Hello John,

I agree with you (almost) completely that "we" (bio-beings) are computers, except for the diminishing factor we HAVE to include into a "computer" as a machine of knowable components and capabilities, observed WITHIN our perspectives as of yesterday.

We don't need to know the detail of the constitution of the entity, once we can show that they can simulate a universal Turing machine (or any universal system).

There is a "diminushing factor" if we presuppose that whatever they do can be Turing emulated.

Bio being are universal is basically a fact.

Comp is that bio being are no more than universal. This follows from their finiteness and the inference of a level described by computable laws.

Your term "universal computer" may fit better: an infinite 'machine' with infinite capabilities/domain of which we (may) select aspects we DO know of... (That may be MY version as I understand (or don't) it.

The universal machine, computer or number are FINITE entities. To exploit fully their abilities, they need as much memory and time as possible, but they use their hopefully probable environment for doing that.

The universal machine of Turing is really the finite instruction table of a finite machine, which is capable to emulate any other machine by using their coded finite instruction tables. All machines, including the universal one, are finite by definition, I would say. Certainly the digital machines that I am studying.

The "humanized" size reduced description.
"Computer" BTW is called in other languages something like 'calculational machine' which separates it sharply from the more subtle sense of 'computing in English (I think even more in French) as closer to "mentally put together" straight from the Latin origin. The calculational aspect - I think - dates back to Babbage way before Turing.

I have an original thesis on that. Not only Babbage discovered the universal machine, but he discovered the equivalent of Church thesis, which is the key notion to understand that the universal machine is truly universal. Universality = universality with respect to computing, or any digital processes. Computing does not need to be restricted on numbers, but it happens that the natural numbers together with addition and multiplication is Turing universal, so that the numbers' restriction is an apparent restriction. Computability is the only notion immune to Cantor's diagonalization, and that gives a conceptual very deep argument for Church thesis.

GAI applies series of thoughts to 'compute' instead of numbers (sorry!) and 'meanings' are the result.

You mean genetic algorithm. I am not sure what you mean by 'compute' and by 'meaning'.

(Nevertheless I consider AI still a humanly limited art, since it starts from what we can observe and deduce and arrives at - similarly - what we can observe and deduce (even if surprised).)

We observe and introspect, then believe, and then deduce from those beliefs, until they are shown wrong. It is not a limitation of human, it is a limitation of any finite entities. That is how we can, with some luck, progress. In science it is better to assume that we are always wrong. But if we are cautious and reason validly then we can hope to be shown wrong, and to learn something, and to be a little bit less wrong tomorrow.

The "bio" - indeed one of the two science-domains we know the least of (the other is neurology/psych)

We know about nothing in physics (indeed, assuming comp, we are even putting it upside down). We know nothing in arithmetic (indeed, assuming comp, we will forever only scratch the surface) We know nothing in theology (indeed we have unwillingly abandoned it to the politics since 1500 years ago, and this has still the bizare approvment of a large part of the academy including the free-thinkers).

Let us be clear, the humans have not yet begun the game of science. We are still a long way from that.

includes infinite networks of influences, applies infinite inputs and we observe only part of them: the "perceived reality" part.

What is you theory? Why infinite inputs? What makes you believe there are infinite inputs? I can understand "infinitely many inputs", but I am not sure I follow the idea of one infinite input, except if you just mean some stream of inputs.

E.g. a cell does not end at its outer membrane and those characteristics WE apply. It reacts to wider physical domains and not-so-physical procedures as well.

I agree.

In my agnostic view I do not presume what kind of 'items' populate the infinite (beyond our models) complexity of everything (call it: existence) what kind of relations they may have what we translate in our ignorance as "our world" (call it: physical).

It is not a question of presuming, but of assuming and being as clear as possible, so that we can be shown wrong. An ideal honest scientist is agnostic and presumes nothing publicly.

We cannot even look beyond our limited models of known items/aspects of yesterday. We (conventional science) explain them all in the framework of our knowledge base (of yesterday) and improve on THAT whenever we 'get' something more to it.

That might be what life does since the beginning, or perhaps what "matter does". Why do you call that conventional science? What would be non conventional science?

Don't let yourself drag into a narrower vision just to be able to agree, please.

I drag myself into an apparently "narrower vision" just to be able to DISAGREE. With agreement, we learn nothing.

Also, some revolution can occur when you realize that some apparent "'narrower vision" appears to be less "narrow" than our human conception of it from yesterday.

For example, we know today that the universal machine (and thus also the numbers) already defeat all effective complete theories. Here a discovery of a new concept leads to an explosion of our ignorance space, so that we might try to be more humble in front of those creatures, and not to qualify their own vision, that they kindly express, as being necessarily narrow.

I say openly: I dunno (not Nobel-stuff I admit).

Nobody can tell, John. Nobody. Science is only beliefs, with serendipitous knowledge, which is never communicable as such (as being knowledge).

There is the mystical way, of course. But that's private, and you can only suggest technic (meditation, plants, prayer, contemplation, music, art, etc.) to others. It can be inspiring for doing science, and it provides data for the scientific approach of mysticism, but the mystical insight per se, nor any personal experience is (conventional) science. Science, I would say by definition, is based on publicly communicable beliefs. It is just an historical accident (the disparition of theology) which makes some media presenting science as something true, but no real scientist will ever pretend that any theory is true.


On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 12:44 PM, benjayk <benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com > wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> I only say that I do not have a perspective of being a computer.
> If you can add and multiply, or if you can play the Conway game of
> life, then you can understand that you are at least a computer.
So, then I am computer or something more capable than a computer? I have no
doubt that this is true.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> When I look
>> at myself, I see (in the center of my attention) a biological being,
>> not a
>> computer.
> Biological being are computers. If you feel to be more than a
> computer, then tell me what.
Biological beings are not computers. Obviously a biological being it is not a computer in the sense of physical computer. It is also not an abstract digital computer (even according to COMP it isn't) since a biological being
is physical and "spiritual" (meaning related to subjective conscious
experience beyond physicality and computability).
Neither physicality nor spirituality can be reduced to computations. Neither can they be derived from it. Your reasoning doesn't work (due to the reasons
I already gave and clarify below).

And no, there is no need for any evidence for some non-turing emulable
infinity in the brain. We just need non-turing emulable finite stuff in the brain, and that's already there. No one yet succeeded to emulate the brain, and we can just assume something can be substituted by an emulation if we
show that it can be.
That seems quite unlikely, since already very simple objects like a stone can't be emulated. If we simulate a stone, we just simulate our description
of it, we can't actually touch it and use it.

BTW, I am not saying this non-turing emulable stuff is some mysterious
primitive matter that actually no one can show the existence of. It is
consciousness, and you can see for yourself that it exists.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> It's harder to dinstinguish
>>>> yourself from other simulated selfes than from other biological
>>>> selves,
>>>> because of the natural biological barriers that we have, that
>>>> computers
>>>> lack.
>>> Ah?
>> I can see that I am physically/biologically seperate from you,
> You cannot see that.
Of course I can see that. We don't share the same brain and body, relatively speaking. Of course we can't be seperate in any ultimate way (even just
according to QM), but I don't say that.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> while we
>> could be both simulated on one computer, without any clear physical
>> dividing
>> barrier.
> All my point is that once we assume comp, the word "physical" can no
> more be taken as granted.
No, that's not your only point as presented by you. You say that assuming
COMP experience is related only to a measure on the computations.
You can't just assume there is only computational immaterialism and

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> You seem to *presuppose* a primary physical universe (Aristotle). I do
> not.
I don't either. Frankly I wonder why you think that, given that I have taken
a very obvious non-material standpoint in our discussions thus far.
It somehow seems like you pretend that all opinions except your own and the ones of your favorite opponents (the ones you can easily refute) do not
Honestly I am quite stupid to discuss with someone that just chooses to plainly ignore everything that doesn't fit into his own preconceived notions
of what someone that's criticizing is saying.
It is quite strange to say over and over again that I haven't studied your arguments (I have, though obviously I can't understand all the details, given how complicated they are), while you don't even bother to remember the most fundamental premise of my argumentation (non-materialism). It is like I
was saying to you: "Oh it seems to me you just presuppose that we are
material computers, that's why your argument works".
Your argument may work against materialism (I am not sure, I don't take
materialism seriously anyway - frankly materialism is a joke, since
materialist are not even capable to say what matter is supposed to be), but you don't take into account any of the alternatives that can be taken more
seriously (any sort of non-materialism).

It seems very much you presuppose a purely material or computational

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> We can only say YES if we assume there is no self-referential loop
>>>> between
>>>> my instantiation and my environment (my instantiation influences
>>>> what world
>>>> I am in, the world I am in influences my instantiation, etc...).
>>> Why? Such loops obviously exist (statistically), and the relative
>>> proportion statistics remains unchanged, when doing the substitution >>> at the right level. If such loop plays a role in consciousness, you
>>> have to enlarge the digital "generalized" brain. Or comp is wrong,
>>> 'course.
>> I think it is self-refuting if we not already take the conclusion for
>> granted (saying YES only based on the faith we are already purely
>> digital).
>> Imagine substituting our whole generalized brain (let's say the
>> milky way).
>> Then you cannot have access to the fact that the whole milky way was
>> substituted,
> In the reasoning we use the fact that you are told in advance. That
> you cannot see the difference is the comp assumption.
Ah, OK. If you can't notice you are being substituted the very statement that you are being substituted is meaningless. If I can't know or believe (based on any kind of evidence) that I am being substituted, what do we base the statement that we are being substituted on? It is as abitrary as saying
that I am the pink unicorn.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> because otherwise the whole milky way would have to appear to
>> be a computer running a simulation of the milky way, making our
>> experience
>> drastically different (which is not possible, given that our
>> experience
>> should remain invariant). But if we don't have access to the fact/
>> the way
>> that we are being substituted, it makes no sense to say YES, because
>> we
>> can't even say whether are being substituted. If a substitution is not
>> taking place subjectively, the question of saying YES becomes
>> meaningless
>> (making COMP meaningless).
> Of course not. You talk like a doctor who would provides artificial
> brain without asking the permission of the patient. Then comp entails
> that, if the doctor is choosing the right subst level, the patient
> will not see the difference. But that's part of the point.
If the patient can't see the difference, the doctor is of no help, since he will be the same after the operation as before. If his brain was damaged,
the doctor will make the computer simulate a damaged brain, what a big
So the only option that is remotely rational is to say NO (since if he says YES he has nothing to gain but much to lose), that's why saying YES is close
to meaningless. It is as meaningful as saying yes to a magician that
transforms you into a pink unicorn that will experience the same way as you

If we still say YES, we just have faith that nothing will happen, even
though it is pretty clear that something will happen. If we have that faith, we believe in abitrary mysterious occurences. You can't derive anything from that. Especially you can't derive that we surived due to the instantiation
of the right computations.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> The only way we could know we are being substituted is if there is
>> something
>> other than the milky way to communicate with (which can see we are
>> being
>> substituted).
> Yes. Like the doctor.
But we have no basis whatsoever to believe the statement of the doctor that substituted you, unless he gives you evidence that you actually DID change, and in this case your experience can't remain invariant (because you become
aware that your brain has changed).
When the doctor says he substituted you, he either lies, or believes that substitution=non-substitution, or he just asserts that he substituted the way he interfaces with you (or simulates you) - in which case we ourselves
remain unsubstituted.

If you say we take the doctor on faith, than fine, you base your whole
argument on absolute blind faith. Unfortunately then we could as well base the argument on "1+1=3" or "there are pink unicorn in my room even though I don't notice them", so it's worthless. Note, I agree it is not meaningless to say YES or NO to a substitution, just in the particular way you need it
in order for your argument.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> But then we have no reason to suspect that this other will
>> remain invariant, because from its perspective we have shifted from
>> being
>> the milky way to being a computer running a simulation of a milky
>> way, which
>> is such a big difference that it will inevitably totally change its
>> response
>> (to the point of not being the same other / the same relative world
>> anymore
>> - a a totally different interaction s taking place).
> You beg the question. Assuming comp he will say "thanks doctor,  I
> feel better now".
No, he can't say that, since, as you just wrote youself, *he can't notice the difference*. It is stupid to say thanks for a doctor that didn't change

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Or we just *believe* we are being substituted (for whatever reason)
>> and say
>> YES to that, without any evidence we actually are being substituted,
>> but
>> then we are not saying YES to an actual substitution but to the
>> conclusion
>> (I am just a digital machine that is already equal to the
>> substitution).
> Please just study the proof and tell me what you don't understand. I
> don't see the relevance of the paragraph above, nor can I see what you
> are arguing about.
I studied your proof. Of course your proof works if you assume the
conclusion at the start or assume something nonsensical (like saying YES to a substitution that doesn't subjectively happen). My point is that either you are just proving your assumption (we say YES due to a belief in our digital, that is, we say YES because we already are digitally substituted), or your proof doesn't work (because actually the patient will notice he has been substituted, that is, he didn't survive a substitution, but a change of
himself - if he survives).

I guess I will abandon the discussion, if in the next post you also don't
bother to respond to anything essential I said. Apparently you are
dogmatically insisting that everyone that criticizes your argument doesn't understand it and is wrong, and therefore you don't actually have to inspect what they are saying. If this is the case a discussion is quite futile. Up to know I just had the faith that you know better than that and will sooner
or later give an actual response, but now I am not so sure anymore.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Either way, our experience doesn't remain invariant, or we have no
>> way to
>> state we are being substituted (making COMP meaningless).
> This point is not valid. We can say "yes" for a substitution in
> advance. Then, in that case, just surviving a fatal brain illness will
> make the difference.
But you just said that this can't happen, because he himself will
subjectively remain unchanged. His fatal brain illness will still be there, because we have to include it in the substitution. Otherwise you are not substituting, you are changing him. And in this case he will "survive" as
what he changed into (even if this is just a collection of misfiring
transistors). But then we obviously don't know whether he really survives in any sense of the word, and if, in what sense he did survive (since this
depends in which way we changed him).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> How is that not a reductio ad absurdum?
>> The only situtation where COMP may be reasonable is if the
>> substitute is
>> very similar in a way beyond computational similarity - which we can
>> already
>> confirm due to digital implants working.
> The apparent success of digital implants confirms that we don't need
> to go beyond computational similarity.
It doesn't, because the surrounding neurons may make additional connections to interpret the computations that are happening. This just works as long as the neurons can make enough new connections to fill the similarity gap.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> This would make COMP work in a quite special case scenario, but
>> wrong in
>> general.
> It is hard to follow you.
I am not saying anything very complicated. It is only hard to follow because your are insisting on some theoretical situtation which is non- sensical in
If you do insists that we say YES in the way you would like us to, we either say YES to your conlusion, or we just say YES to something that doesn't
happen (which doesn't allow any conclusion to be drawn).

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