your question is an opportunity to revisit this somewhat strange and very shared idea: that "I" is something other than the space of my thoughts. What could be different?

A soul? A soul is a desire for eternity and not an explanation of conscious experience.

Could a thread of thought exist without this supplement of an "I"? Some make this assumption with the 'philosophical zombie', in which mental processes provide no conscious experience. But we don't know a philosophical zombie and even animals with a much smaller nervous system than ours seem to have a conscious experience.

'This' thought and not the other occupies my mind because my neural processes are forming 'this' thought. This explanation is certain, since if an external stimuli were to enter into the process it would instantly give rise to a different thought in my mind.

It remains to be seen whether there is an independent "I" that observes the process. Not. This impression is completely universal and very real, but it is not independent. It is based on two phenomena:

1) One is classic: neural networks observe each other. It is possible to consider one of one's own thoughts, to observe one's mental reflection.

2) The other is harder to grasp: my thoughts are not displaying a computer running a program for a user. I'm following the whole process. I am merging it into an 'exit' called consciousness, which is also a control. The merger is not reducible to its constituents. This is an additional level of information, the level of integration of constituents.

This is the container surrounding the contents. Even in the absence of directed thoughts (mind in the wave), the container is present. The empty set exists, without content.

You can thus understand why you have 'this' thought but also why you feel like something more than it.


In Search of the Unconscious (commentary of the dossier For science HS108)

This remarkable dossier devoted to the unconscious is an opportunity to unify the points of view cited. The central idea (the unconscious is the main process on which the conscious emerges) is surrounded by partial and contradictory discourses. Some try to explain consciousness (Dehaene), others go so far as to denigrate its existence (Carruthers). Focusing on the unconscious brings the authors together more easily. The border with the conscious is given as blurred. The phenomenon of consciousness becomes incidental and left out. Can this satisfy readers who are keenly experimenting with this daily illusion?

At first I summarize the Stratium, self-organized mind theory. Then I insert each of the points of view of the file by indicating where their horizon becomes limited.

1) Stratium

is a self-organized mind theory based on its sensory inputs. The neurons receiving these inputs are connected in small groups that codify their regularities. Each group can take several configurations that are the symbolic words of the code. The code is mathematical in network theory.

The peculiarity of Stratium is to see a hierarchy in the organization of these codes. The states of the first-level groups are treated as semi-independent entries by a second-level group, then a third-level group, etc.

The hierarchy is local at its inception, which joins the classical vision of the brain divided anatomically into large centers dedicated to sensory processing. Higher levels, however, extend to the entire brain. They integrate more and more intimately the representations of the major centers, up to the conscious space.

This is the functional aspect of Stratium. A more fundamental aspect, necessary to explain the consciousness phenomenon, is the way information becomes qualitative in its neural treatment. To understand it you have to go below the neuron. We must look at how material reality itself takes on a dual aspect, that of an information structure and that of qualitatively specific substances.

Very briefly: when elements are organized, when their relationships form a set of information, the whole thing is additional information superimposed on the previous ones. This fusion representation is reducible to constituent information, but it does exist on its own. Indeed, different underlying configurations do not alter the superimposed representation. Representation is stable information at the level at which it evolves. It becomes an element in turn.

Over-taxation is not the replacement of information by its representation. It's their entanglement. It determines an additional level in complexity. The depth of the information structure is increasing. The entity thus built is not just any information assembly. It is integrated information, that is, each information unit is interdependent with the others.

In this theory the term 'representation' is no longer reserved for the mind that looks at matter. Reality self-represents, level of complexity after another. A representation becomes materialistic. It potentially replaces the notion of substance.

The definition of a level of material representation has important consequences. It is invisible from its constituents. Atoms form a molecule but do not know what a molecule is. Neurons form a word of language but do not know what the word is.

The level of representation exists only for the merged representation (that is its essence) and for representations above them. This descending vision (in the complex dimension) shows the constituents in the form of a whole. This is the qualitative aspect opposite to the quantitative aspect of the constitution.

Not lost? How to assemble all these peremptory assertions in an explanation of the consciousness phenomenon?

My assertions are not fanciful. They are well rooted in a materialistic ontology that it is too long to explain here. I want to keep your attention. There is a simple argument for giving value to this theory: it is the only one to perfectly explain your conscious experience from a materialistic reasoning, without making an illusion of it.

Indeed the phenomenon of consciousness is this remarkable double aspect that I have just described. It is both a fusional impression that we poetically call the 'thread of thought', and a set of contents called 'concepts'. You guess the hierarchy of these concepts that sinks into your unconscious. Your tried and tested consciousness is the final representation, the retro-control of the proposals previously built in your mind.

However, this retro-control is not illusory. It is the seat of intentions, of an identity, of a life project. These representations are reducible to the concepts that generate them but have an independent existence. They are not in the rules that organize the concepts but in the whole of their relationships.

The ontological and epistemic views complement each other. They are no longer in opposition. The conflict stemmed from the exclusive attribution of representative capacity to the mind, and the constitutive capacity to matter. Now matter represents its levels of information, and the spirit constitutes them through its hierarchical neural networks.

2) In Search of the Unconscious

The dossier of For Science takes up the main idea of Stratium (consciousness is an emergence of a mental process essentially unconscious). It is easy to find the idea of prioritizing the process, but it is never put in principle. It contradicts the quotes of Nick Chater, who sees the brain as a huge flat neural system. The consciousness phenomenon has been ignored. Let's see how interventions fit into Stratium.

From the unconscious to the consciousness

This diagram shows the mental hierarchy in the temporal dimension. Processing times are specific to each level of organization. A brief treatment at the base does not reach the conscious summit.

Stanislas Dehaene

'Blind vision' and 'heminegligence' reflect the existence of intermediate levels of consciousness only comprehensible in a hierarchy of the decision-making process. Acts are undertaken before access to consciousness. Some do not access it. The others can still be interrupted or modulated before they are realized.

Stanislas Dehaene insists: this does not make the unconscious the main decision maker. The treatment of the act is greatly enriched, in cognitive quality, by conscious integration. The unconscious proposes a habit, the conscious has it.

'Attentional blindness' becomes understandable knowing that these are representations that are sought in sensory data. If the only direction given to the act existed, no element of the visual field would be obscured.

Dehaene also confirms that the Bayesian brain is organized hierarchically.

On the other hand, Dehaene's theory of the origin of consciousness (the global ETG workspace) is insufficient. It competes with Tononi's TII integrated information theory. But the consciences explained by the two theories are not the same. The ETG is the awakened human consciousness (the top of the Stratium). The TII principle is the principle of representation rooted in information, which I have detailed earlier. The two theories are not rival but necessarily complementary.

Dehaene wants to demonstrate his theory by stimulating a neural assembly to trigger a conscious image. Here's what's going to happen: if it only stimulates, in this assembly, the neurons belonging to the ETG (supposed to be the support of consciousness), the guinea pig will experience a conscious image without depth, the ghost of the object evoked. If it stimulates all neurons from sensory input, the image will be fully tested. But it can achieve the same result by stimulating only sensory inputs (by presenting the object in the visual field). This will demonstrate that consciousness rests on the full depth of the Stratium and not just the ETG.

Peter Carruthers

joins the arguments of Michael Graziano and Nick Chater to say that consciousness is reduced to an inner gaze. She becomes almost illusory, a mere spectator of unconscious activity.

For the Stratium this position is that of the last layer of conscious integration, whose constituent processes are opaque to it. The final representation that sees that the close levels of its constitution, not beyond, because of the relative independence of the codes of neural groups.

However, this position is precisely in favour of the hierarchical construction of the mind, not its platitude. How would a habit settle if the unconscious had to reconstruct its entire organization in real time, according to each sensory stimulus? The mind would be an extremely slow chaos to react.

Worse, how would consciousness manage to retro-control this functioning? Because intentional retro-control does exist. It is a conscious attention that improves a musculoskeletal act, while it has no direct access to the detail of muscle coordination. Only a well-codified hierarchy can allow such adjustments without upsetting everything.

The flat mind does not explain in any way how bright points become representations already present in the mind, why some are intentions, or why a fringe of this process becomes a tried and tested consciousness. It is a much more reductive approach than Dehaene's. Moreover, Carruthers does not comment on the possibility of bridging the gap between subjective experience and neural processes. His position is far from it.

3) In conclusion

The record of For Science remains remarkable by the consistency of the articles with the main idea of an unconscious in the foreground in our behaviors, far more than most of us imagine.

Why does his share of control seem enormous to consciousness, spontaneously? It relates to the level of importance of what is dealt with: choice, personal destiny, elaborate representations of objects and people. The underpinments of these processes appear to be negligible because they are not dealt with directly.

It is a solipsistic position of consciousness. By observing her such devices, she can see that most acts are not controlled directly or are impossible to consciously correct. Therefore, there is bound to be an in-conscious person responsible for these proposals to be acted upon. 

Freud is brought into disrepute in this matter, and rightly so, for three reasons:

1) Certainly he is the first to have formalized the unconscious in detail. But he is not the first and his success has vampirized research on the unconscious, while he has made two major mistakes:

2) Freud has made the unconscious a kind of second brain capable of reasoning in a rival situation of consciousness. It's not true. It is only a primary programming of consciousness become difficult to access because neural groups do not share the same codes.

3) Freud imposed his own unconscious conflicts (Oedipus) as fundamentals for humanity. But each of us is the product of different social circles, from the family to the general culture, and manufactures his personal little neuroses.

But Freud's model was the first attempt to prioritize the mind. This idea must be defended against the tendency to make it a vast single neural system, which constitutes a conceptual regression.


What is the best way to understand consciousness?

A great way to understand consciousness is to study those that increase consciousness in others.

A mother who cajoles and exchanges smiles with her baby. A teacher who transmits knowledge. A neurologist who awakens a comatose by electrostimulations. A mystic who shares holist ideas.

There are many ways to define an increase in consciousness. Is there anything in common in all these ways that helps us to understand what consciousness is fundamentally?

Each way is anchored in a different level of information. This is why the consciences they describe appear so dissimilar. The only thing in common is the actual increase in consciousness, regardless of the medium of information.

This common feature is the addition of additional levels of information. We readily call this phenomenon an 'enlargement' of consciousness. But it's more of a stack. Higher-level information synthesizes previous ones.

The baby includes more elaborate signals from the mother. The teacher allows his students to access a higher class. The neurologist restores greater integration of neural networks. The mystic creates a higher observation of the self within a whole.

Consciousness is a stack of layers, from those laid by the mother to the delicate veils laid by the mystics on the nudity of our soul.


How did you escape solipsism?

Let us differentiate solipsism as a philosophy and as a psychological syndrome.

There is no need to escape philosophical solipsism. It is enough to transform it into a truism: our universe is entirely mental, personal, totalitarian. It is impossible for us to experience reality other than through perceptions.

Nevertheless, this authentically solipsistic universe is anything but homogeneous. It's a world of conflict. We do not have the control over it. It doesn't matter that we can't get out of this universe, it's perpetually invaded. A solipsism that would denigrate this could not explain the surprise.

Psychological solipsism is a disease of the mind that is currently spreading. It is associated with the push for individualization and, more paradoxically, with the rise of social networks.

Social networks, in fact, isolate more than they socialize. What they mix are memes, patterns of thought on particular subjects, events. They don't mix people.

Talking to someone physically is profoundly different from a digital exchange. A considerable number of additional levels of information are involved, by body language, by the reality of the social relationship. These are the most shared, most collectivist levels.

On a social network it is brains in incubators who discuss. In a living space they are complete people, bodies equipped with a brain, placed in physical reality.

The depth of difference is evident, for a doctor, when dealing with a pathological personality. Psychoses are excessively deviant individualities. They are exacerbated when the individual is alone. Paranoia develops freely. It occupies the thoughts completely.

It is only when the psychotic socializes physically, that the reality of other individuals is represented to him, that he emerges from solipsism. Not without difficulty.

A social network does not have this effect. On the contrary, it is capable of exacerbating solipsism since paranoid ideas are able to group into small communities and strengthen each other.

A conspiracy theorist finds realistic ideas only by finding himself in the midst of real people.

Escaping psychological solipsism is therefore to present itself entirely to the world, so that the world presents itself entirely to you.