Thursday, September 26, 2013

Revisiting Hyper-consciousness

Some years ago, when writing about hyper-consciousness, I heralded it as being something that I looked forward to, and something that as aided with electronics would be a wonderful leap forward for humanity. I envisioned it as an internet of minds, electrically linked, directly using new technologies.  However, re-reading what I wrote previously, I think my initial optimism was fallacious.

There are several problems that would immediately crop up.  The first is one of brain function and the level of consciousness of the individual.  Individuals on different levels of consciousness would not be able to comprehend one another's thoughts any better than they can communicate verbally.  We are all locked into our own individual levels of consciousness and understanding.  I can't make a sixth-grader see my big-picture view of the world anymore than a one-hundred year old man could pass his wisdom directly on to me efficiently.  Yes, he might send me mental images and emotions that I would understand, but would they have the same significance to me as they did to him?  It seems doubtful.

Furthermore, since we don't process in parallel in our minds, but instead serially (one thought at a time), unless we can learn to think differently, the immediate access to a thousand or a million other minds, does not seem very useful. 

In fact, the more I think on it, it seems that the greatest jump would come from artificial or enhanced intelligence users.  If my brain could be modified to work as the subconscious mind does, then I could see many thoughts in parallel, and even compare them.  I can do this sometimes in my dreams but that is probably only because most other senses are "turned-off" during sleep.  And more than that, I think that the super-intelligence of the subconscious mind is what is really generating the rapid fire, high-detail dreams that I often enjoy.  For I know full well that I cannot possibly imagine things in such vivid detail, nor concoct such complex plots of stories at breakneck speed.

Machines, on the other hand, can do very well at processing data at such high speeds, so if I were able to enhance my mind with electronic speed, and learn parallel processing of thoughts, perhaps then, I might benefit from the hyper-conscious mind Internet that I envisioned.  But an advanced robot might be more practical.  The problem is, where does that leave me?

I would immediately become inferior to a conscious machine, in my ability to process the hyper-conscious mind  Internet.  To that machine, I would then seem perhaps merely a mentally-challenged primitive.

Another vision of the hyper-conscious, electronically enabled mind internet might be one of complete vexation, as me trying to talk logically to a room full of misguided people.  That would be terrible, and worse than trying to tune out multiple heterodyned carrier waves from congested AM shortwave stations.

Or you might say it would feel like a conservative speaking to a room filled with progressives.  That is not something I would want to experience.  Perhaps hyper-consciousness is a dish best tasted by the solitary, individual mind.  Only time will tell. 

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