What is consciousness? Is there a test for consciousness. Can we tell the difference between a behaving machine and a human? What would such a test look like? How could we make this test foolproof? This is a BIG problem if we wish to diagnose early loss of mind in young adult humans or older adult humans. Humans are easily fooled into assuming mind as a given in adults.
As the Turing Test shows us, it is very easy to fool a human into thinking a computer is a human being with a human mind. Humans will associate patterns of behaving and speech with their unconscious assumption of mind. I think that this is why it is so difficult to see the difference between a person who is walking about with a fully functioning mind and one with only a partially functioning mind. see this funny video that illustrates my point; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wLqsRLvV-c
The Turing test: Can a computer pass for a human? – Alex Gendler
This funny clip illustrates how hard this problem really is. It asks “What is Consciousness? Can we be fooled into assuming consciousness in a machine? This clip shows how easy it is to do just that.
Consciousness consists of 2 things to assess 1] levels of wakefulness and 2] levels of higher cognitive function. When Paula lost her mind, her level of consciousness was not at all normal. She was not obtunded or sleepy, she was super distressed and suffering excessive sympathetic stimulation. This excessive internal sympathetic stimulation interfered with sleeping, eating, and all other internal private functions [eg. defecation, urination, digestion, higher cognitive function]. Breathing rate always rises with sympathetic stimulation of the nervous system. This did not happen when Paula lost her mind. Her blood pressure was very high, her heart rate was fast, she had arrhythmia’s, and her breathing rate should have been fast. It was slow, way too slow. Clearly her problem was her breathing. She had no idea. It wasn’t readily visible. It appears that slow breathing at rest is hard to detect. Slow breathing is very bad; it suggests respiratory failure, in her case respiratory pump failure.
Paula’s illness shows how difficult a problem this becomes. How do you know if a person is fully alive or healthy ? Paula was sent to a doctor, a psychiatrist, when she fell ill. He saw her for one hour a week. Every week, she tried to explain that something was very wrong. She was not fully alive. She was ill. She was a kind of zombie- she-Paula- was not really present- she was mostly reacting in stereotypic ways. He didn’t see it. And he never measured her vital signs, including breathing. He had no idea how sick she was.
How do you find out if a person is fully alive, healthy and functioning normally?
1] Test their ability to breathe. Living things breathe. Normal living things breathe normally at rest [involuntarily]. Without normal breathing a person can only partially function, they are only partially alive, partially conscious. And they cannot tell you this.
So the first part of the new Turing test should be evaluation of breathing and breathing rate at rest. This will tell you about how much a person is alive and whether they are nearer to death than you think. As long as the person does not die, they can remain in this state a long time. It is quite horrible to experience and without looking at vital signs, pretty invisible. Abnormal breathing rates [too slow, too fast] are not a good sign..
The second part of the new Turing Test is to check working memory. Higher functions of mind require working memory. A human being needs working memory to function. It is needed for reading, doing arithmetic, comprehension, language, work, cooking, …etc….Paula found out by accident, that she could no longer remember her address, even though she had had the same address for 20 years. Worse even, she did not know she would not remember her address every time you asked her. That is really insane!
The new Turiing Test can be called the Kraepelin/Paula test – The KP test for mind. This test is based on Kraepelin’s findings about his patients and our experience with a 21st century living patient-Paula.
Kraepelin was a very very good doctor.
The Kraepelin/Paula Test will help everyone to understand what he discovered. This in very important because in the 21st century there are modern supportive medical treatments for respiratory pump failure and we can restore mind, health and normal behaviour [and normal blood pH] to patients like Paula.
will continue later…………..