Brent Meeker writes:

> > 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 
> > functionalism 
> > 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 to 
> > "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 
> > using 
> > this information?
> > 
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> Yes, that's roughly my idea.  Of course you can't insist that a 
> computation interact continuously to count as computation, only that it 
> does occasionally or potentially.  In your example I would say that you 
> can only know that there is computation, as distinct from noise, going 
> on if the computer, via the emulation code, can still interact with its 
> environment (i.e. you).  I don't believe the simplicity or complexity of 
> the internal operations is relevant.  For example, if you could see the 
> movements of electrons in my computer, you couldn't tell whether it was 
> displaying this email or just doing something random - but if you look 
> at the dispaly screen you can.  On the other hand, to the alien from 
> alpha centauri, the screen might also look random.
> Brent Meeker

That's fine in the case of an email, but consider a computer which is conscious 
spends its time musing or dreaming. Would you say that this computer's 
is contingent on the existence of external observers who might be able to 
figure out 
what it's up to? 

Stathis Papaioannou
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