Skeptics Guide to the Universe Forums

General Discussions => Skepticism / Science Talk => Topic started by: Mr. Beagle on January 14, 2019, 08:57:33 AM

Title: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: Mr. Beagle on January 14, 2019, 08:57:33 AM
I came across this interesting article and video from last November, making the analogy of human consciousness as the emergent phenomenon from brain feedback upon itself reaching a "threshold" level.

http://theconversation.com/how-a-trippy-1980s-video-effect-might-help-to-explain-consciousness-105256

This author uses an example of visual feedback, although my experience has been with audio feedback. At a certain point in any audio amplification system, there is a threshold where audio feedback "emerges" around one frequency, and at that point the feedback appears to have no originating source. It is "everywhere at once."

A consciousness feedback loop would basically be a threshold phenomenon where the path of sensory organs to memory starts to become circular, and we "hear ourselves think." Humans live under that threshold for several hours every day while sleeping and this author uses the example of anesthesia, which appears to interfere with that feedback loop.

Throwing that out to the rabble, what are the weaknesses of the "consciousness as feedback loop" argument?
Title: Re: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: daniel1948 on January 14, 2019, 10:08:05 AM
... Throwing that out to the rabble, what are the weaknesses of the "consciousness as feedback loop" argument?

Lack of any actual evidence? Beerhouse rambling devoid of any meaningful content? Lack of any testable predictions? Didn’t read the link. Just rambling out my butt here. But unless the author has credentials in a relevant field I’d dismiss his ramblings as harmless beerhouse amusement. If he does have credentials, I’d want to see what his peers say before I weigh in.
Title: Re: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: brilligtove on January 14, 2019, 11:39:34 AM
There is ample evidence that consciousness includes feedback loops, but that does not mean it arises directly from a simple feedback loop. Gödel Esther Bach is the book to hit up on the topic, if you can make it through it.
Title: Re: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: arthwollipot on January 14, 2019, 06:41:42 PM
There is ample evidence that consciousness includes feedback loops, but that does not mean it arises directly from a simple feedback loop. Gödel Esther Bach is the book to hit up on the topic, if you can make it through it.

A little easier to read is Hofstadter's later book I Am A Strange Loop. But both are excellent.
Title: Re: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: brilligtove on January 14, 2019, 06:59:52 PM
I didn't find that one as compelling - but I should give it another go.
Title: Re: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: Bill K on January 15, 2019, 02:11:32 AM
There is ample evidence that consciousness includes feedback loops, but that does not mean it arises directly from a simple feedback loop. Gödel Esther Bach is the book to hit up on the topic, if you can make it through it.

A little easier to read is Hofstadter's later book I Am A Strange Loop. But both are excellent.

Thank you for the book recommendations, guys. Although I like the idea this chap is presenting (I think because it's simpler than actuality), I'd have to go with what daniel1948 said at least until I see otherwise.
Title: Re: Consciousness as a feedback loop
Post by: brilligtove on January 15, 2019, 08:19:35 AM
I have started in on the paper. It is not bar-room rambling. It is an attempt to define a theoretical framework that describes the relationship between the objective physical activities of the brain and the subjective experiences of consciousness.

From the conclusions of the paper: Consciousness as a Physical Process Caused by the Organization of Energy in the Brain (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02091/full)

Quote
It is proposed that a particular kind of activity occurs in human brains that causes our conscious experience. It is a certain dynamic organization of energetic processes having a high degree of differentiation and integration. This organization is recursively self-referential and results in a pattern of energetic activity that blossoms to a degree of complexity sufficient for consciousness.

Unfortunately much of the paper appears to be English, but on closer inspection turns out to be some from of 'pretentious academe'. It will take me some time (and a lot of supplemental searching) to parse.