Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent meeker writes:
>> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>>> Brent Meeker writes:
>>>>> I assume that there is some copy of me possible which
>>>>> preserves my 1st person experience. After all, physical
>>>>> copying literally occurs in the course of normal life and I
>>>>> still feel myself to be the same person. But suppose I am
>>>>> offered some artificial means of being copied. The evidence I
>>>>> am presented with is that Fred2 here is a robot who behaves
>>>>> exactly the same as the standard human Fred: has all his
>>>>> memories, a similar personality, similar intellectual
>>>>> abilities, and passes whatever other tests one cares to set
>>>>> him. The question is, how can I be sure that Fred2 really has
>>>>> the same 1st person experiences as Fred? A software engineer
>>>>> might copy a program's "look and feel" without knowing
>>>>> anything about the original program's internal code, his goal
>>>>> being to mimic the external appearance as seen by the end
>>>>> user by whatever means available. Similarly with Fred2,
>>>>> although the hope was to produce a copy with the same 1st
>>>>> person experiences, the only possible research method would
>>>>> have been to produce a copy that mimics Fred's behaviour. If
>>>>> Fred2 has 1st person experiences at all, they may be utterly
>>>>> unlike those of Fred. Fred2 may even be aware that he is
>>>>> different but be extremely good at hiding it, because if he
>>>>> were not he would have been rejected in the testing process.
>>>>> If it could be shown that Fred2 behaves like Fred *and* is
>>>>> structurally similar
>>>> Or *functionally* similar at lower levels, e.g. having long and
>>>> short-term memory, having reflexes, having mostly separate
>>>> areas for language and vision.
>>>>> to Fred then I would be more confident in accepting copying.
>>>>> If behaviour is similar but the underlying mechanism
>>>>> completely different then I would consider that only by
>>>>> accident could 1st person experience be similar.
>>>> I'd say that would still be the way to bet - just with less
>>>> Brent Meeker
>>> It's the level of confidence which is the issue. Would it be fair
>>> to assume that a digital and an analogue audio source have the
>>> same 1st person experience (such as it may be) because their
>>> output signal is indistinguishable to human hearing and
>>> scientific instruments?
>>> Stathis Papaioannou
>> "Fair" is a vague term. That they are the same would be my default
>> assumption, absent any other information. Of course knowing that
>> one is analog and the other digital reduces my confidence in that
>> assumption, but no theory of "audio source experience" I have no
>> way to form a specific alternative hypothesis.
> You're implying that the default assumption should be that
> consciousness correlates more closely with external behaviour than
> with internal activity generating the behaviour: the tape recorder
> should reason that as the CD player produces the same audio output as
> I do, most likely it has the same experiences as I do. But why
> shouldn't the tape recorder reason: even though the CD player
> produces the same output as I do, it does so using completely
> different technology, so it most likely has completely different
> experiences to my own.
Here's my reasoning: We think other people (and animals) are conscious, have
experiences, mainly because of the way they behave and to a lesser degree
because they are like us in appearance and structure. On the other hand we're
pretty sure that consciousness requires a high degree of complexity, something
supported by our theories and technology of information. So we don't think
that individual molecules or neurons are conscious - it must be something about
how a large number of subsystems interact. This implies that any one subsystem
could be replaced by a functionally similar one, e.g. silicon "neuron", and not
change consciousness. So our theory is that it is not technology in the sense
of digital vs analog, but in some functional information processing sense.
So given two things that have the same behavior, the default assumption is they
have the same consciousness (i.e. little or none in the case of CD and tape
players). If I look into them deeper and find they use different technologies,
that doesn't do much to change my opinion - it's like a silicon neuron vs a
biochemical one. If I find the flow and storage of information is different,
e.g. one throws away more information than the other, or one adds randomness,
then I'd say that was evidence for different consciousness.
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