[ExI] Is the brain a digital computer?

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 26 14:39:46 UTC 2010

--- On Fri, 2/26/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> You have no problem with the idea that an AI could behave
> like a human but you don't think it could behave like a neuron. 

The Turing test defines (weak) AI and neurons cannot take the Turing test,
so I don't know what it means to speak of an AI behaving like a neuron. 

> The task is to replace all the components of a neuron with
> artificial components so that the neuron behaves just the same. 

If and when we understand how neurons cause consciousness, we will perhaps 
have it on our power to make the kind of artificial neurons you want. 
They'll work a lot like biological neurons, and might work exactly like 
them. We might need effectively to get into the business of manufacturing 
biological neurons, rendering the distinction between artificial and 
natural meaningless. 

> Are you saying that however hard the aliens try, they
> won't be able to get the modified neuron to control
> neurotransmitter release in the same way as the original neuron? 

No, I mean that where consciousness is concerned, I don't believe digital 
computations of its causal mechanisms will do the trick. To 
understand me here, you need to understand what I wrote a few days ago 
about the acausal and observer-relative nature of computations.



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