<snip>
>> 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 analogue 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

With a Paramecium you might be able to get pretty close. Let's assume you
have the nan-tech to build a replica paramecium coat for a small computer
to inhabit that is running the model.

The boundaries of the model would be where the distinction between the two
might be able to be scientifically ascertained. Expose the paramecium to
something that wasn't accounted for in the model. Hit 'em all with boiling
water? Take them out of water? Shine bright lights? Put them in the dark?
Starve them? Does it eat like a parmecium? Does it evade obstacles like a
parmecium? Does it sleep like a paramecium? Does it die like a paramecium?
Can it make a baby paramecium?

Also: Consider my original definition:

> 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

A) is the killer. Modelling the physics that does the experience is not
'having the experience'.

You tell it to respond 'as-if' it had them. What you do not do is model
all possible paramecium experiences, only the ones you used to create the
model. The experience and the behaviour in response are 2 different
things. All you can observe is behaviour.

You have to be really careful here. "Indistinguishable" by what criteria?
If you have done tests and recorded X behaviours and there are actually
X+Y behaviours, but you failed to observe them all, then you can be 100%
sure you have made an indistinguishable paramecium, but you've really only
made a 100% tested paramecium.

However, if you made the paramecium with a chip that manufactured whatever
mini-experiences constitute a paramecium's consciousness... you'll get
closer..but even then I suspect they'll be different in some ways.

Rodney Brooks (MIT AI Lab head) said "the world is its own best model".
The only thing that is a paramecium is a paramecium. For our own purposes
with experience chips embedded in a good computational model we could get
functionally as close as suited our purposes. But that's as far as it
goes, I think.

Colin Hales


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