On Jul 23, 9:30 pm, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Okay, but earlier you said functionally identical = materially identical.
> While certainly there are differences between brass and iron which mean they
> will not function identically in every role, in this case either can serve
> in the role of unlocking a door.  The point others have been making on this
> list is that in principal, a machine can be created which is functionally
> equivalent to other neurons, or to a group of neurons, or to the whole brain
> to the point that a person's entire repertoire of behaviors can be
> reproduced with perfect fidelity.

I understand the point, I just disagree that functional equivalence at
any arbitrary level can be assumed in a system which we have no idea
how it works. If a keyhole produced symphonies and mythology then I
would hesitate to assume that brass and iron are interchangeable, but
we have no reason to imagine that a lock does anything more than lock.
Until we can make a color appear to something that cannot see, we
don't really have any idea what we're dealing with. To me it's pretty
clear that a virtual simulation of neurology that is superimposed upon
another medium is not likely to be identical to the original.

Think of what the brain is doing as playing a card game with a
trillion players. The game is complex and amazing, but that doesn't
mean that the players can be defined exclusively by their role in the
game. If anything, neuroloplasticity suggests that neurons are able to
actively change their roles and change the game, so that a game-
centric approach to simulation is not likely to be complete. Consider
also that neurons come from the same stem cells as every other tissue,
so that genetic level considerations to identity and process are not
out of the question.

> There may be many conditions required to make something functionally
> equivalent using different materials, but this doesn't mean functional
> equivalence is not achievable.  Now ask yourself, "What functional
> properties of a hydrogen atom important to capture?"

You're reverse engineering it. Instead we should start with 'what real
world properties of hydrogen are not inevitable from the mathematics
of the number one'. These give us a hint of what cannot be modeled
quantitatively. You're right, it doesn't mean that functional
equivalence is not achievable, but it also doesn't mean that
functional equivalence is achievable inorganically or digitally.

>Do you believe it is
> possible to build a type of object such that two of these objects together
> behave and react to each other in the same ways to each other as two hydrogen
> atoms would?

I doubt it. You could certainly model their interactions to our
intellectual satisfaction, but to do everything that hydrogen does to
hydrogen, I think it would probably have to actually be hydrogen. If
you get down to it, I'm not even sure that hydrogen is identical to
hydrogen. It of course seems that way to us, as does each grain of
sand on the beach look same without close inspection, but who knows,
each atom could have scars and experiences which make it unique and
help define the Akashic integrity of the cosmos across timespace.
Conversely, maybe every hydrogen atom is in fact one timeless entity
which appears as a multiplicity to our perspective.

>  Ignore the engineering challenges and say we build these
> objects as models in a computer.  We do tests and find that these simulated
> hydrogen atoms behave (with respect to other simulated hydrogen atoms)
> identically to real hydrogen.  (Let me know if you are in agreement up to
> this point.)
> Assuming we have a perfect simulation of how hydrogen atoms behave, we build
> a giant simulation of a star,

build it out of what? virtual hydrogen algorithms running through a
silicon chip?

> and allow it to fuse some hydrogen into
> heavier elements.  Then the star goes super nova and out of its remains form
> some planets and smaller stars, and life evolves in one of these planets,
> and eventually becomes intelligent, and creates a civilization.  All of this
> is possible given a functionally equivalent model of the hydrogen atom which
> can be run in a computer.  Do you agree with this, if not please point out
> where I have gone wrong in my reasoning.

You're skipping the step where you use the simulation to make
synthetic hydrogen out of something other than hydrogen. When you try
to do that, I think you'll find that the only thing that is the same
size, mass, specific gravity, etc as hydrogen is in fact hydrogen. You
can't make synthetic water that will satisfy a plant, but any
transparent fluid or image of transparent fluid can look enough like
water for a person to treat it as a representation of water.

> You are anthropomorphizing the elements based on some personal experiences
> of yours.  Would you say uranium is unstable and has a temper, or that
> arsenic is mean spirited and murderous?  The only reason you think silicon
> is polite is that your experience with it deals with simply programmed
> computers which do what programmers tell them to do, but don't make the
> mistake of thinking silicon can only do what we tell it to do: what makes
> the difference is the programming.  It can be made to behave like any other
> finite process.

You are de-anthropomorphizing the qualities of the elements based on
some impersonal second hand knowledge of yours. Since we are made of
nothing but elements, where do you suppose that our experience
physically resides?

Silicon cannot be made to behave just like Plutonium. While I'm not
suggesting that silicon literally has an objective quality of human
politeness, I'm trying to describe why silicon's role in glass and
semiconductors implies that it is an ideal substrate for those
purposes for it's particular malleable inertness and consistency in
carrying out electronic policies with high fidelity. Carbon has an
entirely different profile of flexibility, let alone elaborate
macromolecules based on carbon. If it were the case that silicon could
be made to behave like any finite process, CGI rendering of fire,
water, faces, would probably be simple to precisely reproduce. You
know what looks great in CGI? Glass. Coincidence? Could be.

> Okay, what about the simulation of these spunky hydrophilic materials that
> existed in the simulation of the star I described above?  Do you understand
> now that within a simulation, any thing with any type of characteristic can
> be perfectly mimicked? (So long as there are no infinities)

Yellow cannot be simulated, and it is not infinite. There is nothing
that can be made to appear yellow without actually being made of
something that appears yellow to us. There's nothing that is like
yellow without being visible and yet no objective evidence that any
color could ever exist. Without our own first hand experience of
color, we could not conceive of it, model it, simulate it, or access
it in any way. Consciousness is a kind of color. Many spectra of
perceptual phenomena which cannot be modeled exterior to subjective
awareness in any way. There is however a narrow band of perceptual
phenomena which overlaps with phenomena that can be modeled and
observed externally.

> That is understandable, but I think it would be helpful for you to say: "The
> following is my hypothesis ... I believe it is true for the following
> reasons ... ".  Otherwise readers on this list may confuse your hypotheses
> with your understanding of the the world, and without explaining why you
> hold the beliefs you do it is difficult to generate useful and appropriate
> feedback.

I'm not sure that there is a difference between my hypothesis and my
understanding of the world? I try not to have any beliefs, just
observations...pattern recognitions and interpretations.


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