[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 08:00:31 UTC 2007

On 3/27/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Stathis wrote
> > 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).
> <
> Yes.
> > 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.
> I'm sorry, there has been some miscommunication. I have agreed that (of
> course!)
> no aberrant thoughts would occur---that is, no new brain states.
> Now since you've admitted (at least the two of us agree!) that one might
> be 100%
> zombie at time t1, and 100% truly-having-experiences at time t2, then you
> admit that these periods could change back and forth with exceeding
> rapidity.
> That is, you might be a zombie for a thousandth of a second, and conscious
> the next thousandth.  I'm really saying no more than this.  It
> amounts---when
> averaged out---to being only fractionally "there" during some larger
> period
> of time.
> If taken to the limit, then this particular 50/50 example would mean to me
> that one state would be computed, then the next looked up, then the next
> computed and so on. Just as "being a zombie for 1 hour" and then "being
> completely conscious for 1 hour" can alternate meaningfully, then so can
> each, what?, billionth of a second.

By 50/50 I don't mean that half the frames of the simulation are computed
and half looked up, but that half the *board* (or half your brain) is
computed (or biological) and half looked up (or electronic). This 50/50
situation could continue frame after frame for hours. I suppose it isn't
impossible that the subject's consciousness is rapidly flickering during
this interval, but it seems a very ad hoc theory to me. Could you calculate
or measure the frequency of the flickering? And what about the fact that,
however short the conscious phase is, it is still occurring in the setting
of half the board being looked up?

Stathis Papaioannou
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