Kory Heath wrote:
> On Nov 22, 2008, at 7:26 AM, Telmo Menezes wrote:
>> Ok, but what if consciousness is a computational process that
>> potentially depends on the entire state of the universe? Let's suppose
>> for example that quantum particles are the fundamental building
>> blocks, i.e. the hardware, and that consciousness is a computational
>> process that emerges from their interactions. We still have MEC+MAT,
>> and due to quantum entanglement, any quantum particle in the universe
>> can potentially interfere in the consciousness computation. How can
>> you store Bruno's film in such a universe?
> This is why I prefer to cast these thought experiments in terms of  
> finite cellular automata. All of the issues you mention go away. (One  
> can argue that finite cellular automata can't contain conscious  
> beings, but that's just a rejection of MEC, which we're supposed to be  
> keeping.)
> I'm not entirely sure I understand the details of Bruno's Movie-Graph  
> (yet), so I don't know if it's equivalent to the following thought  
> experiment:
> Let's say that we run a computer program that allocates a very large  
> two-dimensional array, fills it with a special Initial State (which is  
> hard-coded into the program), and then executes the rules of Conway's  
> Life on the array for a certain number of iterations. Let's say that  
> the resulting "universe" contains creatures that any garden-variety  
> mechanist would agree are fully conscious. Let's say that we run the  
> universe for at least enough iterations to allow the creatures to move  
> around, say a few things, experience a few things, etc. Finally, let's  
> say that we store the results of all of our calculations in a (much  
> larger) area of memory, so that we can look up what each bit did at  
> each tick of the clock.
> Now let's say that we "play back" the stored results of our  
> calculations, like a movie. At each tick of the clock t, we just copy  
> the bits from time t of our our stored memory into our two-dimensional  
> array. There are no Conway's Life calculations going on here. We're  
> just copying bits, one time-slice at a time, from our stored memory  
> into our original grid. It is difficult for a mechanist to argue that  
> any consciousness is happening here. It's functionally equivalent to  
> just printing out each time-slice onto a (huge) piece of paper, and  
> flipping through those pages like a picture book and watching the  
> "animated playback". It's hard for a mechanist to argue that this  
> style of flipping pages in a picture book can create consciousness.
> Now let's imagine that we compute the Conway's Life universe again -  
> we load the Initial State into the grid, and then iteratively apply  
> the Conway's Life rule to the grid. However, for some percentage of  
> the cells in the grid, instead of looking at the neighboring cells and  
> updating according to the Conway's Life rule, we instead just pull the  
> data from the lookup table that we created in the previous run.
> If we apply the Conway's Life rule to all the cells, it seems like the  
> creatures in the grid ought to be conscious. If we don't apply the  
> Life rule to any of the cells, but just pull the data from our  
> previously-created lookup table, it seems like the creatures in the  
> grid are not conscious. But if we apply the Life rule to half of the  
> cells and pull the other half from the lookup table, there will  
> (probably) be some creature in the grid who has half of the cells in  
> its brain being computed by the Life rule, and half being pulled from  
> the lookup table. What's the status of this creature's consciousness?

I don't think it's a relevant distinction.  Even when the game-of-life is 
running on the computer the adjacent cells are not physically causing the 
changes from "on" to "off" and vice versa - that function is via the program 
implemented in the computer memory and cpu.  So why should it make a difference 
whether those state changes are decided by gates in the cpu or a huge look-up 


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