[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 10:32:41 UTC 2007

On 3/28/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> Similarly, if computations can be self-aware, then self-aware computations
> must be lurking all around us in noise, perhaps in
> > elaborate virtual worlds, but never able to interact in any way with the
> substrate of their implementation. The only way to avoid
> > this strange idea is to say that computations can't be self-aware.
> <
> I'm surprised---aren't you basically a functionalist who supposes
> that (shortly in the future) we must expect certain robots whose
> minds consist only in the execution of computer programs   to be
> fully conscious?

Yes, that's what I think is most likely to happen, but the metaphysical
sequelae of this idea, even though they lack empirically testable
consequences, are still pretty weird. For example, if any computation could
be hiding in noise, then our world could be a simulation, perhaps an
infinitely nested one, as a result of all possible computations being run.
On the other hand, if the anti-computationalists such as Searle and Penrose
are correct, there is a real physical world, rocks don't think even
surreptitiously, and only the very special collections of matter inside
skulls can give rise to consciousness.

Stathis Papaioannou
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