Norman Samish wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou writes:
> That's right, but with a fixed input the computer follows a perfectly 
> deterministic course, like a clockwork mechanism, however many times we 
> repeat the run.  Moreover, if we consider the recording of the input as 
> hardwired into the computer, it does not interact with its environment.  So 
> we have the possibility that a perfectly deterministic physical system that 
> does not interact with its environment may be conscious.  And since the 
> computer may be built and programmed in an arbitrarily complex way, because 
> any physical system can be mapped onto any computation with the appropriate 
> mapping rules,  we have the possibility that any physical system could be 
> implementing any computation.  That would be a trivial result given that we 
> are unable to interact with such a computer and would never be able to use 
> it or recognise it as a computer - except that such a computer can be 
> conscious, self-aware in its own segregated virtual world.
> 
> NCS: If the computer is "conscious" I don't see how it could be a 
> deterministic or predictable physical system.  To me, consciousness means it 
> is self-aware, capable of modifying its responses,

Capable of modifying its repsonse in different cirumstances.  There's no reason 
to 
suppose it must be capable of different responses given exactly the same 
circumstances (including memory states).

> and therefore not 
> predictable.   

Being not predictable is quite easy to acheive even for completely 
deterministic 
systems, e.g. the three-body problem, the weather.

>What are the ingredients of a conscious computer ?  Perhaps 
> one essential component is a central processing unit that depends on quantum 
> randomness to arrive at a decision when other factors balance out.

I don't think there's any reason to suppoose quantum randomness plays a role in 
human 
consciousness - and there are some reasons to think it doesn't, e.g. see 
Tegmarks 
paper.  There is plenty of environmental "noise" to prevent Buridan's ass from 
starving.

Brent Meeker

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