[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue Mar 27 03:39:24 UTC 2007

On 3/27/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> >  (that's a standard English word with the same meaning as "qualia") as
> his
> > neurons or squares are being replaced, so that gradual zombification is
> > impossible. This is because you can't have a half-zombie state where,
> for
> > example, half your neurons are replaced and although the whole person
> > says "yes, I can see the light" for the benefit of external observers,
> internally
> > you are thinking "I can't see the light"....
> I agree that you cannot be having different internal thoughts. Yes indeed,
> this
> would mean that a bizarre state had been reached by the subject's brain.
> Since we are just rehearsing previous deterministic runs, that would, yes,
> be quite impossible.
> As you write
> > your consciousness would have to magically drift off in a different
> direction,
> > decoupled from the physical activity presumed to be underpinning it. And
> if
> > gradual zombification by gradual replacement cannot happen, then sudden
> > total zombification when the last neuron or last square is replaced also
> cannot
> > happen, for it is absurd to think that your entire consciousness could
> be
> > sustained by one neuron or one square.
> Well, the zombification that I am talking about works quite differently.
> Suppose for a moment that I am right about states having to be
> causally connected in order for there to be information flow, and
> in order for there to be an internal experiencer.  Then it would follow
> that a sequence of looked up states could not be conscious. Then
> one would have a classic zombie.

Yes, I am supposing for the sake of argument that the completely looked up
states are 100% zombies. At the other end we have the completely computed
states which are 100% conscious (or whatever your favourite term for this is
- I think we all know what I'm referring to). In between, we have a possible
spectrum of partly computed states, ranging from (1 square looked up, the
rest computed) to (50% squares looked up, 50% computed) to (1 square
computed, the rest looked up). You've agreed that these intermediate cases
won't have intermediate levels of consciousness, hence they must all be
either fully conscious or fully zombies. But that would then mean that the
changing of a single square (or a single neuron, if we're trying to disprove
the zombies-ate-my-brain objection to cyborgisation) at either end of the
spectrum will result in sudden complete unconsciousness or sudden complete
consciousness, which seems absurd. The only position left standing - the
least absurd position, if you like - is that the looked up Life game is just
as conscious as the computed Life game, and the electronic brain is just as
conscious as the equivalent biological brain.

Stathis Papaioannou
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