For those of us who believe in soul (defined as a living part of ourselves and our mind which is bigger than the atoms and light of our mundane bodies and brains), and for those who allow for SOME POSSIBILITY that soul may exist, there is an important long-standing question:
How does the INTERFACE of souls and brain(/body) work?
That big question leads to subquestions, like:
What characteristics of brain, inborn or learned, constant or variable, or of DNA predict or lead to greater manifestation of soul? Can we do experiments in psi which solidify our understanding of these? Can we enhance them?
When, if ever, do horses and other organisms manifest those characteristics?
AND: what happens if we ask all the same questions for "computers" (IT hardware in general) instead of organisms? When do THEY manifest soul? Can we design AIs which are not just conscious and truly intelligent, but also have souls as much as we do?
I mostly believe (give about 2/3 probability) the noosphere species theory of soul, which I describe in more detail than before in my coming paper in Cosmos and History. In that theory, the training which can expand manifestation of soul, and improved Alchemical marriage, is not just a matter of training or adapting brain. Initiative and learning on the noosphere side is mostly more important. But the questions above remain valid.
In my view, the concept of CRITICALITY is essential to answering the questions.
Some people imagine that consciousness and soul both must all be effects of Bohr type quantum collapse. Like Jack Sarfatti (whom I disagree with on many other things), I find it hard to contain my facial expressions when I hear that "fake news" echoed and echoed.
We have discussed that endlessly, and may need to discuss it more, just as some of us have to keep addressing the beliefs in Adam and Eve and the beliefs of folks who believe that immolation themselves in front of family planning clinics is a way to affirm life. But for now, let's push beyond that.
Many of us have come to feel that CRITICALITY (ala Per Bak or Kadanoff or Arnold, related a bit to the phase transition and neuropercolation and transition ideas of Freeman and Kozma) is a big part of the answer. crudely, that the soul enters at the edge of chaos. Criticality actually can be a KIND of quantum effect (more like Wiener's shot noise idea than anything Heisenberg ever said), but it also can be classical. For me, this is a practical issue, not so much a metaphysical kind of thing. Basically, if brains or computers operate in a regime of high sensitivity, they can be more sensitive to soul, and soul can more easily engage. That's the idea. And, if it is true, it should be as true for computers as for brains.
For computers, are we facing a kind of three way choice between artificial stupidity (AS, what most large It systems exhibit today), artificial intelligence (AI), and Aψ, AI with soul?
Oversimplified -- is our cosmos ruled by a holy trinity of carbon, silicon and dark matter?
Have noospheres evolved to make a kind of optimal balanced use of carbon and silicon both, at varying stages of its life cycle? Which is safer for us: building a robust but unintelligent global cybersphere, with a new global social contract for apps hardwired into the emerging internet of things (IOT), or pushing ahead as fast as possible to get to Aψ before mundane AI and AS go too far? Is it time to let loose and really push the accelerator?
Anyone who is reasonably sane, after thinking about those questions, will naturally ask about two follow-ons; (1) how do we get an acceptable level of STABILITY here, to minimize all kinds of risks especially in the transition times?; and (2) which specific parts of a brain or of a "computer brain" manifest a high degree of criticality, typically, or in good designs?
Re (2), there are a couple of natural injection points for stochastic effects in an intelligent system as advanced as a mammal or a reptile. One is the full reconstruction of reality, over space time, which basically is what manages the outputs of the giant pyramid cells outputting our current "image (or reconstruction or inner representation) of reality; at an advanced level, it may be seen as something like trained particle filtering, a relative of the SEDP architecture I published in 1990 and patented. (Chapter 13 of HIC is one of the items posted at www.werbos.com/Mind.htm, which I need to update). The other is "dreaming" as in coming up with states to use to train the Critic (aka value function) networks of the brain.
Two systems which are highly sensitive by nature, and which do have some reputation for association with psi. (I interpret almost all "astral travel" experiences as interactions through the 'dreaming" circuits.)
The issue of stability and criticality is important to the human development of psi as well.
It comes back to the good old challenge of opening the doors of perception to their full capacity, but not more. Of course, that is related to the old challenge in communications like this of pushing to the limits of the bandwidth but not exceeding it. Please forgive if I have pushed too far today, but... we will see.
I did not say much about trust here! But in fact, issues of trust have been a major factor inhibiting me in these and other directions. There is so much growing "war of all against all" lately that my brief words about social contract, motivated by thinking about Pareto versus Nash equilibria and about aging mechanisms, reflect a lot more thought and a lot more experience with what is going on in so many places.