> It still isn't clear to me whether you believe it is possible
> for a digital computer to be conscious or not.
Digital computers of the type we currently have?
In any/all combinations, including the whole internet?
No... that they have the consciousness of the kind we have.
No... that they have the consciousness of the programs they run.
Yes.. in that they may be having some sort of experience... whatever it is
like to be a hot electrically noisy chunk of silicon with all sorts of
dopants shuffling charge around in circles...
But...future "computers" of a new type?
Yes... Except the percentage 'digital' (meaning abstract symbol
manipulation) will be far less than 100% and could conceivably be zero. I
suspect hybrids will be common. It'll be up to us. I do not mean quantum
computers. They will be shown to be zombies too. Being a zombie able to
manipulate a zillion abstract symbols simultaneously just means you get to
be a very powerful zombie. A megazombie that is just as inept at science.
It will be able to make mistakes far more quickly though. That's my
BTW there's no such thing as a truly digital computer. They are all
actually analogue. We just ignore the analogue parts of the state
transitions and time it all so it makes sense.
The first one I plan to build (my PhD project is doing modelling for it)
will be a hybrid for a whole bunch of reasons. It will self-verify the
existence of experiences by putting multiple "scientists" together. That
is, several (probably four) 'scientists' will share/compare experiences
and do primitive science. There will be 4 independent 'selves' in there,
all able to have each other's experiences. It's the only way you can
verify the physics is doing what you say. Eventually the chips may be able
to be integrated into a human to augment/restore vision (eyeballs not
needed) etc. That's when the real test will be possible.
My PhD restarts in January, which is why I have enough time to write odd
papers and be a nuiscance here! :-)
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