Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Constructing Self and World

There is a strong similarity between the predictive processing brain model that has been the subject of numerous Mind Blog Posts, and the operations that ChatGPT and other generative pre-trained transformer algorithms are performing, with the ‘priors’ of the predictive processing model being equivalent to the ‘pre-trained’ weightings of the generative transformer algorithms.  

The open and empty awareness of the non-dual perspective corresponds to the ‘generator’ component of the AI algorithms. It is what can begin to allow reification - rendering opaque rather than transparent - the self model and other products of the underlying content-free open awareness generator (such as our perceptions of trees, interoceptive signals, cultural rules, etc.). It enables seeing rather than being the glass window through which you are viewing the tree in the yard. The rationale of non-dual awareness is not to have ‘no-self.’ The ‘self’ prior is there because it is a very useful avatar for interactions. Rather, the non-dual perspective can enable a tweaking or re-construction of previously transparent priors - now rendered opaque - that lets go of their less useful components. The point of having an expanded 'no self' is to become aware of and refine the illusions or phantasies about what is in our internal and external worlds that rise from it.  

The paragraphs above derive  from my listening to one of Sam Harris’ podcasts in his “Making Sense” series titled “Constructing Self and World.” It was a conversation with Shamil Chandaria, who is a philanthropist, serial entrepreneur, technologist, and academic with multidisciplinary research interests. During the conversation a number of ideas I am familiar with were framed in a very useful way, and I wanted to put  them down and pass on to MindBlog readers the thumbnail summary above.

(The above is a repost of my May 31 post, which I recently stumbled onto and decided to rearrange.) 

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