[ExI] digital simulations, descriptions and copies

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 24 23:31:23 UTC 2010

--- On Sun, 1/24/10, Eric Messick <eric at m056832107.syzygy.com> wrote:

>> Sure looks like religion to me!
> Care to explain how?

Did you read my post of yesterday in which I wrote a story about a botanist who wrote a book describing every possible fact about a certain apple? 

A programmer translated that book from the English language into the C++ language (or into whatever his programming language of choice, mine is C++) to create a perfect digital simulation of the apple. 

The moral of the story: the programmer translated a book that describes an apple into a digital simulation that also describes the apple, illustrating that simulations of non-digital objects amount to mere *descriptions* of objects -- just books about objects. *And books about objects do not equal the objects they're about.*

To say then that a digital description of a person can actually eat and taste a description of an apple strikes me as an absurd sort of religious statement. 

> Is it:
>   Syntax can never produce semantics.


> or:
>   Software can never be part of a mind.

No. Our minds might run programs but they must also do something more to explain the facts, namely that stubborn fact of conscious understanding of symbols (semantics).

> or:
>   Mind can never be simulated.

We can simulate mind, but a simulation of it will not equal a real brain/mind. To simulate mind is to create weak AI.

> or:
>   Consciousness is not a computational process.

We can compute the brain. But because the brain does not exist as a digital object, i.e., because it does not equal (merely) a digital computer running software, we cannot make digital copies of it. Only actual copies of it (e.g. physical clones) will have consciousness. 

We can make digital simulations but not digital copies of the brain, and simulations of non-digital objects including brains lose the real properties of the originals; they amount to mere descriptions of the originals. As descriptions, they lose their first-person ontology.



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