Ask A Genius 554 – Conscious of Butts and Curves

In-Sight Publishing

June 22, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Okay, so, you wanted to talk about IBM’s Watson and Google Translate and their level of consciousness.

Rick Rosner: My question is if they are conscious and to what degree. For this era, they are sophisticated and closest to conscious.

Jacobsen: What is the separation of conscious and not conscious here?

Rosner: Everyone knows what consciousness is within living in consciousness. We all know what consciousness feels like. That is a good enough start, I believe. The question could be, “How close to feeling human-type consciousness could these association engines come?” I started reading an article, ‘What does it feel like to be Watson?’ in a journal.

It veered quickly into “What does it mean to be human?” It went into behaviourism, as the basis of the journal.

Jacobsen: That is a joke in and of itself.

Rosner: Yes, behaviourism comes from a time when it was very hard to look inside the brain. We are only going to look at human and animal behaviours. It was people throwing up their arms and giving up. I was surprised people are still doing behaviourism when we have all these tools to look into human brains.

It is like the journal of rotary phones or buggy whips, sorry behaviourists, but jeez.

Jacobsen: When I was working in psychology, there was advancements. We were between cognitive science and neuroscience marrying together with the looking at the general processing of information in humanistic terms, providing narratives around things, e.g., false memories, where neuroscience is more clinical and looking at the chemistry and architectural of the brain at macro scales and micro scales.

That’s one marriage. That cognitive revolution was a revolution on the cognitive revolution by marrying cognitive science and neuroscience, but cognitive was an advancement on behaviourism because, as you were saying, the brain was see as a black box.

We might see a marriage between cognitive neuroscience and behaviourism now.

Rosner: You see this in all the hard sciences, chemistry and biology and physics. The things that some scientists strive for is to try to turn everything into physics because science is the basic, ground floor for all physical processes. Everything in biology and chemistry must ultimately be traced back to the particles involved with the chemical and biological systems.

To a huge extent, that has been done. Angela Merkel, the head of Germany or very competent leader of Germany, started off in Quantum Chemistry. You can compare that to our President who struggles with double digit mathematics of addition.

You don’t have to take everything in chemistry or biology down to its basic physics foundation. Every day, you could do it, and it would all hold up. Similarly, everything in cognitive science and neuroscience at some point in the future should be built up from the basic physics of the matter in your brain and nervous system.

Anyway, the behaviourism article was annoying. You do want to take a look at what makes human consciousness. What are the elements of it? A couple big ones are that it is judge-y. Everything that impinges on your consciousness is judged according to a bunch of criteria that are themselves part of consciousness, whether they are good for you, good for your safety, for your health, whether it makes you horny or scared.

Everything is evaluated multi-dimensionally, which is to say among a bunch of different scales. That’s one thing. Another thing is pleasure in pain. Everything in consciousness is in consciousness because it is in an associative net. Everything that enters your conscious arena because it triggers associations with other stuff. Your brain is just a rolling cascade of associations.

It makes it weird to talk about pleasure and pain because pleasure and pain seem more association free than other stuff. Food has flavours that you associate with a specific food. Pleasure and pain, though they come in different flavours too, with the stomach ache versus slicing a finger with a knife.

The pleasure seem to exist as pleasure and pain more than flavours exist independent on other stuff. I would guess stuff can’t be in consciousness. Unless, it triggers associations. Pain exists to alert you to a problem and get you to do stuff with regard to issues with that problem. Something is fucking up your body.

Pain tells you to isolate that part of your body or to go away from that thing, aversive behaviours. Pain pushes you away from stuff. Pleasure tells you everything is okay. When you have an orgasm, including me, orgasm makes you sleepy, “Yes, you’re not going to worry about anything right now. You’re going to drift off into a nice little nap.”

So, in rough terms, though they don’t immediately seem to be, they are associative. They want you to do stuff or feel good to not have to do stuff. With regard to judginess regarding pleasure and pain, can you o withou them? I say, “Yes.” But a consciousness without that stuff would not feel like human consciousness to us. Then we can circle back to Watson and Google Translate.

With Watson, questions are entered into it. The words and grammatical relationships in the words are looked at and given a bunch of associations without a deep understanding of the question; it just knows that these words set out in this sequence generate this set of possible answers.

Each with a probability of being correct. If a rule breaks some or hits some threshold of being correct, say 85% or 90%, then Watson rings in and answers the question. I think Watson has been sold to clients looking for machine learning association engines.

I don’t know what specific Watson tasks there are, assume you can sell Watson to a hospital. Someone presents this kind of symptoms. Watson generates a set of possible diseases. Each with a probability of fitting those criteria. You can probably use this kind of thing for social media brainwashing. You enter characteristics of somebody’s voting behaviour that you want to influence.

You enter what is available about this person and then Watson generates a set of messages that are ranked by probability in influencing this voter in the way you want, which is the way, I assume, Cambridge Analytica worked. It was used by Republicans in 2016 to make people crazy in the way they wanted to make them crazy.

So, there is association going on. You could argue there is a certain degree of awareness. It is not broadband at all. In that, our consciousness, we get information from a number of or along a number of different cognitive and sensory pathways. We have nodes of specialist systems that add their two cents on what they are seeing like the horniness node.

This thing I am seeing. How does it make me feel sexually? Every knows that node is overactive and will find some things to see as sexual even in contexts where nothing sexual is happening. You can see certain curves. They remind you of a butt.

Everyone is familiar with the feeling of seeing butts and getting horny or for no reason after seeing something curvaceous. That horny node is always going and evaluating. We have hundreds of those nodes large and small. Watson and Google Translate don’t have as many nodes. They really don’t have many pathways for input.

Obviously, you can type stuff into Google Translate and into Watson. That’s primarily how you are filling them with information. I would guess with Google being a sinister high-tech company is experimenting with ways of entering information into a system that isn’t just words, like Google Images. I assume working with Google Video and trying to build associative structures.

So, it is reasonable to think that Watson and Google Translate don’t really understand the words that are entered into it. They only understand what those words are associated with. That if you enter “bread” into Google Translate; that you’ll get a bunch of words that mean “bread” in other languages.

Words in this associative net will reflect that bread in something you cook, that you eat, that you buy, that you might find in a kitchen or a restaurant, without Google Translate knowing what any of these terms mean. We can also assume Google is trying to build, if not Google Translate, how bread would work, including these ingredients and knowing what “mix” means and could call up videos of bread mixing.

But none of this gives you consciousness, but all of this gets you closer to consciousness. The question becomes, “How close does this get you to consciousness, whether human consciousness or even grasshopper consciousness?” They have a consciousness, grasshoppers, and they have an experience of the world moment-to-moment.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Founder, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.


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License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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