On Monday, December 23, 2002, at 08:06  PM, Stephen Paul King wrote:

Yes. I strongly suspect that "minds" are quantum mechanical. My
arguement is at this point very hand waving, but it seems to me that if
minds are purely classical when it would not be difficult for us to imagine,
i.e. compute, what it is like to "be a bat" or any other classical mind. I
see this as implied by the ideas involved in Turing Machines and other
"Universal" classical computational systems.
The no cloning theoren of QM seems to have the "right flavor" to explain
how it is that we can not have first person experience of each other's
minds, whereas the UTM model seems to strongly imply that I should be able
to know exactly what you are thinking. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, this
is a "the dog did not bark" scenario.
I just can't see any basis for invoking quantum mechanics and "no cloning" for why I am not you, or why I cannot plausibly experience being you, and vice versa, and so on.

Even if intelligence is purely classical (in terms of the physics), there are excellent reasons why there is no way today (given today's technology, today's interfaces, today's bandwidth) for me to "compute what it is to be a bat."

Inasmuch as we cannot even build a machine which even remotely resembles a bat, or even an ant, the inability to simulate/understand/"be" a bat is not surprising. There is no mapping currently feasable between my internal states and a bat's. Even if we are made of relays or transistors.

Saying that our inability to know what it is to be another person implies that some principle of QM is likely to be involved is, in my view, unsupported and unrealistic.

It may well be that there are deep, QM-related reasons why Alice cannot emulate Bob, but we are probably a long way in _engineering_ terms from knowing that Alice can or cannot emulate Bob, or have a first person understanding of what a bat is, etc.

Occam's Razor--don't multiply hypotheses needlessly.

In other news, I am enjoying Barrett's book on quantum mechanics and minds. (Interesting to compare his views with Bub, Peres, Isham, and Wheeler.) Got a copy of Joyce's "Causal Decision Theory," to go along with the QM papers Bruno and Wei have been citing. Also read an interesting science fiction novel with some new twists on the Many Worlds Interpretation (esp. the DeWitt variant): "Finity," by John Barnes. A New Zealand astronomer/mathematician with some interesting ideas about "abductive reasoning" finds himself slipping between different realities.

--Tim May

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