On Aug 16, 9:59 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 11:09 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>
> > On Aug 16, 1:49 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> The I/O interface could involve neurotransmitters which are
> >> synthesised and released when the artificial neuron sees the
> >> appropriate voltage, and an enzyme which mops up the released
> >> neurotransmitter.
> > Right. Not really an emulation of the function of a neuron, just an
> > emulation of how that function is controlled. An automated kitchen
> > which produces real meals from real groceries as opposed to artificial
> > meals from quantitative theoretical groceries.
> A computer needs I/O devices such as keyboards and screens if it is to
> interact with its environment.
No, it doesn't. We need keyboards and screens if We are to interact
with a computer. The computer already does interact with it's own
environment. It's input is electric current and it's output is
magnetic changes to semiconductors and heat.
> >> The internals could be completely different: a
> >> computer modelling the biochemistry of a neuron and controlling a
> >> chemical factory.
> > An automated kitchen with artificial cooks making real meals from real
> > groceries.
> >>Another way to handle the interface would be not to
> >> use neurotransmitters but to directly connect to the neighboring
> >> neurons and control their membrane potentials, mimicking the
> >> depolarisation/depolarisation cycle.
> > A pharmacy which distributes appetite suppressants as meal
> > substitutes.
> >> If done that way there may have
> >> to be further signals to the postsynaptic neuron as the
> >> neurotransmitter may have an effect on regulating the number of
> >> surface receptors and hence to sensitivity to future stimulation. It
> >> would be difficult getting it exactly right, but there is no problem
> >> *in principle*.
> > Each of those theoretical options would be orders of magnitude more
> > difficult to achieve and equally tremendously likely to fail compared
> > with replication.
> Why? It could be more robust. The biological brain eventually fails
> after a century or so in use.
I mean fail as far as achieving something capable of feeling human,
not just life of service.
> > There is still no evidence to suggest that the final
> > product would be experienced by the neuron or the brain made of such
> > neurons as something like human awareness.
> If it doesn't then that would allow for the possibility of partial
> zombies, which means you could be one now and not know it, which means
> being a partial zombie (if coherent) is not distinguishable from full
> consciousness and not a problem.
I am a partial zombie now, and so are you, and yes, you don't know it.
Unless you are actively experiencing every possible experience that
you can at the same time, you are only partially aware. A brain made
of artificial neurons would likely be able to experience something,
but not what a natural neuron brain would experience, because its not
the same thing. It's not a problem because when it is time to
experience other kinds of awareness than we do at the moment, we can,
but the silicon brain likely cannot.
> > I'm not talking about computation, I'm talking about the implications
> > of biological realities of the nervous system. It does you no good to
> > compute the amount of plaque building up in your arteries if your
> > computation has no way to remove it. You would have to have the
> > machine itself pretend to die and then fool the glia into thinking
> > they already cleaned it up. It's just dumber and dumber.
> But if it is possible to compute when a neuron will fire
In some cases it is, in some cases it is not possible. If the neuron
is involved in initiating shivering, then you can compute that it will
fire in relation to skin temperature. If it is involved instead with
changing your opinion about the simplicity of neuroscientific
simulation, then there is no way to predict that.
> that would
> allow the creation of an artificial neural network which would drive
> other neurons and muscles in the same way as a biological neural
> network would. It would be like any other artificial body part which a
> person might have and not notice.
If that were true, there would be no distinction between voluntary and
involuntary movements or consciousness and unconsciousness. You are
making sense a kind of nonsense, and consciousness a kind of
unconsciousness - which of course is precisely inverted of what we
must realize is true.
> >> > If the former case is true, the replacement cell body may not be able
> >> > to produce the organic sense required to modulate the functions of the
> >> > cell in it's native improvisational mode so that it will neither fool
> >> > surrounding tissues nor perform the critical experiential function in
> >> > between inputs and outputs which would form the meat of perception and
> >> > awareness. If the latter case is true, there is no way to tell whether
> >> > the metaphysical requirements form instantiating high level awareness
> >> > could be satisfied by the design of the replacement. The exact
> >> > mechanism by which dumb I/Os are translated into nonphysical emergent
> >> > properties would have to be fully understood in order to accomplish
> >> > substitution by engineering.
> >> Do you understand this:
> >> (a) everything in the universe follows physical laws;
> >> (b) these physical laws are computable
> > I understand that you believe that, but I think the worldview that
> > understanding arises from is obsolete.
> > Because we have qualitative experiences which are not reducible to
> > computation, and that is an undeniable fact with epistemological
> > validity equal to or exceeding that of physics, either:
> > (a) Not all physical laws are completely computable or
> > (b) our qualitative experiences are not physical or
> > (c) The terms 'computable' and 'physical' are meaningless because they
> > include everything.
> > I choose (a). Obviously our experiences of qualia like yellow and pain
> > are not meaningfully computable, and would have no conceivable place
> > in a cosmos that was purely computational.
> I'm not asking if qualia are computable, only if the observable
> behaviour of matter is computable.
Huh? I observe qualia and qualia are the only possible way of
You said "(a) everything in the universe follows physical laws;"
This means to me that you are excluding qualia from the universe or
you are saying that physical laws include qualia. Which is it?
> That means it would be possible to
> model on a computer what the behaviour of a collection of matter will
> be over time, given initial conditions. For a billiard ball that would
> be easy, for a weather system or human more difficult, but possible.
It's just circular reasoning. You're defining matter's behavior as a
priori purely computable. You're assuming that matter exists and
nothing else does rather than seeing that matter and perception are a
continuum which is deterministic on one end and voluntarily
participatory on the other.
> >> So you are saying either that cells disobey the laws of physics or
> >> that there are certain laws of physics that are non-computable, but
> >> that only you know about them.
> > I suspect that fully half of the laws of physics are unknown and non-
> > computable. They may be understandable though, through metaphor and
> > direct experience. These consequences of these laws are known by
> > everything that has awareness, which may be every physical phenomenon
> > to some extent or another. I'm not saying that I 'know about them' or
> > that 'Only I know about them' at all, I'm only pointing to their
> > existence as the possible solution to the mind-body problem, quantum
> > uncertainty, cosmology, and the crisis of post-modernity.
> Strictly speaking, quantum randomness is uncomputable, but a random
> process can be modelled by a pseudorandom process,
Like a brick can be modeled by a painting of a brick. It's not really
a painting of a brick, it's just a painting that looks like what we
see of a brick with our eyes from a single static perspective.
Objectively speaking, there is no such thing as a model. We model with
things but the things themselves are not modeled. Like awareness,
feeling, thought, and experience, fire, or flight, randomness cannot
be modeled, it can only be replicated.
> or else a true
> source of randomness such as radioactive decay can be used.
That's backwards too. Radioactive decay isn't a source of
'randomness', randomness is just our understanding of a category of
processes which includes radioactive decay. Randomness doesn't exist
as a concrete, independent entity in the cosmos.
> Also, real
> numbers are not in general computable, so if the world is continuous
> rather than discrete it would not be computable; however, every
> physical process will have a level of engineering tolerance, so
> infinite precision arithmetic would not be required and for practical
> purposes the world would still be computable. Any other ideas as to
> what could be uncomputable?
It's not a matter of precision, it's a matter of trying to make up out
of a complex configuration of down. It's futile by definition.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at