[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Mar 28 15:39:22 UTC 2007

Stathis writes (note the great word choices here!)

> 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.

Yes they are.  And nice word there.

> 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.

I sort of reject this axiomatically.  Would crushing rocks become
a moral question?  Is my life as an organic being only .000000001%
of my existence in this room, and that the chair, table, and keyboard,
etc., are where most of my compute time takes place?  I think that
that should be thrown out forthwith.

> 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. 

I would agree with them that consciousness was hard for evolution
to develop, and that we should probably stay away from really
believing in universal dovetailers, conscious rocks, and so on.
But Penrose and Searle appear to be completely wrong on other


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