[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon Mar 26 17:15:08 UTC 2007

Russell writes

> I understand what you're saying, but I think your intuition is misleading you.
> I think this is like the problem people had with Newtonian mechanics, relativity
> and quantum mechanics, where intuition developed in one kind of situation
> gives the wrong answer in another.

Oh,  :-)  that's always possible!

> The physics analogy holds a bit further I think. There's some interesting work
> being done lately in terms of holographic models, M-theory, the physics of
> black holes, the Bekenstein information bound etc, that suggests what looks
> like local interaction in one frame of reference, is highly nonlocal in another.
> In other words, if that sort of consideration is important then we would have
> to equally claim we aren't conscious, because although the physical processes
> in our brains look direct/local from our usual perspective, in another equally
> valid frame of reference they are highly nonlocal.

Well, all that "interesting work" is itself highly speculative. I don't have much
belief yet in non-local models. When that kind of talk starts, what is to stop
us from concluding that rocks are conscious?  Or that some arbitrary patterns
of atoms in the solar system succeeding each other is not having experiences?

Even if that were in some incredibly bizarre way true, it would still have
nothing to do with the way we evolved, and how our values apply to
familiar local causal processes (e.g. *that* tiger, or *this* pussy cat, etc.)


> I think the obvious way out of this is to say that if there's a causal chain then there's a causal chain; it doesn't matter 
> whether our intuitions happen to be good at recognizing the particular shape of that chain.

> (Note that this is very different from the Swamp Man scenario where information is generated from random quantum fluctuations at 
> an improbability factor of two to the power of a zillion to one against. In that scenario, it would be reasonable to call it 
> non-causal.)

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