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Qualia to Robot


Feelings and experiences vary widely. For example, I run my fingers over sandpaper, smell a skunk, feel a sharp pain in my finger, seem to see bright purple, become extremely angry. In each of these cases, I am the subject of a mental state with a very distinctive subjective character. There is something it is like for me to undergo each state, some phenomenology that it has. Philosophers often use the term ‘qualia’ (singular ‘quale’) to refer to the introspectively accessible, phenomenal aspects of our mental lives.


These I call original or primary qualities of the body, which I think we may observe to produce simple ideas in us, viz., solidity, extension, figure, motion or rest, and number.

Secondly, such qualities which in truth are nothing in the objects themselves, but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities, i.e. by the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts, as colour, sounds, tastes, etc., these I call secondary qualities.




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I would like to again impress you with the vast range of phenomena that the theory of quantum electrodynamics describes: It's easier to say it backwards: the theory describes all the phenomena of the physical world except the gravitational effect ... and radioactive phenomena, which involve nuclei shifting in their energy levels. So if we leave out gravity and radioactivity (more properly, nuclear physics) what have we got left? Gasoline burning in automobiles, foam and bubbles, the hardness of salt or copper, the stiffness of steel. In fact, biologists are trying to interpret as much as they can about life in terms of chemistry, and as I already explained, the theory behind chemistry is quantum electrodynamics.


In its mature form, the idea of quantum field theory is that quantum fields are the basic ingredients of the universe, and particles are just bundles of energy and momentum of the fields. In a relativistic theory the wave function is a functional of these fields, not a function of particle coordinates. Quantum field theory hence led to a more unified view of nature than the old dualistic interpretation in terms of both fields and particles.

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In 1905 Einstein examined the photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect is the release of electrons from certain metals or semiconductors by the action of light. The electromagnetic theory of light gives results at odds with experimental evidence. Einstein proposed a quantum theory of light to solve the difficulty and then he realised that Planck's theory made implicit use of the light quantum hypothesis. By 1906 Einstein had correctly guessed that energy changes occur in a quantum material oscillator in changes in jumps which are multiples of planckv where planck is Planck's reduced constant and v is the frequency. Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics, in 1922, for this work on the photoelectric effect.


The very nature of quantum physics is counterintuitive to conventional thinking. Among the many bizarre characteristics is the quantum Zeno paradox, an odd mathematical result that is being debated to this day. Assuming an unstable quantum state, intuition would dictate that eventually, the system will irreversibly decay in certain amount of time, defined as the Zeno time. However if the system is measured in a period shorter than the Zeno time, then the wave function of the system will repeatedly collapse before decay. In effect, constant measurements of the system will actually prevent its collapse! Even more mysterious, if the time interval between measurements is longer than the Zeno time, the decay rate of the system will increase, leading to what is termed the anti-Zeno effect.


EM field processes

[All] chemical binding is electromagnetic in origin, and so are all phenomena of nerve impulses.