Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
2010/1/12 Brent Meeker <>:

I know.  I'm trying to see what exactly is being assumed about the
computation being "the same".  Is it the same Platonic algorithm?   Is it
one that has the same steps as described in FORTRAN, but not those in LISP?
 Is it just one that has the same input-output?  I think these are questions
that have been bypassed in the "yes doctor" scenario.  Saying "yes" to the
doctor seems unproblematic when you think of replacing a few neurons with
artificial ones - all you care about is the input-output.  But then when you
jump to replacing a whole brain maybe you care about the FORTRAN/LISP
differences. Yet on this list there seems to be an assumption that you can
just jump to the Platonic algorithm or even a Platonic computation that's
independent of the algorithm.   Bruno pushes all this aside by referring to
"at the appropriate level" and by doing all possible algorithms.  But I'm
more interested in the question of what would I have to do to make a
conscious AI.  Also, it is the assumption of a Platonic computation that
allows one to slice it discretely into OMs.

Start by replacing neurons with artificial neurons which are driven by
a computer program and whose defining characteristic is that they copy
the I/O behaviour of biological neurons. The program has to model the
internal workings of a neuron down to a certain level. It may be that
the position and configuration of every molecule needs to be modelled,
or it may be that shortcuts such as a single parameter for the
permeability of ion channels in the cell membrane make no difference
to the final result. In any case, there are many possible programs
even if the same physical model of a neuron is used, and the same
basic program can be written in any language and implemented on any
computer: all that matters is that the artificial neuron works
properly. (As an aside, we don't need to worry about whether these
artificial neurons are zombies, since that would lead to absurd
conclusions about the nature of consciousness.) From the single neuron
we can progress to replacing the whole brain, the end result being a
computer program interacting with the outside world through sensors
and effectors. The program can be implemented in any way - any
language, any hardware - and the consciousness of the subject will
remain the same as long as the brain behaviour remains the same.

You're asserting that neuron I/O replication is the "appropriate level" to make "brain behavior" the same; and I tend to agree that would be sufficient (though perhaps not necessary). But that's preserving a particular algorithm; one more specific than the Platonic computation of its equivalence class. I suppose a Turing machine could perform the same computation, but it would perform it very differently. And I wonder how the Turing machine would manage perception. The organs of perception would have their responses digitized into bit strings and these would be written to the TM on different tapes? I think this illustrates my point that, while preservation of consciousness under the digital neuron substitution seems plausible, there is still another leap in substituting an abstract computation for the digital neurons.

Also, such an AI brain would not permit slicing the computations into arbitrarily short time periods because there is communication time involved and neurons run asynchronously.

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