[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 21 10:57:34 UTC 2007

On Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 08:57:48PM +1100, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>    Computationalism implies that a stream of consciousness survives
>    fragmentation of the process generating the stream. If it did not,
>    then there would be some change in experience as a result of
>    fragmentation. For example, if an experience supervenes on past

I don't know what computationalism is, so I take that as a definition.

Computationalism means that the trajectory sequence doesn't matter.

The immediate objection: which process produces the trajectory slices
which are out of sequence, but belong to the same trajectory?
Enumeration only works for trivial state space sizes. Computing
shortcuts are available only for some trivial systems, so you have
to compute the trajectory in sequence, which defies the purpose
of assembling the trajectory out of sequence. 

How do you verify the subjective experience? The only way to do that would to
access the trajectory frames, which requires information about
the sequence of trajectory frames.

See, there's a giant can of worms implied.

>    computational states as well as on the present instantaneous state,
>    then arbitrarily slicing up the computation will change and perhaps

How would you "arbitrarily slice up the computation"?

>    completely disrupt the stream of consciousness. Consider a time
>    interval t1t2t3 in which a simulated subject perceives a light
>    stimulus (t1, t2, t3 are according to the clock within the
>    simulation). The light is shone into his eyes at t1, and he presses a
>    button at t3 to indicate that he has seen it. Now, suppose that the
>    computation is cut at t2, so that the interval t1t2 is run several
>    real time days before t2t3, or several days after, or not at all. Then
>    since the experience during t2t3 is dependent not only on the
>    computational activity going on in that interval, but also on what has
>    gone on before, perhaps by excising t1t2 from its normal position in
>    relation to t2t3 the subject will not perceive the stimulus, or not
>    perceive it in time to press the button at t3. But that would mean the
>    same computation (and same physical activity in the computer
>    generating the computation) in t2t3 would in one case result in the
>    subject pressing the button and in the other case not, which is absurd
>    if computationalism is correct. Hence, the only reasonable way to look
>    at it is to say that consciousness supervenes on the instantaneous

You keep using that word. Nobody but you knows that that word means.

>    computational state (or more simply, consciousness *is* the
>    instantaneous computational state), which makes it impossible to know
>    from the inside whether your computation has been fragmented.

You still haven't replied how to verify the subjective experience of a
Hash Life observer in a observer/virtual world implemented in the Life
CA. Verify as: measure.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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