> People certainly seem to take their consciousness seriously 
> on this list! 
> I've now managed to alienate both the "consciousness doesn't 
> really exist" 
> and the "it exists and we can explain it" factions. I did not 
> mean that there is no explanation possible for consciousness. 
> It is likely that in the course of time the neuronal 
> mechanisms behind the phenomenon will be worked out and it 
> will be possible to build intelligent, conscious machines. 
> Imagine that advanced aliens have already achieved this 
> through surreptitious study of humans over a number of 
> decades. Their models of human brain function are so good 
> that by running an emulation of one or more humans and their 
> environment they can predict their behaviour better than the 
> humans can themselves. Now, I think you will agree (although 
> Jonathan Colvin may not) that despite this excellent 
> understanding of the processes giving rise to human conscious 
> experience, the aliens may still have absolutely no idea what 
> the experience is actually like.

No, I'd agree that they have no idea what the experience is like. But this
is no more remarkable than the fact that allthough we may have an excellent
understanding of photons, we can not travel at the speed of light, or that
although we may have an excellent understanding of trees, yet we can not
photosynthesize. Neither of these "problems" seem particularly hard.

Jonathan Colvin

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