Peter Jones writes (quoting SP):

> > What about an inputless computer program, running deterministically like a 
> > recording.
> > Would that count as a program at all,
> It would be a trivial case.

Trivial does not mean false.
> >  and could it be a conscious program, given that
> > computationalism is true?
> Obviously not, since people have inputs.

There are several possible responses to that. Firstly, it isn't necessarily 
true that only people 
can be conscious, even if people (and maybe some animals) are the only entities 
we have good 
reason to believe are conscious. 

Secondly, there is always the possibility that an inputless, deterministic 
machine might be able 
to receive input. We might open the case, connect a lead with alligator clips, 
and start communicating 
with it in morse code. To the program, it would be like a message from God. You 
would then have to 
decide at which point the program became conscious: when the case was opened, 
when the message 
was sent, or was it conscious all along? If you say it was not conscious until 
the message was actually 
sent you would have to say that an entity was only conscious while receiving 
input, and stopped 
being conscious while it was analysing the input already received.

Finally, it is possible to have the same kind of interaction that a machine 
with environmental inputs  
has by connecting two previously inputless machines to each other. They can 
then have a two way 
conversation, each surprised by the other's responses, but the system as a 
whole remains inputless 
and deterministic. The ultimate example of this is, as Brent Meeker suggested, 
a self-contained virtual 
reality. The universe as a whole could be seen as just this, unless you believe 
that God speaks to us 
from outside.

Stathis Papaioannou
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