2009/5/1 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>:

>> That is, you can't say that the rock
>> implements one computation but not another.
> I don't think it implements any computations. I could accept some tiny
> apparition of tiny pieces of of tiny automata, but nothing big or
> sophisticated. Some very special crystals perhaps, no doubt, but those
> are, then, computer.

If your computer has to interact with the external world then that
imposes some constraints on what counts as an implementation of a
computation. But without this constraint you are free to interpret any
activity as any computation. You could pick three trees and, observing
the movement of birds on and off the trees, interpret this as  a logic
gate. Three birds land on the first tree, and that's a "zero" input.
Two birds alight from the second tree, that's a "zero" input also.
Three birds land on the third tree, that's a "one" output. A minute
later, five birds alight from the first tree, one bird lands on the
second tree and two birds land on the third tree, which is interpreted
as two "one" inputs giving a "zero" output. Looks like it might be a a
NAND gate! Not very useful, of course, but is there any reason why my
interpretation is wrong, or why the birds flying around won't give
rise to whatever consciousness is associated with the operation of the
logic gate?

Stathis Papaioannou

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