Ben Goertzel wrote:

My own understanding is that whether Fred, a pigeon or a printer is involved
in the experiment  should be basically irrelevant.  That is, I don't think
"registration in consciousness" (whatever  that means) is the important
thing, but rather registration in the sense of "statistical correlation
with some macroscopic system effectively obeying classical probability
theory."  However, I realize  that not everyone agrees with me on this; my
reading of Penrose, for instance, is that he would  predict a different
outcome for 2 versus 1, because he believes that Fred's brain (via
unspecified  quantum gravity related effects) does something special to
collapse the wave function, which the  printer does not.

By the way, I also wanted to point out that this actually isn't Penrose's position, although given his unusual views about the relationship between consciousness and QM it's a pretty common misunderstanding. It's been a while since I read his book, but my memory is that Penrose advocates a "gravitationally-induced collapse" view where the wavefunction of an entangled system spontaneously collapses once it exceeds a certain threshold in mass (due to interactions with the outside world which result in more and more particles becoming entangled with the original system), which he speculates is likely to be around the Planck mass, about 5*10^-8 kg (close to the mass of a flea). He also speculates that the theory of quantum gravity which deals with this may be noncomputable, and that the human brain may somehow take advantage of such noncomputable effects to solve problems that could not be solved by a computational system.

The "consciousness collapses the wavefunction" view has been advocated by a few serious physicists like Eugene Wigner, and of course by lots of new-agey types.

Jesse


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