Nice. It could be heavier on support on the points, but not bad for a 
superficial pop-sci treatment.

My comments:

It’s a mistake to think of this debate in terms of having insufficient 
understanding or technology to simulate consciousness. The point is that we 
already have sufficient understanding of the problem to suspect that in 
fact, the entire assumption that private experience can be assembled by 
public bodies is false. I see this not as a point of religious sentiment, 
but of physical ontology. To presume that we could ever make a program, for 
instance, which projects an image that we can see without any physical 
projection technology would be an error. No amount of logic can turn a 
simulation of water into actual water that we can drink. To quote 
Korzybski, “The map is not the territory”, or Magritte “Ceci n’est pas une 

It seems that we have become so enamored with computation that we have lost 
this sense of discernment between figures which we use to represent and the 
genuine presentations which are experienced first hand. Figures and symbols 
are only valid within a particular mode of interpretation. What is stored 
in a computer has no aesthetic content. If you tell the computer the data 
is a picture, it will barf out onto the screen whatever noise corresponds 
to that picture. If you tell the computer to use the sound card instead, 
then it will dump the noise as acoustic vibration. The computer doesn’t 
care, either way, data is just data. It is a-signifying and generic - the 
exact opposite of conscious experience which derives its significance from 
proprietary experience through time rather than mechanical function or 
forms. Consciousness is neither form nor function, it is the participatory 
aesthetic appreciation of form and function, and I am willing to bet that 
it is actually the fundamental principle of the cosmos, upon which all 
forms and functions, all matter and energy depend.

As far as embodiment goes, the issue should be refocused so that human 
consciousness in particular is understood as a special case within the 
universal phenomenon of sensory-motor participation, which goes all the way 
down to the bottom. It’s not that mind needs a body, its that private 
awareness correlates to specific public presentations. These public 
presentations, while possible to imitate and substitute to the extent that 
the insensitivity of the perceiver permits, there is no way, from an 
absolute perspective to completely replace any experience with anything 
other than that particular experience. Unlike figures and symbols, 
experiences are rooted in the firmament of eternity. They make a certain 
kind of sense from every angle which is transparent - experiences allow us 
to triangulate meaning through them, and to elide or bridge gaps with leaps 
of understanding. (“A-ha!”).

Experiences can misrepresent each other on different levels, conflicting 
expectations can produce ‘illusions’ but these all ultimately have the 
potential to be revealed through the fullness of time. Simulated reality 
offers no such universal grounding, and promises true prisons which are 
isolated from any possibility of escape. That could happen in theory as a 
consequence of Strong AI, but it won’t in reality, because Strong AI will, 
I think, evaporate in a cloud of hype eventually, and I think that this 
very conversation is a clue that it is happening already. This is not a bad 
thing, not a cause for mourning and disappointment, but an exciting time 
when we can set aside our toy model of physics which disqualifies its model 
maker for long enough to form a new, fully integrated model of the universe 
which sees perception not as a metaphysical ‘emergent property’ but as the 
private view of physics itself. Physics is perception and participation, 
i.e. consciousness.

On Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:41:36 PM UTC-4, Stephen Paul King wrote:
> -- 
> Onward! 
> Stephen 
> I apologize in advance for the gross errors that this post 
> and all of my posts will contain. ;-) 

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