I believe in the past there had been some debate as to whether the
strings of data representative of a universe or of an observer's mind
are enough to create consciousness or whether it is the act of
computation that creates observer moments. Recently I had a thought
that both are required together for the following reason:
A given piece of data can represent an infinite number of different
things depending on the software that interprets it. What may be an
mp3 file to one program may look like snow to an image editor.
Therefore a bit-string only has meaning in the context of the program
operating upon it, without a corresponding program (i.e. physical
laws) associated with a state (state of the universe or observer's
mind) there is no consciousness. This means that a simple program
counting to infinity, although iterating over every possible bit-
string would not create universes or self-aware-substructures as the
software is too simplistic and the "meaning" of any one state is just
a counter's value.
Instead something like the Universal Dovetailer is required, in which
the states created have different meanings depending on program to
which it belongs. In some programs, states may be interrelated to
produce illusions of time to observers, observers exist in interactive
environments, etc. In other words an OM requires more than the data
describing the mind, it requires a specification of a state machine
and the state which corresponds to the OM.
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