On Thu, Nov 03, 2005 at 03:21:50PM -0800, "Hal Finney" wrote:
> Russell Standish writes:
> > It predicts that either a) there is no conscious life in a GoL
> > universe (thus contradicting computationalism) or b) the physics as
> > seen by conscious GoL observers will be quantum mechanical in nature.
> >
> > If one could establish that a given GoL structure is conscious, and
> > then if one could demonstrate that its world view is incompatible with
> > QM then we might have a contradiction.=20
> >
> > Even then, there is still a loophole. I suspect that 3D environment
> > are far more likely to evolve the complex structures needed for
> > consciousness, so that conscious GoL observers are indeed a rare
> > thing. I don't know if this is the case or not, but if true it would
> > make a GoL example irrelevant. More interesting is to look at some 3D
> > CA rules that appear to support universal computation - Andy Wuensche
> > had a paper on this in last year's ALife in Boston. No arXiv ref I'm
> > afraid, but you could perhaps email him for an eprint...
> That's very interesting.  Is it a matter of evolution, or mere existence?
> I can see that life would be hard to evolve naturally in Life -
> it's too chaotic.  But it might well be possible for us to create
> a specially-designed Life "robot" which was able to move around and
> interact with a sufficiently well-defined and restrictive environment.

I think an especially designed conscious GoL observer would be a White
Rabbit type situation. Assume computationalism, and assume we have
successfully developed evolutionary algorithms to generate
conscious observers. Now we take the program representing our evolved observer,
and implement it on a Turing machine constructed from GoL
components. What is it like to be such an observer? Rather like our
white rabbit scenarios I should think.

Also if we were constructed ab initio by an intelligent designer, and
placed in a GoL implementation, probably much the same thing applies
(unless the observer's environment is also simulated on the GoL

> How much constraint would your theories put on the capabilities of such
> a robot?  Is it just that it could never be truly conscious?  Or would
> your arguments limit its capabilities more strongly?  Consciousness is
> hard to test for; would there be purely functional limitations that you
> could predict?
> Hal Finney

I have critiqued pure computationalism on the basis of an assumed
necessity for random sequences for creative processes (such as
evolution, and consciousness). I am aware that my critique doesn't
apply to dovetailer implementations of multiverses, however, by
Bruno's argument. In such a case, we may all be implemented in a GoL
universe, and never know it. 

My argument is that one should expect to wake up in a quantum
mechanics type universe, not that it is impossible to be conscious in
a non-QM environment. Its anthropic reasoning. Bruno's argument
appears to have more to say on the latter though.


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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
Mathematics                                    0425 253119 (")
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
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