Russell Standish writes:
> The take home message I get from Maudlin's experiment is that a
> computationalist consciousness is supervenient on a physical process
> _spread_ over the multiverse, ie the counterfactuals must really exist
> as alternate branches of the Multiverse.

So what does that tell you about Olympia?  Is she conscious or not,
by this criterion?  I guess that you would say that if the unused
counterfactual machinery would actually work if tested, then she is
conscious; but if the counterfactual machines were broken or blocked
such that they wouldn't work (even though they are not used) then she
is unconscious.  And perhaps you can say that the machines are in fact
tested in other branches of the multiverse, so the criterion is more
than merely a hypothetical difference between unused working machines
and unused broken machines.  I see some difficulties with this position
but I better first hear whether this is what you have in mind before
trying to extrapolate further.

> A far as your UDist argument goes, the fact that a conscious HLUT, or
> a conscious clock has very low measure simply means it is very
> unlikely for us to be one of these things. They would still be
> conscious. However accepting the Multiverse would eliminate these
> objects from being conscious at all, because tof the lack of
> counterfactuals.

>From my perspective it doesn't make sense to ask whether a system is
conscious, per se.  Consciousness exists platonically in the multiverse.
Any given consciousness exists, whether a particular system implements
it or not.

What we want to know is whether running a certain program or process
will add to the measure of a given consciousness.  Running a clock
will not add any noticeable measure to any consciousness.  Running a
neural simulation or some AI program may well add significant measure.
We can deduce these facts without considering counterfactuals.  It is
only necessary to see how short a program can compute a representation
of the abstract conscious calculation by starting from the program or
process that we initiate.

My understanding is that the main argument for requiring counterfactuals
in the definition of implementation is to escape the argument that a clock
implements every finite state machine.  I believe that other responses are
better, such as the one by Jacques Mallah.  Unfortunately Mallah's works
seems to have largely disappeared from the web, as has Mallah himself,
but I found an early copy of one of them on and have put it
here,  This version does not
lay out the argument as clearly as the later ones, and merely hints at
the role Kolmogorov complexity can play, but the basic ideas are present.

Hal Finney

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