On 3/8/2011 9:36 AM, 1Z wrote:

On Mar 8, 4:45 pm, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com>  wrote:
On 3/8/2011 6:21 AM, 1Z wrote:

Up to a point.  But if the faking deviated very far from perceptions of
  this world the BIV would no longer be able to process them.  We casually
  talk of "white rabbits" on this list, which are perfectly understandable
  things and are really of this world (e.g. in Walt Disney pictures).  But
  they are just tiny derivative, deviations from reality.  Even things as
  real as optical illusions become difficult to process (which is why they
  produce illusions).  If your BIV was a human brain and was provided the
  perceptions of, say, a bird it would probably be unable to process them
  - it would be as cut off as if you provided white noise.  My point is
  that human brains evolve and learn in this world and it's the only kind
  of world they can be conscious of.  You can fiddle a little with inputs
  to the BIV, but unless your inputs are just variants on this world,
  they'll mean nothing.
I think you can have gorss deviations from physics that are perfectly
easy to process
perceptually. In fact that is quite common in movie FX, games etc.
There is no
problem seeing a hovering rock.
We're using very different ideas of "gross deviations".  I'd say a
hovering rock is just a variation of this world: a variation that allows
us to identify the rock and hovering.
It's a good enough WR, especially if you see stuff that can't be
stitched into a single coherent alternative physics

I agree it's a WR. But my point was that you can't have a consciousness without a world to be conscious of. And if you create that world in a simulation or in for a BIV then either it's a familiar world, a variant of ours, or, if it's unfamiliar, you won't know whether the BIV is conscious or not because you won't know how to interpret the interactions between the BIV and simulated world.

You can simulate a world like ours for yourself, plus white rabbits, and be conscious of it. Or you can simulate a world like ours for a BIV like ours and infer its consciousness. But if you simulate a world unlike ours (really unlike, not just a variation), or a brain unlike ours, or both you have no basis for inferring consciousness. This radical uninterperability is the theme of several Stanislaw Lem's stories.

How muddled the physics would have to be in order to scramble your consciousness of it is an empirical question. Obviously computer games muddle it quite a bit without preventing your conscious perception of them. But if I created a collage of games which switched from one to the other every 0.2sec you'd probably either stop paying attention or literally lose consciousness.

"If a lion could speak we couldn't understand him."
            --- Darwin

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