On Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 5:45 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM, soulcatcher☠ <soulcatche...@gmail.com>wrote:
>> I see a red rose. You see a red rose. Is your experience of redness
>> the same as mine?
>> 1. Yes, they are identical.
>> 2. They are different as long as neural organization of our brains is
>> slightly different, but you are potentially capable of experiencing my
>> redness with some help from neurosurgeon who can shape your brain in
>> the way as mine is.
>> 3. They are different as long as some 'code' of our brains is slightly
>> different but you (and every machine) is potentially capable of
>> experiencing my redness if they somehow achieve the same 'code'.
>> 5. They are different and absolutely private - you (and anybody else,
>> be it a human or machine) don't and can't experience my redness.
>> 6. The question doesn't have any sense because ... (please elaborate)
>> 7. ...
>> What is your opinion?
>> My (naive) answer is (3). Our experiences are identical (would a
>> correct term be 'ontologically identical'?) as long as they have the
>> same symbolic representation and the symbols have the same grounding
>> in the physical world. The part about grounding is just an un-educated
>> guess,  I don't understand the subject and have only an intuitive
>> feeling that semantics (what computation is about) is important and
>> somehow determined by the physical world out there.
>> Let me explain with example. Suppose, that you:
>> 1. simulate my brain in a computer program, so we can say that this
>> program represents my brain in your symbols.
>> 2. simulate a red rose
>> 3. feed "rose data" into my simulated brain.
>> I think (more believe than think) that this simulated brain won't see
>> my redness - in fact, it won't see nothing at all cause it isn't
>> conscious.
>> But if you:
>> 1. make a robot that simulates my brain in my symbols i.e. behaves
>> (relative to the physical world) in the same ways as I do
>> 2. show a rose to the robot
>> I think that robot will experience the same redness as me.
>> Would be glad if somebody suggests something to read about 'symbols
>> grounding', semantics, etc., I have a lot of confusion here, I've
>> always thought that logic is a formal language for a 'syntactic'
>> manipulation with 'strings' that acquire meaning only in our minds.
> I have to disagree with your intuition that grounding in the physical world
> is required.  What would you say about the possibility that our whole
> universe is running in some computer?  According to your intuition:
> Physical Universe->Your Brain = Conscious
> Physical Universe->Robot Brain = Conscious
> Physical Universe->Computer Simulation->Software Brain = Not Conscious
> What would you say about this setup:
> Computer Simulation->Physical Universe->Your Brain
> That is to say, what if our physical universe were simulated in some
> alien's computer instead of being some primitive "physical" world?
> Also, what would the non-conscious software brain say if someone asked it
> what it saw?  Would the software simulation of your brain ever feel
> bewilderment over its sensations or wonder about consciousness?  Would it
> ever compose an e-mail on topics such as the redness of red or would that
> activity be impossible for the software brain fed simulated input?
> If you expect different behavior in any conceivable situation between the
> robot brain fed input from a camera, and the software brain fed input from
> the simulation, assuming the programming and input are identical, I think
> this leads to a contradiction.  Equivalent Turing machines should evolve
> identically given the same input.  Therefore there should be no case in
> which the robot would write an e-mail questioning the redness of red, but
> the software simulation would not.
> Jason

And another interesting thought experiment to think about:

What if a baby from birth was never allowed to see the real world, but
instead were given VR goggles providing a realistic interactive environment,
entirely generated from a computer simulation.  Would that infant be
unconscious of the things it saw?


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