[ExI] Digital Consciousness

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun May 5 07:37:42 UTC 2013

I didn't notice this post when I wrote my previous one but this
already what I asked for, so here is my analysis:

On Sun, May 5, 2013 at 1:32 AM, Gordon <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I believe that if we replaced all the neurons in the NCC with digital
> implants, the victim of our evil experiment would become comatose. I think
> something is happening in those parts of the brain that correlate to
> consciousness that is not equivalent to digital processing. It's a
> biological process, perhaps electro-chemical in nature, and although we
> might be able to describe it digitally, and build digital implants using
> that description as a blueprint, the implants themselves would fail as they
> are different sort of thing than the biological processes they describe.

### This is a prediction based on your ideas about the functioning of
our mind. Excellent! A hallmark of scientific ideas is that they make
specific predictions about observed outcomes that are unlikely unless
the idea is true, and said predictions are logically derived from the
idea. This is exactly the case with your prediction.

Now we need to watch reports from the world of prosthetic science and
look for any unexpected major difficulties with prostheses that go
beyond retinal or LGN substitution. Since the progress of these
technologies is reasonably rapid, we might within the next 10 years
have experimental confirmation or refutation of your prediction.
> Just as a digital simulation of a house is not a house in which you can
> actually live, a digital simulation of the NCC is not the NCC. The map is
> not the territory when the map is intrinsically digital and the territory is
> not.

### These are not appropriate analogies. A simulation of a house does
not provide the relevant physical properties of the house (e.g. the
ability to repel water). A neural prosthesis does provide the relevant
physical properties of the tissue it substitutes for (i.e. the
properly structured trains of electrical impulses). The simulation is
a map, but the prosthesis is a copy.

> However, in answer to your question: if the subject were to behave just the
> same, that would tell me that I was wrong, that humans are digital
> computers, and that I should reconsider my philosophy. :)

### Again, this is the right spirit: You made a falsifiable, logical
prediction and you are willing to update your beliefs if the
prediction is falsified. Now we just need for the data to come in.


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