Bruno Marchal wrote: > On 20 Apr 2009, at 14:50, Brent Meeker wrote: > > >> Jason Resch wrote: >> >>> I think in regards to conscious, you can't have one without the >>> other. >>> Both information and computation are needed, as the computation >>> imparts meaning to the information, and the information accumulates >>> meaning making each computation and its result more meaningful. >>> >>> If I sent you an arbitrary binary string, it would have no meaning >>> unless you either knew in advance how to interpret it or how it was >>> produced. Either interpretation or understanding of how it was >>> produced can be described with computer programs, but without that >>> foreknowledge the binary string is meaningless because there would be >>> an infinite number of ways to interpret that string. >>> >>> To understand how information "accumulates" through successive a >>> computations, consider how today's most common processors can only >>> consider 32-bit numbers at a time, yet like any Turing machine they >>> are nonetheless capable of performing any computation, including >>> those >>> involving numbers much larger than can be expressed in 32-bits. >>> >>> Consider what the neurons do (at least artificial ones), essentially >>> they only multiply and add (multiply the strength of a received >>> signal >>> by the connection strength, then sum the received signals to >>> determine >>> if they met the threshold to fire). At a low level the additions >>> might correspond to the intensity of one color for one pixel in a >>> visual field, say the brightness of red. Another neuron might then >>> sum the intensities of red, green, and blue colors to arrive at a >>> color for that pixel, while another one aggregates a collection of >>> those results into a field of colors. Finally this field of colors >>> might be processed by an object identification part of the neural >>> network to identify objects. Whether or not an object is identified >>> as a cat or a dog, might ultimately be determined by the firing of >>> just one neuron, yet at every stage the same basic computation is >>> done >>> (multiplication and addition). The only difference is the >>> consequence >>> of the computation at each stage; how it is ultimately interpreted by >>> the next level. >>> >>> So the question comes down to where does the consciousness lie: >>> during >>> the computation of information, the computed result, or in the >>> computations upon the computed results. Maybe it requires a loop of >>> such hierarchies as Douglas Hofstadter suggests. I don't have an >>> answer but it is something I too wonder about. >>> >>> Jason >>> >>> >> I think "meaning" ultimately must be grounded in action. That's why >> it's hard to see where the meaning lies in a computation, something >> that >> is just the manipulation of strings. People tend to say the meaning >> is >> in the interpretation, noting that the same string of 1s and 0s can >> have >> different interpretations. But what constitutes interpretation? I >> think it is interaction with the world. If you say, "What's a cat?" >> and I point and say, "That." then I've interpreted "cat" (perhaps >> wrongly if I point to a dog). >> > > A computation is a sequence of numbers (or of strings, or of > combinators, etc.) as resulting by an interpretation. For such an > interpretation, you don't need a "world", only an "interpreter" that > is a universal system, like elementary arithmetic for example.

You put scare quotes around "interpreter". I don't see how arithmetic is an interpreter - isn't it an interpretation (of Peano's axioms)? And how does arithmetic avoid the problem of arbitrarily many mappings, as raised by Stathis? Brent --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---