At 11:53 +1000 26/7/99, Russell Standish wrote:

>Thinking about this some more, I realise this is exactly what is going
>on. Consider Olympia from a MWI point of view. For the vast majority
>of worlds containing Olympia, Karas (I believe that is what the
>correcting machinery is called) is active, handling the
>counterfactuals. Only on one world line (of measure zero!) is Karas
>inactive, and Olympia is simply replaying the previously recorded
>Now consider what happens when Karas is turned off, or prevented from
>operating. Then, in all world lines is Olympia simply a replay
>device. From the MWI point of view, the simple inert piece of wood is
>not so innocuous. It changes the systems dynamics completely.
>Now this has bearing on a supposition I have argued earlier - that
>conciousness requires free will, and the only way to have free will is
>via the MWI picture. In this context, a Turing machine can never be
>concious, because it follows a preprogrammed path, without free
>will. Note this is not the same as saying comp is false, unless you
>strictly define computers to be Turing machines. My suspicion is that
>adding a genuine random number generator to the machine may be
>sufficient to endow the architecture with free will, however, of
>course the question is unresolved.

This seems an excellent viewpoint, consciousness requires the freedom to
react to a reasonably wide range of circumstances in a way which is not
predictable to other observers.  So a single execution can never confirm or
deny consciousness however many times it is replayed.  But I'm not so sure
that a Turing machine cannot have free will.  I'd guess that the appearance
of free will can emerge from a sufficiently complex TM provided that the TM
exists in a suitably complex environment.  If a person built a machine
containing a TM it would be part of our MWI universe and the requirements
could be satisfied.  This would not be an isolated TM since it would be
simulated by and react to its environment, and any 'randomness' requirement
could actually involve a sensitivity to gravitons, photons, or quantum

I tend to agree that a completely isolated TM is unlikely to have free will
or be conscious (and in any case it would be impossible to test it).  Of
course the program executed by an isolated TM may well be able to generate
a universe containing conscious subjects.  In the special case of an
isolated TM generating a universe which contains exactly one conscious
subject in a suitable environment it could loosely be said that the TM's
program is that conscious subject.  But this is different to saying that
the TM itself is conscious, and it would not be apparent from looking at
the TM that it was generating consciousness.

Reply via email to