[ExI] Wrestling with Embodiment

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 28 14:51:50 UTC 2012

Anders wrote:

On 27/01/2012 13:38, Ben Zaiboc wrote:
>>I don't understand this. Life is computation. Thought is computation.

>How do you *know* this?

I don't *know* this (I'm not religous), I deduce it.

>Suppose I said life and thought was electricity. I would point at cells
>and neurons having ion channels and electrical potentials essential for
>their function. 

Then I would say you are probably wrong, and point to examples of life that don't use electricity.

Then you would point out that Ah, they DO use electricity, as electrons are moving from place to place (also protons, which is another arguable definition of electricity).

Then I would say, well duh, in that case, /everything/ is electricity, not just life,  because electrons are constantly moving around.

I would argue, though, that electricity is computation.  This is just as valid, and just as true, as saying that the translation of genes into proteins is a form of computation, and the processing of information in a brain is computation.  Whenever a probability-cloud of negative charge is to be found in one place rather than another, that can be seen as the result of a computation.

I'm not saying that computation is a definition of life and thought, but that life and thought consist of computation, as do many other things.  Obviously the computation must be of a certain kind.  The movement of celestial bodies doesn't (probably) constitute life or thought, although it is a form of computation.

There are only five kinds of things (afaik):  Space, Time, Matter, Energy and Information.  Some people would reduce that to three things: Space/Time, Matter/Energy, and Information.  Computation, in its broadest sense, is the rearrangement of matter/energy in space/time, according to informational patterns.  Hence my assertion that /everything/ is computation.  Anything that is of the slightest interest is a computational machine, and possibly everything, period.

Anyway, to go back to the topic, my contribution is to observe that there is not, and cannot be, such a thing as 'disembodiment', only different-embodiments.  If you upload into a computer core and exist purely as software, you are not 'disembodied'.  The computation which is your mind is just as embodied in a computer as it is in a two-pound lump of cholesterol and water.

Ben Zaiboc

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