Hi Bruno, thanks for your comments... see below.

On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> Comp requires only that you can imagine surviving with an artificial digital
> brain. Then a reasoning shows that your consciousness is "more attached" to
> all the possible 'implementations' of that digital brain in the arithmetical
> truth (or just the sigma_1 tiny part, from inside this changes nothing).
> Then, if you allow thought experiences with amnesia, you can understand that
> a non trivial form of consciousness can be attached to the universal machine
> or relatively universal number.

Isn't it reasonable that only certain kinds of 'programs' have a 1st
person consciousness? That it depends on the details of how the
'program' is constructed? I mean, the UD executes an infinity of
nonsensical algorithms that might correspond metaphorically to "rocks"
and other inanimate phenomena. Again the idea would be that it is a
particular organization (or class of organization) that is realized by
a particular universal number (or class of universal numbers) that
gives rise to the 1st person experience. If this is the case, I'm not
sure you need the (virgin) universal machine to be conscious.

> That is why the machine should not be just a virgin universal machine, but a
> Löbian machine.
> Both are virtually in all possible environments/computational histories.
> Both are conscious (I think currently), but only the Löbian one has the
> cognitive ability to introspect and to give sense to other
> machines/environment.
> So, as examples, the Robinson arithmetic theory (basically logic + laws of
> addition and multiplication) is a Turing universal machines, and thus is
> conscious, but not self-conscious. The Peano arithmetic theory, which is the
> same as Robinson + the axioms of inductions (which are very powerful) is
> self-conscious. But, without further programs/instructions, their first
> person indeterminacy bears on all state of consciousness. Our own
> consciousness is their consciousness, somehow.
> Reasonably, self-consciousness grows a lot and get much more intricate when
> meeting other selves.

To me, the abstraction implied by "without further
programs/instructions" renders the notion of self-consciousness
obsolete. What I can accept is that the Löbian machine represents the
minimum logical framework to *support* self-consciousness as
"embodied" by the relations of *particular* universal numbers...
otherwise we dilute the meaning of the term "self-conscious", which at
a bare minimum requires some kind of distinction between an embodied
self and the 'other' in which it is situated.  What would that 'other'
be? How would it interact with it?

> A rock is not a person. In fact a rock or any piece of matter is a pattern
> *we* make from a infinite sum of computational histories. That exists only
> as a stable appearances. It might eventually "contains" universal
> dovetailing, and thus, trivially, all consciousness of all persons. But the
> rock is none of those person, so it makes no sense to say that a rock is
> conscious. The same for the whole physical universe: it is a projection that
> *we*, or all Löbian machines are making. Thus, comp is quite the opposite to
> panpsychism. Only person, incarnated by relations among natural numbers (or
> combinators, java program, etc.) can be conscious or self conscious.

But couldn't you make the same argument to say that the 'virgin'
universal machine is not conscious, because it is none of those
persons in particular?

>>> In your case, we are left wondering how the
>>> consciousness of the virgin universal machine "interfaces" with
>>> specific universal numbers, and what would explain the differences in
>>> consciousness among them.
> The difference will come from their different experiences relatively to the
> different computational histories which supports them. This will entail
> different memories, personalities, characters, etc.

Sure, but I was talking less about the content of individual
consciousnesses, and more about the quality of such... e.g. what it's
like to be a bat. How would you distinguish between a creature that
(most of us believe) is conscious, like a cat, and a creature most of
us believe is not, like a bacterium?  It seems to me that if you have
an answer to that question, you have the makings of a theory of
consciousness that does not depend on the attribution of some "source
consciousness" of the virgin universal machine.

>>> That's why I favor the idea that consciousness arises from certain
>>> kinds of cybernetic (autopoeitic) organization (which is consistent
>>> with comp).
> Sure. Given that everything is defined through self-reference, comp should
> have friendly relationship with autopoiesis. Self-reference and
> self-organization is crucial for the development of consciousness and
> self-consciousness. I talked to Varela and he was aware and interested by
> the work of Judson Webb on mechanism, and very open to comp and comp's
> consequences.


>>> In fact I think it is still consistent with much of what
>>> you're saying... but it is your assertion that comp denies strong AI
>>> that implies you would find fault with that idea.
> The only fault is related to the idea that we can build an AI , *AND* give
> some proof that it is an AI. The same for an artificial brain. You need to
> do some act of faith. Most pausibly, we and nature do instinctively or
> automatically such act of faith, for example in believing in other people.
> The real question is not "can a machine think", the real question is "are
> you OK if your son or daughter decides to marry a machine?".

haha, well said... so far as that goes. But the real issue here is
your original assertion - the one I responded to initially - where you
said "Actually, comp prevents
"artificial intelligence".

But it sounds like what you really meant to say is "Actually, comp
prevents us from proving AI" which is a very different statement.

>>> I think I understand your point here with regard to consciousness -
>>> given that you're saying it's a property of the platonic 'virgin'
>>> universal machine. But if you assert that about intelligence, aren't
>>> you saying that intelligence isn't computable (i.e. comp denies strong
>>> ai)?
> Comp implies strong AI (but not vice versa: machine can think does not
> entail that only machine can think).
> Comp => STRONG AI: If I am a machine, then some machine can think (assuming
> that I can think).
> But comp denies that "we can prove that a machine can think". Of course we
> can prove that some machine has this or that competence. But for
> intelligence/consciousness, this is not possible. (Unless we are not
> machine. Some non-machine can prove that some machine are intelligent, but
> this is purely academical until we find something which is both a person and
> a non-machine).

With you here...

> I use "intelligence" is the large sense (it is close to being conscious). So
> it is related to the first person indeterminacy, which is infinite. You need
> this to stabilize consciousness, and attach it to a notion of normal
> computational history. You don't need this for one instant of intelligence,
> but you need it for two instants, so to speak.

but lost me here.

>>> That creativity is sourced in subjective indeterminacy?
> I don't think so. The universal machine is already creative, but its
> creativity needs some histories to bring stable results.
> Note that the machine can lose its creativity in some histories, like bad
> education can discourage students. But at the start, both consciousness and
> creativity are "maximal" in some way. The more we are aware of our
> universality (like Löbian machines/numbers already are), the more we can use
> our initial creativity (if society and contingencies allow it). Creativity
> might be encouraged, and some heuristics can be taught (like with de Bono),
> but creativity per se is at the heart of universality. I think that the
> Mandelbrot set is creative, and that Emil Post "creative sets" are too. That
> is why he called those set creative, and it has been proved that creativity
> in the sense of Post is just a set theoretical mathematical characterization
> of (Turing) universality or sigma_1 completeness.

To the extent I buy into your mathematical formulations of such heavy
concepts like consciousness, intelligence, and creativity, then that
makes sense to me. But I am left wondering if your logics-based
definitions are the best way to make sense of those concepts, assuming
comp of course. But I don't want to give you the wrong impression here
either, because I am deeply impressed by your thoughts on this
forum... thanks for taking the time to articulate them and to respond
to folks like myself.


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