Abstract for Poster Session from Tucson 2000

135 The Really Hard Problem of Meaning, D.Matzke

During the first Tucson conference in 1994, David Chalmers discussed the concept of the easy and the hard problems of consciousness. He outlined that qualia and other experiences were the hard problems of consciousness because they could not be easily explained by a function that performs that operation.

Ultimately, all experiences and learning must have some underlying informational basis, especially in biological systems. So even for relatively simple cognitive processing used in building experiences, the informational encoding of new and past data is a primary concern for the mechanism of awareness, perception, experience, emotion, and memory.

Obtaining meaning from all this sensory data and other qualia is a critical mechanism where computer science offers very little useful explanation. This problem of meaning is really hard because any kind of informational scheme is just another kind of language. Linguists argue that languages are generally purely syntactic and carry no meaning other than the meaning attributed to it by humans. In fact, computers have no meaning about the bits they have been assigned for the color ‘red’ or used to indicate the frequency of middle ‘C’, but only the meaning assigned by the human programmer.

Meaning requires a much larger integration of information than we currently understand is required, encoded in a portable manner. This paper proposes that any classical information system with discrete bits and discrete spacetime imposes limits to integration of information. In fact, only quantum superposition that occurs outside classical spacetime has the correct informational properties for an arbitrary large amount of information integration. This kind of quantum semantic memory goes beyond the juggling of meaningless bits and must rely on high dimensional topological structures that quantum mechanics is built upon, to provide an address into a spatially inverted hologram. The properties of this non-classical approach for meaning will be explored with its strong ties to superposition and quantum computing. This line of reasoning will answer many questions, but also raise many more. In session P1.