we are the albertine algorithm

January 31, 2020
Minds are simply what brains do.
Marvin Minsky, "The Society of Mind"
Consciousness is what running the algorithm feels like from the inside.
Scott Albertine
Reading the book for the former quote, and the latter was from a coworker talking on our feeling of awareness and seeming ability to choose, despite being in a universe that seems governed by physical laws of cause and effect that precede our birth. Or as another author put it:
Our daughter's choices--like everything else--had been written in stone at the birth of the universe, but that information could only be decoded by becoming her along the way.
Greg Egan, "Singleton"
Lately I've been thinking about "Free Will", and the powerful feeling that we are making choices, despite us being marionettes with strings (held either by the statistical predestination or quantum "randomness") of the whole universe's history.

My current guess is that when I am saying "I am choosing", the problem isn't with "choosing" - my "Albertine Algorithm" is going one way or the other and it might not be clear to an outsider - or even an insider - which way it will go, which choice it will make, ahead of time - but with the "I"... like the Buddhists have cottoned on to, there isn't a "there there", a little part of my mind that is the "real me". To the extent I am anything, I am this (sometimes painfully) self-aware and self-monitoring algorithm all the way down.
And of course the algorithm is far more complex than the ones we work with all the time... Consciousness is the model of the world complex enough that the model understands its own place in the world, and make guesses and predictions about its own abilities to make changes in the world. (And one take away from Minsky's book is that the algorithm is composed of lots and lots of similar competing little algorithms...)
"Can I Get a Witness?!" "Testify!" Welp, guess not, LOL.

Between Trump getting his wish for No Witnesses (as would any wanna-be Mafia Don), Brexit clunking forth, and Coronavirus, kind of a shit week.