I stopped reading Berenson a long time ago because he seemed to be working both sides of the fence. Peeked at his substack today, and he has moved on to other subjects, which is probably wise. He’s discussing AI and consciousness, but he seems unwilling to trust the real experts.
My question to you – as to everyone else who makes these perfectly reasonable objections – is simply this: how do you know that the way ChatGPT is generating its responses and claimed awareness of those responses is meaningfully different – or produces a meaningfully different result – than the way human brains generate consciousness (and self-consciousness)?
His commenters gave clear and correct responses, in detail from various angles: Living brains are not digital and don’t function by numerical statistics. We still don’t know much about living brains, but we know for sure that they aren’t digital.
I know they’re right because I’ve been programming for 40 years, and learning and teaching about neurology for 20 years, and also doing analog electronics in a less intensive way.
Berenson hasn’t been DOING those things so he can’t judge the answers properly. I haven’t been DOING journalism, so I can’t figure out why clickbait headlines work better than facts. If a journalist like Berenson tried to explain such points, I wouldn’t know whether he was correct or just creating more clickbait.
The best way to ‘trustify’ an expert without direct experience is to do an experiment.
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Example: I don’t know anything about pest control, and my abysmal ignorance has been demonstrated over and over. I figured by trial and error that snaptraps in certain locations worked. Two years ago, after several mouseless years, the mice suddenly invaded again. I’m too old to deal with the hazards of snaptraps, and I have plenty of money, so I called in the experts. They placed bait traps inside and outside, and the mice immediately disappeared.
About one year ago, after one of the quarterly ‘refresh’ appointments, the smell of the fresh inside bait trap was bothering me. I sealed it up and stopped being bothered by the smell. A few days later a mouse popped up dramatically right next to the computer, brazenly staring at me.
LESSON LEARNED. The mice are always trying to get into the warm house and make nests. The bait traps work. The experts know where to put the traps. Trust the experts.
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The real problem with Berenson’s question isn’t digital or analog; the problem is that ALL questions about consciousness are totally unanswerable. There’s no way to check any answer by experiment or experience, and no way to ‘trustify’ experts. The only genuinely expert answer is NULL.