[ExI] Is the brain a digital computer?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Feb 28 03:05:37 UTC 2010

On 28 February 2010 03:18, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Stathis,
>> However, it doesn't matter, since the thought experiment I have been
>> discussing is designed to show something important about consciousness
> Sure, it shows that we cannot, in a given human, separate that human's consciousness from his behavior. I agree with that.
> But it does not follow that weak AI = strong AI as you've claimed, or that we should consider strong AI a feasible research project, or anything of the sort. It only seems to because of the two false assumptions I mentioned.

There is no requirement on AI researchers to make an AI by following
the structure and function of the brain. However, if they do do it
this way, as mind uploading researchers would, the resulting AI will
both behave like a human and have the consciousness of a human.

If digital computers cannot be conscious then the practical
implication for the researchers is that there will be some part of the
brain - the NCC, although they won't necessarily recognise it as such
- the behaviour of which cannot be duplicated by a digital computer.
If they are building an artificial neuron they may find, for example,
that no computer model will be able to control the timing of
neurotransmitter release in a manner analogous to the biological
neuron, with the result that if these artificial neurons are installed
in someone's brain both the person's behaviour and their experience
will deviate from normal. The researchers will then announce that it
appears the brain utilises physical processes which are NOT
COMPUTABLE, and the goal of uploading a human mind to a computer is
therefore unattainable. More generally, it would mean that there are
aspects of human intelligence that could never be replicated by a
computer program, since if the behaviour of the NCC is not computable
then the behaviour of any system affected by the NCC is also not

Stathis Papaioannou

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