Hi Stephen

Stephen Paul King wrote:
Dear George,
    Could it be that Consciousness is more related and identifiable with the "processing" of Information than with Information itself?
I agree that consciousness is not just information. As you say, consciousness seems to be associated with processing of information. However, even "processing of information" is not sufficient. For example a computer processes information but is not conscious. There is also a need for self referentiality.

Consider the example often raised (I do not know the original source) of a Book that contained a "complete description" of Einstein's Brain. It was claimed that this book was in fact equivalent to Einstein himself even to the degree that one could "have a conversation with Einstein" by referencing the book. (Never mind the fact that QM's non-cummutativity of canonical conjugate observables make it impossible for *any* classical object to be completely specified in a way that is independent of observational frame, but I digress...)
I am questioning the idea that there can be a book containing a "complete description" of Einstein's Brain that can be "read" independently of your frame of reference. Is the book containing a snapshot of the brain at a particular microsecond in Einstein's life? In this case I doubt whether this book can be called conscious.

Or is it a video book containing the whole life history of Einstein's brain? In which case,  you'll have trouble "reading" the book unless you change your frame of reference. If you push the "play" button on the video player all you will see is a movie of Einstein brain INTERACTING WITH ITS ENVIRONMENT  - NOT YOUR ENVIRONMENT. (This is like a hologram. Did you know that an object seen in a hologram casts a shadow in the environment where the hologram is created but not in the viewing environment?)  Changing your frame of reference to Einstein's environment would be extremely difficult - you'll need a time machine.

The only "practical?" way to get a good rendition of Einstein's brain THAT INTERACTS WITH YOUR ENVIRONMENT  is to simulate it on a computer. Then you can call it conscious.

    Could it be that the "hard Problem" of consciousness follows inevitably from our hard-headed insistence that the Universe is Classical ("object have definite properties in themselves") in spite of the massive pile of unassailable evidence otherwise? If we treat Consciousness as "what a quantum computer (brain!) does", i.e. process qubits, instead of a classical object, maybe, just maybe we might find the "problem" not to be so intractably "hard" after all! ;-)
You remind me of Penrose with whom I disagree. Using the quantum computer paradigm is like shoving the mind-body and consciousness problem under the quantum carpet. We must first get a good understanding of self referential systems, classical or quantum. Bruno seems to be on the right track but I think we are still waiting for the linkage between diagonalization and self referentiality and consciousness... (forgive me if I have missed something in his argument)
"The message needs no medium!" Marshall McLuhan got it all wrong! :-)

George Levy

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