On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:21 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> Rex Allen wrote:
>> On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Science advances in small steps that often depend on technology.  I think
>>> the next 'hard' question that has some chance of being answered is, what
>>> information processes are necessary and sufficient  to produce human-like
>>> conscious behavior.
>>>
>>
>> Does the word "conscious" really fit there?  So there is the question
>> of how to implement a physical system that can be interpreted as
>> producing human-like behavior.
>>
>> And then there is the further question of whether the production of
>> this behavior is accompanied by "consciousness".
>>
>> I can configure physical systems in such a way that to me it
>> represents something.  For instance I can write software to run on a
>> physical computer that produces outputs that to me represent "game
>> characters" or something.  With sufficiently clever software, I may
>> interpret the outputs of the computer to be "behavior" that is more or
>> less "human-like".
>>
>> But my interpretation may be doing all the work here.  I may be
>> deluding myself into believing that there is consciousness associated
>> with the actions of the physical system I call a computer...when in
>> fact there is no such thing there.  The appearance of "conscious
>> behavior" in the computer could be an illusion.  Probably it would be.
>
> It could be that other people are not conscious too.

Indeed.  Certainly the people that I observe around me *seem* to me to
be conscious, but I don't know that they actually are, or if they even
exist outside of my perceptions of them.

But, it seems prudent to act as though they are conscious and do exist.

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