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  • I love a great mystery,

    我愛各種玄妙的東西

  • and I'm fascinated by the greatest unsolved mystery in science,

    並且被一个科學界深奧的未解之謎深深吸引

  • perhaps because it's personal.

    大概因爲它切身攸關吧。

  • It's about who we are,

    它是關於我們是誰。

  • and I can't help but be curious.

    我忍不住要探個究竟。

  • The mystery is this:

    這是什麽迷呢?

  • What is the relationship between your brain

    是這兩者的關係:你的大腦

  • and your conscious experiences,

    和你的有意識的體驗。

  • such as your experience of the taste of chocolate

    例如你嚐到巧克力味道的體驗

  • or the feeling of velvet?

    或天鵝绒的手感。

  • Now, this mystery is not new.

    這個謎倒不是新的。

  • In 1868, Thomas Huxley wrote,

    早在1868年,Thomas Huxley 寫到:

  • "How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about

    "為什麼一些妙不可言的東西如人的清醒意識

  • as the result of irritating nervous tissue

    其形成竟是來自刺激性神經組織,

  • is just as unaccountable

    實在莫名其妙,

  • as the appearance of the genie when Aladdin rubbed his lamp."

    跟阿拉丁擦擦他的油燈精靈就出現了一樣無法解釋"。

  • Now, Huxley knew that brain activity

    Huxley熟知大腦的活動

  • and conscious experiences are correlated,

    和有意識體驗是有關係的,

  • but he didn't know why.

    他只是不知道原因是何。

  • To the science of his day, it was a mystery.

    在其時代的科學界裡這是個謎。

  • In the years since Huxley,

    Huxley之後的這些年,

  • science has learned a lot about brain activity,

    科學界對大腦活動有了很多的發現。

  • but the relationship between brain activity

    但是兩者的關係即大腦活動

  • and conscious experiences is still a mystery.

    和有意識的體驗仍然是個迷。

  • Why? Why have we made so little progress?

    爲何?爲何我們還未搞懂多少這個迷?

  • Well, some experts think that we can't solve this problem

    有專家認爲這迷是解不了的了

  • because we lack the necessary concepts and intelligence.

    因我們缺乏必要的概念和智慧。

  • We don't expect monkeys to solve problems in quantum mechanics,

    我們不指望猴子去排解量子力學的問題,

  • and as it happens, we can't expect our species to solve this problem either.

    同樣,我們也不能指望自己的物種去化解這個迷。

  • Well, I disagree. I'm more optimistic.

    我不同意這説法。我樂觀多了。

  • I think we've simply made a false assumption.

    我認爲我們只是用了個錯誤的假設而已。

  • Once we fix it, we just might solve this problem.

    糾正了假設後,我們很可能就能把這謎解了。

  • Today, I'd like tell you what that assumption is,

    今天,我想和大家說一下這個假設是什麽,

  • why it's false, and how to fix it.

    爲何它是錯誤的,我們可以怎樣加以糾正。

  • Let's begin with a question:

    先來個問題:

  • Do we see reality as it is?

    我們眼睛看見的,是現實的真貌嗎?

  • I open my eyes

    我睜大雙眼

  • and I have an experience that I describe as a red tomato a meter away.

    就有這體驗:一公尺外有個紅色的番茄。

  • As a result, I come to believe that in reality,

    結果是,我相信在現實中,

  • there's a red tomato a meter away.

    有個紅色的番茄在一公尺之外。

  • I then close my eyes, and my experience changes to a gray field,

    然後我閉上雙眼,我的體驗就變了是一片灰色的面了。

  • but is it still the case that in reality, there's a red tomato a meter away?

    這意味著在現實中,仍有這麽一個紅番茄在一公尺之外嗎?

  • I think so, but could I be wrong?

    是的。但這念頭會不會是錯的呢?

  • Could I be misinterpreting the nature of my perceptions?

    會不會我錯誤地詮釋了知覺的實質呢?

  • We have misinterpreted our perceptions before.

    我們有過錯誤地詮釋了知覺的先例。

  • We used to think the Earth is flat, because it looks that way.

    我們曾以爲地球是扁的,以爲它看起來就是扁的。

  • Pythagorus discovered that we were wrong.

    Pythagorus發現我們相錯了。

  • Then we thought that the Earth is the unmoving center of the Universe,

    然後我們又以爲地球是宇宙的固定的中心。

  • again because it looks that way.

    也是因爲當時看來就那樣。

  • Copernicus and Galileo discovered, again, that we were wrong.

    Copernicus 和 Galileo 再次發現我們又錯了。

  • Galileo then wondered if we might be misinterpreting our experiences

    Galileo 接著琢磨是否我們錯誤地詮釋了自己的體驗,

  • in other ways.

    在其他方面出錯了。

  • He wrote: "I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on

    他寫到:"我認爲味道、氣味、顔色等等

  • reside in consciousness.

    是存在於意識當中的。

  • Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities would be annihilated."

    正是如此,如果活體沒有了,所有這些特質也會化爲烏有了。"

  • Now, that's a stunning claim.

    這可是個大膽的斷言。

  • Could Galileo be right?

    Galileo會不會是對的呢?

  • Could we really be misinterpreting our experiences that badly?

    我們會不會真的非常錯誤地詮釋自己的體驗呢?

  • What does modern science have to say about this?

    當今的科學研究能對此有什麽看法呢?

  • Well, neuroscientists tell us that about a third of the brain's cortex

    神經科學們說我們的大腦的三分之一

  • is engaged in vision.

    都有用在視覺上面。

  • When you simply open your eyes and look about this room,

    我們衹要單單地睜開眼睛環視一下這講座間,

  • billions of neurons and trillions of synapses are engaged.

    數億神經元和數萬億突觸就已經被用上了。

  • Now, this is a bit surprising,

    這稍微有點意想不到。

  • because to the extent that we think about vision at all,

    因爲衹從視覺這點來説,

  • we think of it as like a camera.

    我們衹把當作是照相機。

  • It just takes a picture of objective reality as it is.

    它拍個照把現實客觀地呈現出來。

  • Now, there is a part of vision that's like a camera:

    我們視覺的一部分確實像一照相機:

  • the eye has a lens that focuses an image on the back of the eye

    眼睛有個晶體能調焦把物像聚焦到眼睛後部。

  • where there are 130 million photoreceptors,

    後部有1億3千萬個光感受器,

  • so the eye is like a 130-megapixel camera.

    因此我們的眼睛就像個1億3千萬像素的攝影機。

  • But that doesn't explain the billions of neurons

    但是這個解釋不了數億神經元

  • and trillions of synapses that are engaged in vision.

    和數萬億突觸在視覺上到底起什麽作用。

  • What are these neurons up to?

    這些神經元到底在做什麽呢?

  • Well, neuroscientists tell us that they are creating, in real time,

    神經科學家們說它們在實時地生造

  • all the shapes, objects, colors, and motions that we see.

    我們正目睹著的各種形狀、物體、顔色和行進中的東西。

  • It feels like we're just taking a snapshot of this room the way it is,

    就像是我們衹是在如實地抓拍這個房間。

  • but in fact, we're constructing everything that we see.

    但事實是,我們看見的所有東西都是構建出來的。

  • We don't construct the whole world at once.

    我們不是一次性地構建整個物界。

  • We construct what we need in the moment.

    我們衹在需要的當時一刻構建。

  • Now, there are many demonstrations that are quite compelling

    有很多演示可以非常有力地驗證

  • that we construct what we see.

    我們看見的東西都是構造出來的。

  • I'll just show you two.

    我做兩個演示給大家看看。

  • In this example, you see some red discs with bits cut out of them,

    演示一,你看見些紅色的圓形每個都有缺口的。

  • but if I just rotate the disks a little bit,

    如果我把這些圓形稍微轉動一下,

  • suddenly, you see a 3D cube pop out of the screen.

    馬上,你看見的是個立體方塊從螢幕上脫穎而出。

  • Now, the screen of course is flat,

    別忘了,這螢幕是平的哦。

  • so the three-dimensional cube that you're experiencing

    所以你體驗到的這個三度空間方塊

  • must be your construction.

    一定是你構造出來的。

  • In this next example,

    演示二,

  • you see glowing blue bars with pretty sharp edges

    你看見些發光的藍條子邊邊挺鋒利的,

  • moving across a field of dots.

    不停地在一個很多點的面上移動。

  • In fact, no dots move.

    事實上呢,那些點沒動過。

  • All I'm doing from frame to frame is changing the colors of dots

    我衹是一帧一帧地轉換小點的顔色

  • from blue to black or black to blue.

    從藍轉成黑,或從黑轉成藍。

  • But when I do this quickly,

    當我轉得快的時候,

  • your visual system creates the glowing blue bars

    你的視覺系統就生造了發光的藍條子,

  • with the sharp edges and the motion.

    邊邊挺鋒利的,不斷行進著。

  • There are many more examples, but these are just two

    有很多這樣的例子的。這裏衹是兩個

  • that you construct what you see.

    演示了你在構建所見東西。

  • But neuroscientists go further.

    神經科學家們還說了更進一步的。

  • They say that we reconstruct reality.

    他們說我們重新構建了現實。

  • So, when I have an experience that I describe as a red tomato,

    當我有一項可以被説成是紅色的番茄的體驗時

  • that experience is actually an accurate reconstruction

    這體驗其實是你如實地構建了

  • of the properties of a real red tomato

    一個真的紅色番茄的屬性,

  • that would exist even if I weren't looking.

    即使我不看著的時候它也存在的屬性。

  • Now, why would neuroscientists say that we don't just construct,

    現在要問了,爲何神經科學家說我們不單衹構建,

  • we reconstruct?

    我們還重新構建?

  • Well, the standard argument given

    標準論點都是

  • is usually an evolutionary one.

    屬於進化理論的。

  • Those of our ancestors who saw more accurately

    我們的祖先當中誰視力更精確

  • had a competitive advantage compared to those who saw less accurately,

    誰就比視力沒那麽精確的更有競爭優勢,

  • and therefore they were more likely to pass on their genes.

    於是他們有更大機會傳宗接代。

  • We are the offspring of those who saw more accurately,

    我們是那些視力更精確的祖先的後代,

  • and so we can be confident that, in the normal case,

    故可以很有信心地相信在正常情況下,

  • our perceptions are accurate.

    我們的知覺是精確的。

  • You see this in the standard textbooks.

    這個在標準課本都能看到。

  • One textbook says, for example,

    例如有本課本說:

  • "Evolutionarily speaking,

    "從進化角度說,

  • vision is useful precisely because it is so accurate."

    視覺有用恰恰是因爲它精確無疑。“

  • So the idea is that accurate perceptions are fitter perceptions.

    即是說,精確的知覺是更優良的知覺。

  • They give you a survival advantage.

    它能給你生存的優勢。

  • Now, is this correct?

    問題是,這説法正確嗎?

  • Is this the right interpretation of evolutionary theory?

    是對進化理論的正確的詮釋嗎?

  • Well, let's first look at a couple of examples in nature.

    我們可以先看看兩個自然界的例子。

  • The Australian jewel beetle

    澳洲的珠甲蟲

  • is dimpled, glossy and brown.

    樣子帶點、帶亮澤、呈棕色。

  • The female is flightless.

    雌性的不能飛。

  • The male flies, looking, of course, for a hot female.

    雄性的能飛、四處尋找魅力無限的雌蟲。

  • When he finds one, he alights and mates.

    每找到一隻,牠就騎其上,與之交配。

  • There's another species in the outback,

    在荒野上還有另一個物種,

  • Homo sapiens.

    叫智人類。

  • The male of this species has a massive brain

    這物種的男性腦袋奇大,

  • that he uses to hunt for cold beer.

    都用在四處找冰鎮啤酒的功夫上了。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • And when he finds one, he drains it,

    每找到一瓶他就喝一瓶,

  • and sometimes throws the bottle into the outback.

    有時喝完就把瓶子撩荒野上了。

  • Now, as it happens, these bottles are dimpled, glossy,

    無巧不成書,這些瓶子也是樣子帶點、帶亮澤、

  • and just the right shade of brown to tickle the fancy of these beetles.

    而棕色的色度也剛好能讓這些珠甲蟲幻想連天的。

  • The males swarm all over the bottles trying to mate.

    雄甲蟲見啤酒瓶就騎上上下下要與之交配。

  • They lose all interest in the real females.

    如是,牠們對真格的雌蟲倒沒丁點兒興趣了。

  • Classic case of the male leaving the female for the bottle.

    典型的雄性爲了酒瓶疏遠了雌性的案例。

  • (Laughter) (Applause)

    (笑聲)(掌聲)

  • The species almost went extinct.

    該物種幾乎絕種。

  • Australia had to change its bottles to save its beetles.

    澳洲得把瓶子改了才挽救了珠甲蟲。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Now, the males had successfully found females for thousands,

    那些雄蟲幾千年來都能準確無誤的找到雌蟲,

  • perhaps millions of years.

    很可能幾百萬年都如此。

  • It looked like they saw reality as it is, but apparently not.

    似乎牠們見到的就是現實的本貌。很顯然,事實並不如此。

  • Evolution had given them a hack.

    進化讓牠們習得的是一項行技而已。

  • A female is anything dimpled, glossy and brown,

    雌甲蟲就是帶點的、帶亮澤的、呈棕色、

  • the bigger the better.

    越大越好。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Even when crawling all over the bottle, the male couldn't discover his mistake.

    哪怕把整個啤酒瓶都爬完了,那雄蟲就是沒法知道自己錯那兒。

  • Now, you might say, beetles, sure, they're very simple creatures,

    也許你會說,甲蟲嘛,當然啦,簡單低等,

  • but surely not mammals.

    哺乳動物肯定不會。

  • Mammals don't rely on tricks.

    哺乳動物不需依賴伎倆。

  • Well, I won't dwell on this, but you get the idea. (Laughter)

    這我就不多説了,你們懂的。(笑聲)

  • So this raises an important technical question:

    因此這就引出一重要的技術上的問題:

  • Does natural selection really favor seeing reality as it is?

    自然篩選真的偏袒所見如實嗎?

  • Fortunately, we don't have to wave our hands and guess;

    幸好,我們無需揮舞雙手東猜西猜;

  • evolution is a mathematically precise theory.

    進化論是一項數學根據精確的理論。

  • We can use the equations of evolution to check this out.

    我們可以用進化等式來探究一下。

  • We can have various organisms in artificial worlds compete

    我們可以把不同生物放到放到多個人造物界裏競爭,

  • and see which survive and which thrive,

    看看誰生存下來,誰茁壯成長,

  • which sensory systems are more fit.

    哪一個感官系統更優良。

  • A key notion in those equations is fitness.

    這裏面各個等式中最關鍵的元素是體良。

  • Consider this steak:

    看看這枚牛排:

  • What does this steak do for the fitness of an animal?

    對於某動物的體良來説這牛排起什麽作用?

  • Well, for a hungry lion looking to eat, it enhances fitness.

    對於一隻正在尋食的獅子來説,它能促進體良。

  • For a well-fed lion looking to mate, it doesn't enhance fitness.

    對於一喫飽了的、衹想交配的獅子呢,它不會促進體良。

  • And for a rabbit in any state, it doesn't enhance fitness,

    對於一隻任何狀態下的兔子來説呢,它不促進體良。

  • so fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes,

    如此,體良是有賴於所見如實,對的,

  • but also on the organism, its state and its action.

    但同時也有賴於有機體本身、其狀態及行動。

  • Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is,

    體良和能見現實真貌不是一碼事。

  • and it's fitness, and not reality as it is,

    是體良,而不是現實真貌,

  • that figures centrally in the equations of evolution.

    占據了進化論等式的中心位置。

  • So, in my lab,

    在我的實驗室裏,

  • we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations

    我們操運過成百上千個進化游戲模擬,

  • with lots of different randomly chosen worlds

    配有衆多不同的隨機選出的物界,

  • and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds.

    各物界裏各種有機體進行競爭,占獲資源。

  • Some of the organisms see all of the reality,

    一部分有機體能看見全部物界的真貌,

  • others see just part of the reality,

    其他有機體則衹看到現實的一部分,

  • and some see none of the reality,

    還有的對現實的真貌熟視無睹,

  • only fitness.

    衹看見體良一樣東西。

  • Who wins?

    誰贏了呢?

  • Well, I hate to break it to you, but perception of reality goes extinct.

    説來你也許不信,能看見現實真貌的都絕種了。

  • In almost every simulation,

    在每一個模擬中,

  • organisms that see none of reality

    有機體都無法對現實有感知

  • but are just tuned to fitness

    而只是單單地成了形體

  • drive to extinction all the organisms that perceive reality as it is.

    導致能看到現實真貌的有機體絕種。

  • So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor vertical,

    説到底,演化並不偏向高低向度的知覺,

  • or accurate perceptions.

    也不偏向精密知覺。

  • Those perceptions of reality go extinct.

    能看得見現實真貌的都絕種了。

  • Now, this is a bit stunning.

    好吧,這觀察有點驚人。

  • How can it be that not seeing the world accurately

    不能精確看到現實真貌爲何能

  • gives us a survival advantage?

    使我們有生存的優勢?

  • That is a bit counterintuitive.

    這不太能用直覺思考。

  • But remember the jewel beetle.

    但別忘了剛才講到的珠甲蟲。

  • The jewel beetle survived for thousands, perhaps millions of years,

    珠甲蟲幾千年,可能幾百萬年都活下來了,

  • using simple tricks and hacks.

    靠的是簡單的片長薄技。

  • What the equations of evolution are telling us

    進化制衡向我們顯示的是

  • is that all organisms, including us, are in the same boat as the jewel beetle.

    所有的有機體,包括我們,和珠甲蟲面對的是一樣的。

  • We do not see reality as it is.

    我們看見的不是現實的真貌。

  • We're shaped with tricks and hacks that keep us alive.

    我們是由那些讓我們活下來的小伎倆塑造出來的。

  • Still,

    當然,

  • we need some help with our intuitions.

    我們也需要依靠直覺的某些幫助。

  • How can not perceiving reality as it is be useful?

    爲何不看見現實的真貌會如此有用呢?

  • Well, fortunately, we have a very helpful metaphor:

    很慶幸,我們有個非常得力的比方:

  • the desktop interface on your computer.

    你電腦上的桌面界面。

  • Consider that blue icon for a TED Talk that you're writing.

    我們來看那個代表你正在寫的TED Talk稿子的藍色的圖標。

  • Now, the icon is blue and rectangular

    圖標是藍色的,成矩形

  • and in the lower right corner of the desktop.

    處在桌面的右下角。

  • Does that mean that the text file itself in the computer is blue,

    這意味著電腦裏面的文字文件就是藍色的、

  • rectangular, and in the lower right-hand corner of the computer?

    矩形的、就處在電腦裏的右手邊角落嗎?

  • Of course not.

    當然不是。

  • Anyone who thought that misinterprets the purpose of the interface.

    誰要是認爲是的話,就是誤解了界面的目的了。

  • It's not there to show you the reality of the computer.

    界面的目的不是向你呈現電腦的真貌。

  • In fact, it's there to hide that reality.

    事實是,界面是爲你遮蓋電腦的真貌。

  • You don't want to know about the diodes

    你並不想知道二極管、

  • and resistors and all the megabytes of software.

    電阻器、軟體的位元組之類的。

  • If you had to deal with that, you could never write your text file

    要是得跟這些打交道的話,你永遠也沒法寫文件,

  • or edit your photo.

    或編輯圖片了。

  • So the idea is that evolution has given us an interface

    這樣説來,進化給我們有個界面的意義是

  • that hides reality and guides adaptive behavior.

    把現實的真貌隱藏起來,並指引適應性行爲。

  • Space and time, as you perceive them right now,

    你目前知覺到的空間和時間,

  • are your desktop.

    就如同你的電腦桌面。

  • Physical objects are simply icons in that desktop.

    實質物體也就只不過是桌面的圖標而已。

  • There's an obvious objection.

    有個顯而易見的反駁。

  • Hoffman, if you think that train coming down the track at 200 MPH

    Hoffman, 如果你認爲對面開來那輛時速200英里的火車

  • is just an icon of your desktop,

    只不過是電腦桌面的圖標,

  • why don't you step in front of it?

    為何不見你一躍而上擋前面去?

  • And after you're gone, and your theory with you,

    等你沒命了,和你的理論一起埋了,

  • we'll know that there's more to that train than just an icon.

    我們就知道那輛火車不單單只是圖標了。

  • Well, I wouldn't step in front of that train

    呵,我不會上去擋著那火車,