Colin hales writes:

> > You don't think paramecium behaviour could be modelled on a computer?
> >
> > Stathis Papaiaonnou
> A paramecium can behave like it's perceiving something. I haven't observed
> it myself but I have spoken to people who have and they say they have
> behaviours which betray some sort of awareness beyond the scope of their
> boundary. A teeny paramecium-sized primitive external world model. A teeny
> bit of adaptive behaviour.
> So a computer model?....
> A) that included a model of those aspects of the physics participating in
> what the paramecium could have as experiences.
> B) That included all the molecular pathways (cilia molecules, the lot)
> C) that included a model of the response to the perceptual physics
> D) That included a model of the environment of the paramecium
> would be pretty good. But the model would not be having experiences.
> There's the age old distinction between [modelling perfectly] and [the
> perfect model]. The former aims at "realistic replication". The latter
> aims at "suited to task". I think you could get pretty close to it
> behaviourally. Maybe indistiguishable.
> The way to test it? Make the model drive a nano-robot paramecium shell.
> Then let it live with real paramecium. Then expose both to novelty and see
> what the differences are.
> I don't think any amount of detail will ever make the model or the
> computer it is running on have experiences....the only perfect model of
> the paramecium is a paramecium. Also...paramecium is not noted for its
> scientific behaviour!

The computer driving the paramecium shell might be difficult to build, but in 
principle it would be the same sort of task as, say, a computer running an 
clock or projecting a film (i.e., originally filmed on a celluloid strip) onto 
a screen. With 
sufficient attention to detail, it should be impossible to distinguish the 
digital replica 
from the original. If you don't believe the paramecium replica can be made 
indistinguishable from the original, which part of the paramecium is it that 
would be so 
hard to simulate? If you do manage to simulate it, down to the quantum level if 
necessary, then how could it possibly not behave like a real paramecium? 

Stathis Papaioannou
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