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How a Silicon Valley psychologist can believe consciousness doesn’t exist

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Duncan Riach thinks that, with increasing complexity, computers will appear to be conscious too but it’s a misunderstanding for both humans and computers:

“I’ve lost friends over this because a denial of consciousness undermines a final refuge of the arrogance of selfhood: universal consciousness. But even most normal people are strongly insistent that consciousness is a real thing, a special thing, and that they possess it. The problem I have is that there’s not only no evidence for it, but what people seem to be referring to as consciousness is explainable as an effect no more unusual, no less materialistically explainable, than water flowing downhill… – Duncan Riach, “Why I Don’t Believe in Consciousness and What Ai Seems to Be Revealing About It” At Medium

News, “A Silicon Valley psychologist doesn’t believe in consciousness” at Mind Matters News

The problem with Riach’s view is that the final level of complexity is immaterial and the computer is just not going there.

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11 Replies to “How a Silicon Valley psychologist can believe consciousness doesn’t exist

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    This guys an idiot

  2. 2
    Eugene says:

    +1

    > there’s not only no evidence for it…

    So, what’s his preferred explanation for a wave function collapse? That is, If he even knows what it is, which I doubt.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    Any psychologist who cannot accept just how different the human mind is from animals, those abilities we possess such as writing and designing, is incapable of doing their jobs.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    A machine that can do what he proposes isn’t even new. Doesn’t require any computing power. A printing press can print “I am and you are too”. The magnificent clocks made in the 1200s could mysteriously display a series of letters spelling out “I am and you are too”. The Magic 8-ball could randomly pop up the message in its mysterious window.

  5. 5
    willspeaks says:

    Psychologist, is without a doubt the most useless of all professions.

  6. 6
    EvilSnack says:

    He claims that human consciousness is “explainable” as a material effect, and that there is no evidence otherwise.
    I submit that it is the claim of a materialistic explanation that is lacking in evidence, and suspect that what Riach would offer as his “explanation” would involve a lot of hand-waving.

  7. 7
    Dick says:

    I wonder if Riach has ever read philosopher Richard Swinburne’s “Are We Bodies or Souls?” and if so, how he escapes the conclusion of Swinburne’s argument that our essential being is that of an immaterial soul.

  8. 8
    EugeneS says:

    News, while I agree that this guy is talking nonsense, immaterial is simple, not complex. Complex are material things as “composed of” stuff.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    To deny consciousness is to deny ourselves, which is absurd. The problem is explaining how our conscious mind arises from the physical brain.

  10. 10
    AaronS1978 says:

    Which the dude in the other thread apparently solves this by claiming it’s 100% the brain stem

  11. 11
    BobRyan says:

    Seversky

    Darwinists cannot believe in anything beyond that which is physical. To admit the mind is separate from the brain, is to disprove Darwin. Darwin allows for nothing to exist beyond that which is physical, Everything else is nothing more than an illusion. The side believing an illusion is the side of Darwinism.

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