2009/8/25 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>:

> I think so, IF the alien brain were given the stimuli it evolved to
> interpret - otherwise the alien might just experience noise.  But, as
> I understand it, the MGA still relies on the context of some external
> physics to provide the intuition that it is realizing consciousness.
> Hypothetically, one can include more and more context within the
> simulation, but then it seems that one is creating consciousness
> relative to a new simulated physics.  It's like the conundrum of the
> rock that is conscious because it implements all computations...in
> some interpretation.

Let's say the alien brain in its initial environment produced a
certain output when it was presented with a certain input, such as a
red light. The reconstructed brain is in a different environment and
is presented with a blue light instead of a red light. To deal with
this, you alter the brain's configuration so that it produces the same
output with the blue light that it would have produced with the red
light. You do this with every stimulus it receives from the Earth
environment, so that the reconstructed alien believes it is on its
home planet, talking to its own kind. It would be a very difficult
task, but you could do it by careful observation of the original brain
and environment. The end result would be a completely different brain
in a completely different environment, related to the original by an
enormously complex mapping, which would have the same experiences as
the original. Now suppose that this mapping (which plays no part in
the actual physical process of the computation) is ad hoc, for any
given putative brain-environment system... leading to the conundrum of
conscious rocks. Which step in the preceding is wrong? Is it perhaps
that there are constraints on the proposed remapping, so that it isn't
actually possible to map any sufficiently complex physical system onto
a given finite state machine?

Stathis Papaioannou

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