On 10/24/2012 6:59 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
If we turn the Fading Qualia argument around, what we get is a world in which Comp is
true and it is impossible to simulate cellular activity without evoking the presumed
If we wanted to test a new painkiller for instance, Comp=true means that it is
*IMPOSSIBLE* to model the activity of a human nervous system in any way, including
pencil and paper, chalkboards, conversations, cartoons, etc - IMPOSSIBLE to test the
interaction of a drug designed to treat intense pain without evoking some kind of being
who is experiencing intense pain.
That's not true because we can take advantage of what we know about pain as produced by
afferent nerves. So we can keep the signal from getting to the brain or the brain
interpreting it negatively. Just like we can say breaking your arm is painful, so if we
prevent your arm being broken you won't feel that pain.
But doesn't invalidate your larger point. One could even consider purely 'mental' states
of anguish and depression which are as bad or worse than bodily pain.
Like the fading qualia argument, the problem gets worse when we extend it by degrees.
Any model of a human nervous system, if not perfectly executed,
But how likely is it that human nervous system might be simulated accidentally by some
other system? A brain has about 10^14 synapses, so it's not going to be accidentally
modeled by billiard balls or cartoons. I would guess there are a few hundred million
computers in the world, each with a few hundred million transistors - so if properly
interconnected there should be enough switches.
could result in horrific experiences - people trapped in nightmarish QA testing loops
that are hundreds of times worse than being waterboarded. Any mathematical function in
any form, especially sophisticated functions like those that might be found in the
internet as a whole, are subject to the creation of experiences which are the equivalent
Or of having great sex (I like to be optimistic).
To avoid these possibilities, if we are to take Comp seriously, we should begin now to
create a kind of PETA for arithmetic functions. PETAF. We should halt all simulations of
neurological processes and free any existing computations from hard drives, notebooks,
and probably human brains too. Any sufficiently complex understanding of how to model
neurology stands a very real danger of summoning the corresponding number dreams or
nightmares...we could be creating the possibility of future genocides right now just by
entertaining these thoughts!
Or... what if it is Comp that is absurd instead?
Or what if we don't care? We don't care about slaughtering cattle, which are pretty smart
as computers go. We manage not to think about starving children in Africa, and they *are*
humans. And we ignore the looming disasters of oil depletion, water pollution, and global
warming which will beset humans who are our children.
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