Sorry for sending my answer with some delay. I thought I send it, but the post was sleeping in my draft box. I appreciate you insist for the comment.


Here it is:

On 24 Jun 2011, at 06:37, Terren Suydam wrote:

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?

I completely agree with this. Löbian programs and universal programs are certainly very special kind of programs.

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.

I have few doubt that by assuming mechanism, Löbian programs are already conscious, and even self-conscious. Indeed they have already the rich theology with a Plotinian God and a Platonist notion of matter. Also, they can be shown maximally introspective in some technical sense. You can think of them as sort of universal baby. I certainly recognize myself in there. I have just more specific relative memories. Now, either by using amnesia based thought experiments, or by using some drug, I can give sense to consciousness without a notion of self, that is non-Löbian consciousness, which leads me to the idea that being universal might be enough for consciousness. It is not that I need them to be conscious, but that I realize they might be conscious, even if it is a form of consciousness which is out of space and time; in fact out of anything third person describable. It is a platonic form of consciousness. Löbianity just adds a self to it (A 3-self like in Bp, and a non nameable 1-self, captured by Bp & p, that is 'Bp and true(p'), but the notion of truth is not arithmetical and cannot be defined in the language of the machine). This makes sense with the classical theory of knowledge.

To be sure, I defend the idea that Löbian machine/number are conscious since more than 40 years. But the idea that a virgin (non Löbian) universal machine is already conscious has come in an attempt to explain more precisely the "mystical experience", as described by mystics (including the rationalist greek and indian mystics) and the smoker of Salvia divinorum. This is not in my PhD thesis, I cannot ask the member of the jury to smoke salvia to verify this :). But I begin to think that enlightenment might be an experience of losing Löbianity. To be Löbian would already be a sort of delusion. I have no certainty at all in that matter, to be sure. With salvia we can be led to a state of consciousness which is no more personal. To be sure, the salvia experience is even more challenging, I mean for the computationalist. Comp predicted that some special thing might happen when we die, or when we lost our body/brain, but comp predicted that such an experience was not memorizable, yet, we seem to be able to live it, when smoking salvia (and so salvia does seem to trigger some mechanism close to what might happen when dying), but, very paradoxically, we seem to be able to remember it, or parts of it, and this still does not make sense with comp, even when considered as an hallucination.

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
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?

The Löbian machine have the notion of 'other' (indeed they can see themselves as other, they can do the whole UDA thought experiments, etc. They are not human, but they have a very rich theology, including a physics like ours. The further program/instruction/experience will just differentiate them, like in duplication experiments. I illustrate how we can interview them on fundamental questions, and their discourse is very sophisticate and quite close to platonist theology.

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?

I think the virgin universal machine *is* all those persons in particular. At that level we are the same person, but in different relative contexts.

That is why I thought (before trying salvia) that the mystical experience was a return to our virgin, yet still Löbian, state. But the experiments, and the reading of reports of other experiment leads me to think that consciousness is even more primitive than I thought.

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.

The bacterium might be already conscious, but is not Löbian. Bacteria are already Turing universal (I can prove that!).
The cat is Löbian. I think.
The difference is that the bacterium has no notion of time, space, and others. But he has already a notion of good and bad, and it will try to maximize the good and avoid the bad. The cat has empathy and some notion of other beings, and in principle a notion of death. Humans have powerful hands, so they are more gifted in calculus (digits), languages, tools, and eventually modifying more and more their environment. They have develop many competence, but I am not sure they are more *intelligent* than cats and dogs. In a sense, humans are more stupid because they feel superior. They believe that God prefers them to other creatures. That is a necessarily open question, assuming comp. If we want approach "God", we have to be a bit more modest.

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


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.

OK. Sorry if I have been unclear. I said this in the context of Colin Hales paper.

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

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.

This assumes the understanding of the UD argument. Consciousness (which is a purely first person notion) is not attached to any particular instantiation of a working program, but on all such instantiation. Like in Everett QM, we (first person) do have an infinity of "bodies", which are parts of the infinitely many computations going through our state, and executed (platonically) by the UD. This is counterintuitive and even shocking, for most, but is a consequence of taking the mechanist assumption seriously enough. Don't hesitate to ask more questions. I will explain the whole UDA on a salvia forum soon.

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.

To be sure, neither truth, nor consciousness, nor any first person notions have a full third person description. What is amazing, is that such non-definability can be proved once we assume both comp and some theory of knowledge (like the classical one where knowledge obeys axiomatically to the axioms of the S4 modal logic: K(p -> q) -> (Kp -> Kq) if I know that p implies q, then if I know p, I will know q.
Kp -> p  if I know p, then p is true.
Kp -> KKp if I know p then I will know that I know p.
+ the rules of modus ponens, and necessitation (if I prove p, then I can deduce Kp). So we can get formal systems describing, at some meta level, non- formalizable notions!. This is a subtle point, and it mainly comes from Tarski theorem of the non-definability of any notion of truth sufficiently encompassing to allow self-reference.

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.

The pleasure is mine. It is always a pleasure to discuss with open minded person. Well, that is probably the reason why I like to discuss with the abstract Löbian machine to start with: not only she has none of the human prejudices, but she lacks also the deepest prejudices that all animals have develop through millions of years of life struggle (to eat or to be eaten).



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