[ExI] The digital nature of brains (was: digital simulations)

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Jan 24 01:11:19 UTC 2010

2010/1/24 Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:

> As I replied to Stathis, the simulated thermostat will not regulate temperature in a real room without adding hardware to the computer that runs the simulation. After you add that hardware you will have a real thermostat. But that new real thermostat will also defy your attempts to ignore reality: like the first it will not regulate temperature in a real room until you add something to the picture here in the real world.
> Digital simulations of non-digital objects never equal the things they simulate, except that some people here like to imagine so.

It is true that a digital simulation is not the same as the original,
but the question is whether it performs the same function as the
original. A simulated apple could taste, feel, smell like a real apple
to a person with a lot of extra equipment which I'm sure computer game
developers are working on; a simulated clock, on the other hand, can
tell time the same as a real clock without additional equipment. It
depends on what function of the original you are interested in. A
simulated brain will not be identical to a real brain but you seem to
agree that it could display the same behaviour as a real brain if we
added appropriate sensory organs and effectors. However, you make the
claim that although every other function of the brain could be
reproduced by the simulated brain the consciousness can never be
reproduced. But if that were so, it would allow for the possibility
that you are a zombie and don't realise it, which you agree is absurd.
Therefore, you MUST agree that it is impossible to reproduce all the
functions of the brain without also reproducing consciousness. It is
still open to you to claim that a computer could never reproduce human
intelligence (and therefore never reproduce human consciousness);
although there is no good reason to believe that this is the case at
least it is not self-contradictory. However, you seem remarkably
unwilling to do this even though it is the obvious way out.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list