[ExI] Some new angle about AI

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Jan 3 01:48:13 UTC 2010

2010/1/3 Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> --- On Fri, 1/1/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The only certain way to simulate a brain is to simulate the activity
>> of neurons at the molecular level.
> I agree with your general direction but I wonder how you know we needn't simulate them at the atomic or subatomic level. How do you know it's not turtles all the way down?

Of course, the behaviour of molecules reduces to the behaviour of
atoms and subatomic particles but the models of computational
chemistry should take this into account. We know from experiments that
some shortcuts are allowed: for example, radiolabeled biologically
active molecules seem to behave normally, indicating that we don't
always need to take into account what goes on at the nuclear level.
I'm sure there will be other shortcuts allowing modelling above the
molecular level, but what these shortcuts will be will require
experiment, comparing the model with the real thing and seeing if they

> At the end of that philosophical tunnel, the simulation of the thing finally becomes the thing it simulates. Form and matter converge.

A computer simulation, however faithful, will not be identical to the
real thing, as you have correctly pointed out before. However, this
does not mean that a simulation cannot perform a function of the real
thing. A simulated clock can tell time as well as an analogue clock.
In fact, we don't use the term "simulated clock": we say that there
are analogue clocks and digital clocks, and both clocks tell time.
Similarly, a simulated brain is not identical with a biological brain,
but it might perform the same function as a biological brain.

Stathis Papaioannou

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