[extropy-chat] Role of Observer is not Relevant

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 09:51:59 UTC 2007

On 3/28/07, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 04:55:53PM +0930, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> >    A human shuffles beads on an abacus and thereby counts. The same
> If anything external is not tracking what the abacus does, then
> nobody counts nothing.
> >    sequence of bead movements is reproduced by the wind, with no-one
> >    watching. Has "counting" still occurred?
> No, of course. Until something or someone who can read the bead arrangment
> comes along, and reads the number. The counting process is an abstract
> measurement upon a particular physical system configuration. In order
> to do that, you need a) an appropriate physical system b) appropriate
> configuration c) an agent capable of that measurement. Of course, in
> some cases you can have all three in the same entity.

A simple program which counts to itself and is aware that it is counting to
itself is implemented on an abacus by the programmer. The same program is
implemented by an ignorant person following rules, and again, by fantastic
luck, by the wind blowing the beads in just the right way. Can the program
be said to have been implemented in each case? Is the program equally
self-aware in each case?

Stathis Papaioannou
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