[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon Mar 26 23:25:18 UTC 2007

Russell writes

> as you [Eugen] say, the computation in between
> will jump back and forth in a way that looks very
> strange to our eyes. If the objections raised were
> correct, that would make Hash-Life Man a mostly-
> zombie - an entity even more implausible than a
> total zombie, once you start asking what it would
> feel like if you were being run in that state. 

This "asking" that you keep wanting us to do is rather strange.

> Here's another reductio ad absurdum: suppose the
> Simulation Argument is true, and we are in fact all
> Hash-Life Men right now. Suppose furthermore the
> Simulator flips a switch to turn off the Hash Life
> optimization and change the program to straight
> linear computation.

Oh, good.  More genuine runtime for me!

> Now we've gone from being 90-something% zombies
> to being fully conscious, surely a marvellous boost.
> Do we sing in rapturous joy as the wonder of full
> consciousness floods through our minds?

Well, you know better than that!  You should know that
surely no one here is saying such a thing!

I am merely asking whether some entity is having an
experience; I start with the principle that for a man the
answer is "Yes" and for rocks and space-dust the 
answer is "No".  We also, presumably, agree that
playing back a movie provides none of the characters
any conscious experience. Neither Rick nor Humphrey
Bogart is either saddened or exhilerated at all when
reruns of Casablanca are shown.

So how can you be so *sure* that in the lookup vs.
causal computation process, the lookup process is
not akin to simply playing back a perfect 3D movie?
You must entertain the possibility that this is so, and
that if you are enjoying your life then you will equally
enjoy repeat computations, but won't enjoy or
experience at all any repeat movies of your life.

I am trying to solve a certain problem, so I'll put it
to you, then. Suppose that there are infinitely many
galaxies (so that numbers don't cramp my style here)
and that there is an ordering G1, G2, G3, G4 ...
such that between G1 and G2 lies a patch of dust
spread out over many many lightyears that is
manifestly Russell Wallace the way that he was
on October 7, at 12:00:00.000000000 seconds.
And that between G3 and G4 there is another
unmistakable image of Russell, this time 1 billionth
of a second past that same time.

Suppose that this sequence G1, G2, G3, ... extends
for the entire 5 minute interval of October 7 from
12:00:00.000000000   to  12:05:00.000000000.
So the universe is exhibiting a succession of images
of you over that five minute part of your life.  Is there
or is there not any experience taking place out there
in that sequence of patterns?


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