Brent: 'Remember that Bruno is a logician.'
MP: :-) Yes, this much is easy to infer. The full scope of what this
might MEAN however, is little short of terrifying ... ;-)
MP: Infinity, infinite, infinitely big or small; these are challenging
concepts at the best of times and made very interesting to the point of
mind-boggling in the contexts of QM and relativity theory. In QM, there
is apparently NOT an infinitely small level of existence that could be
reached by any kind of measurement due to the shortest length and
shortest durations denoted by the Planck length and Planck time. I
personally wonder whether there is room to criticise this limitation.
The underlying concept of Process Physics [let me call that PP from now
on] directly challenges the idea.
MP: My point about measurement is to do with the fact that in seeking to
get as exact a copy as possible, not just a working model, it is
possible that the digital representations of salient features might need
more decimal places than the recording and/or transmission systems can
provide. This is a matter of big as opposed to infinite of course but as
I pointed out before, the copy is not that of a static something or
other it is a sufficient facsimile of a very complex dynamic system.
This means that AT VERY LEAST two measurements of everything will be
needed AND THEN a computation of all salient displacements WITH further
measurements of system parts undergoing acceleration WITH WHICH
calculations of the accelerations and displacements might finally be
made. As far as I can see the amount of computation required to get all
that in order will always be whatever is the maximum that the copier is
currently capable of and might indeed require 'infinite' calculations to
get all of it right.
Now I realise this is beginning to sound like an old fart imitating a
wet blanket but these practical considerations, even if here only
arising in a hypothetical and highly unlikely situation, are nicely
indicative of just the sort of thing that distinguishes the real world
from the beautiful but artificial worlds envisaged by 'comp', aggressive
QM and other theories that confuse description with ontology.
I could go on and on but it is very late here so let me finish by
paraphrasing a line or two out of the 'Lord's prayer' - as might be
addressed to the great IT or Universe:
'Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from hubris,
for Thine is the location, the duration and the entropy,
for at least the next 15 billion years and maybe for eternity,
Mark Peaty CDES
PS: "Qualia": part of 'what it is like to be the updating of the model'
therefore essentially a first person aspect. Not something to worry
about and let's NOT get wired up just yet! :-) The project of inducing
qualia in others corresponding to those of one's own is my definition of
fine art. It is by and large the fundamental criterion for judging
success in any art.
Brent Meeker wrote:
Mark Peaty wrote:
SP: 'using the term "comp" as short for "computationalism" as
something picked up from Bruno. On the face of it, computationalism
seems quite sensible: the best theory of consciousness and the most
promising candidate for producing artificial intelligence/consciousness'
That is what I thought 'comp' meant. My approach to this is to
adhere, as much as possible, to plain and simple English. Not being a
'mathematician' I stick with my type of sceptical method. To me this
does not seem deeply problematic although is does of course limit the
scope of conversations I can participate in. As far as I can see,
Bruno's grand scheme depends on 'assume', like the economists do.
Unfortunately that which is assumed remains, I believe, unprovable.
Furthermore there are deep, common sense, problems which undermine
all these theories of universal emulation possibilities, never mind
those potentially lethal :-) teleporting/fax holidays and cryogenic
The biggest hurdle is the requirement for infinite computing ability.
Remember that Bruno is a logician. When he writes "infinite" he
really means infinite - not "really, really big" as physicists do.
Almost all numbers are bigger than 10^120, which is the biggest number
that appears in physics (and it's wrong).
This is simply the recognition that all measurements are
approximations so the teleporter/fax machine could only ever send an
approximate copy of me to whatever destination duty or holiday
dreamings might lead me. Still, it is probable that I, as subjective
experiencer, would not notice most anomalies, particularly if trying
to fill in the temporal gaps caused by Bruno's gratuitous delays in
reading me back out of his archive :-)
This limitation hits all the 'Matrix' type scenarios as well: the
emulation system would require essentially infinite computing
capacity to reproduce any useful world that a real person inhabits.
If on the other hand the Matrix is only concerned to make A world,
its virtual reality inhabitants might be sustained [I am admitting
this as a possibility] until they started engaging in real science.
As I understand things the denizens of a Matrix type world would
start to find real anomalies in their 'reality' unless the matrix
machine could operate at a fineness of resolution unattainable by any
experimental method the matrixians could devise. There would be much
less, or even no problem at all if they were all believers in
'Intelligent Design' of course. [I can put that very rudely as: the
problem is not 'If our mind were simple enough to understand then we
would be too dumb to understand it' but rather 'If Intelligent Design
were really true then we have been designed to be so dumb that it
really doesn't matter!']
Re "Platonic objects" - I think this is illusory. The numbers that
people write down and think about are words in the language/s of
logico-mathematics. They do what they do because they are defined as
such but they do not exist apart from the systems which generate and
record them - by which I mean brains, blackboards and computers,
etc... The regularities, and exciting facts people discover about
them are just that, regularities and exciting facts about languages.
I don't mean that in any derogatory sense. We live largely BY MEANS
OF our languages and certainly our cultural lives as human beings
would be impossible without language in the general and inclusive
senses. But the universe is not made out of languages, it just exists
- for the moment at least.
I incline to this view. I agree that the Platonic objects of
mathematics are inventions or language - but so are our models based
on material particles. An electron is almost (but maybe not quite) as
abstract an invention as the number two.
[NB: it just occurs to me that certain G/goddists will say that the
universe is made out of the mind of G/god/s which could perhaps be
included as a or THE language of existence. To be 'perfect' however,
this would need to be allowed to have infinite recursion, i.e. ''made
out of(made out of(made out of(made out of ... -> inf ... ))). As far
as I can see however this would amount to an assertion of many
layered uncertainty and/or a Heraclitan in-falling in the direction
of smallwards due to the necessity of each layer of divinity
maintaining omniscience, omnipotence, and so for, over and under its
'turf'. As this has the minimalist effect of underpinning either
standard model QM, etc. or something like the Process Physics
advocated by Colin Hales and friends [which I find attractive], all
is well with the world. :-]
But, seriously, all this stuff about 'supervening' and so forth is
all based on the Cartesian assumption that mind-stuff has no physical
extension. Well the Inquisition is no longer the authority or power
base that it was and empirical science has moved on. I think the onus
is falling ever more heavily on those who deny the identity of mind
and brain to explain WHY they still do so. The 'distinction' between
1st and 3rd person view points is simply raw fact.
I think of it as a failure of communication. My brain must
communicate with your brain through the medium of language, which is
inadequate to convey qualia. But maybe if we could directly "wire"
our brains together you could feel my qualia.
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