Brent meeker writes:

> >>[If] a computatation only "dreams" then how could you know whether it was 
> >>intelligence, or just noise?
> > 
> > 
> > We wouldn't know, but the computation itself would know if it were 
> > conscious, 
> > creating its own observer. If we say that noise contains hidden information 
> > that may be true in a trivial sense, but it's meaningless: information 
> > hidden in 
> > noise is not accessible to anyone and is no different to no information at 
> > all. 
> > But if the information hidden in noise is a conscious computation, then it 
> > *is* 
> > accessible to someone: itself, by definition. If you don't like this 
> > conclusion 
> > then you have to either reject computationalism (as John Searle does using 
> > this argument) or impose ad hoc limitations on it, which amounts to the 
> > same 
> > thing.
> I'm considering rejecting the idea that a computation can be 
> distinguished from noise by some internal characteristic of the 
> computation.  I don't think you can make the idea of "information hidden 
> in noise" well defined.  By Shannon's measure noise is information.

Would you allow that one machine or computation may be emulated by another 
following some sort of mapping rule, and that consciousness may be preserved 
in this process? This would seem to be an assumption at the basis of 
and computationalism. But what if the mapping rule were the equivalent of what 
in cryptography is called a one-time pad, determined by some stochastic process 
such as radioactive decay? The states of the emulated machine would then seem 
to vary randomly, but if you had access to the mapping rule you would be able 
"read" it (and perhaps interact with it) just as if it followed some simpler 
code, like 
shifting each letter of the alphabet by one. Are you prepared to argue that the 
emulated machine is only conscious if an external observer has the relevant 
mapping rule at hand and/or is actually "reading" it or interacting with it 
this information?

Stathis Papaioannou
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