Thank you! :)Thanks for mentioning C. elegans behavioural flexibility. I had meant to comment about that, but forgot to. That’s a great paper on the subject.I think people sometimes unfairly minimize the cognitive abilities of some invertebrates because it gives them cleaner and more straightforward answers about which organisms are conscious, according to their preferred theory.
You are very welcome! :)That passage is also one of my favourite parts of his answers, thanks for highlighting it.I’ll take a look at that David Pearce post, thanks for the link.Thanks for pointing at the typo, fixed it now.
Another way that frugality can improve productivity is that it can reduce the amount of time you spend buying, looking after, organizing, tidying, and thinking about physical possessions (because you probably have fewer of them). Of course, people who aren’t frugal don’t necessarily have more things, but they tend to have more of them.
Bravo!I’m particularly excited about the paper submissions and the increased academic expertise of your staff. That seems very important in getting this work taken more seriously.
Staying within the phylum, snails are consumed by humans in many cultures and have attracted some attention as an edge case of consciousness in philosophical circles. A representative from class Gastropoda would therefore be useful.
It looks like there is a small error here. Aplysia was included on the table and is from class Gastropoda.
Great article! I like the conceptual clarification that you do about what it means to say that a process is unconscious and how people use this term inconsistently in the literature. I’ve never seen that put so well and it’s important.I was wondering what you think of cases where a good idea ‘spontaneously’ occurs to someone while there thinking about something unrelated or while their mind is wandering. I only know anecdotes about this phenomenon, but I think it’s a widespread phenomenon that most people would experience something like this themselves.Some people have some of their best ideas in this way and it seems to satisfy both criteria for being an unconscious process. I am not sure if it’s directly related to any of the potential consciousness indicating features, but it seems like an example of very complex cognition being unconscious. Albeit it’s a bit murky how it occurs.
Thanks! Good thoughts!I’m also not sure if we know how expensive emotions are. In particular, even if some emotions are complicated, I’m not sure if the basic conscious experience of pain is complicated (at least the affective part of the experience, maybe not the sensory part). It subjectively seems like quite a simple feeling, but I don’t know much about this, and I’d like to learn more.
Shelley Adamo misunderstands first question in part c) of her answer. I didn’t mean to suggest that biology was required for consciousness, just that biological organisms might be more likely to have underlying homology with humans, which could mean that they might be conscious while similarly complex AI would not be.I think that our best theories of consciousness suggest that at some point AI will be conscious.An issue with a written interview like this is that you can’t make clarifications on the fly to head off misunderstandings. I hope to improve on conducting these interviews in the future.
Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll try to take a look at the evidence for eccentric training, I wasn’t aware of that. I didn’t go into any specific recommendations about strength training, because I expect that because I wanted to keep the post fairly short and because I expect my recommendations would depend a lot on specific case, and so couldn’t be communicated well in a general post. But if it’s as effective as you say, I definitely should have mentioned it.I’m planning on updating this post at some point and I’ll mention eccentric training and mention you in the acknowledgements if the evidence find it does look good.
Hi Tofan, I’m glad you got relief from that! That must be amazing for you! Sorry if this comment is a bit caustic, in general I’m critical, though undecided about Sarno. I tried it and it hasn’t worked for me. I’m definitely aware of it, and I’ve read Sarno’s books. Sarno insists that you might have to fully believe his theory to get the results, and it’s possible I haven’t succeeded in doing that, though I have ‘tried on’ the hypothesis. I’ve also tried out the “Curable” app and found that they advocate a less extreme and more plausible version of the psychosomatic pain hypothesis then Sarno.I was planning on adding a section on investigating the possibility of your pain is psychosomatic, but I’ve left that out for now because I didn’t feel I had a settled opinion on the subject or knew what to recommend.Sarno says some things that I view as deeply problematic, like when he says that lifting techniques doesn’t matter or when he recommends discontinuing physical therapies. His theory of unconscious rage being responsible for chronic pain is also Freudian, and Freud is quite discredited.My leading hypothesis about why he gets the results that he does in some cases is that his treatment gets people to return to activity and helps remove the psychological contribution to pain. Some people are probably actually recovered enough that returning to his fine and even helpful. I also imagine for a lot of people (myself included) the secondary psychological reaction to the pain (such as viewing yourself as crippled and feeling helpless) is more significant than the pain itself.What makes you think there is more scientific backing to the TMS theory than the RSI theory? It seems to be true that there is a lot that isn’t understood about how chronic pain and RSI work, but TMS seems to me even more mysterious.I like Paul Ingraham’s analysis of Sarno here.
Thanks, I fixed those typos.I guess my basic reason for thinking so is because there is around six order of magnitude difference in how much meat a cow provides and how much meat a cricket provides. But if you think about which attributes provide evidence of consciousness, I don’t think you’ll find that cows do not have vastly more of these than do crickets and cricket consciousness seems like a reasonable hypothesis.
It’s true that their minds are more divergent from ours, but I think that tends to mean there is more uncertainty about what they feel stress in response to, not that they feel less environmentally induced stress. Also, as I say in the post, the uncertainty makes it harder to improve their welfare.I probably should have paid more attention to arguments about how they could have net positive welfare to have a more balanced post. Though I have seen a real bias in favour of eating insects (at least outside the EA community), and so I still see this post as contributing to a more balanced discussion of the issue. And for the reasons I given the post I still view it is unlikely that they have net positive welfare.
My impression is that experts are divided as to whether or not insects have phenomenal consciousness. Some people seem to have strong intuitions one way, and others have strong intuitions the other way. Ultimately I don’t think we know enough about the subject for anyone to be too confident one way or the other, and given this uncertainty we should take precautions.I didn’t think it was worth getting into the question how likely it is that insects are conscious because it’s something that I’ve written about extensively elsewhere (mostly in a forthcoming report). And there are other posts on the question. In hindsight maybe a paragraph on it would have been good.
Haha, oh, I didn’t know you wrote that page :) That’s good enough for the future.
Yeah, I think this is a worry for his view. I do also personally assign a somewhat higher likelihood to invertebrate consciousness than modern AI consciousness because of evolutionary relatedness, greater structural homology, and because they probably satisfy more of the criteria for consciousness that I would use. You might be interested in my next interview on this subject which will be with someone who discusses modern AI and robotics findings in the context of invertebrate consciousness, and comes to a more sceptical conclusion based on that.
I think he may be answering the question in terms of sensory pain rather than affective pain. I was mainly interested in affective pain, I probably should have specified that in the question. In terms of sensory pain it seems to me like his answer make sense and is right because it makes sense that more nociceptors would give you a richer and more complex sensory pain. But it doesn’t make sense in terms of affective pain.I agree with Siebe that he is using ‘suffering’ in a nonstandard way. He seems to be using ‘pain’ to refer to ‘acute pain” and ‘suffering’ to refer to ‘long-lasting, non-acute pain.’
Yeah, fair enough. I wish you good luck with your group and project :)