[ExI] Do digital computers feel was Re: Is the wave function real?

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 00:36:30 UTC 2017

On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 11:03 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>

> On 31 Dec. 2016, at 2:41 pm, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 6:25 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On 30 December 2016 at 17:41, Rafal Smigrodzki <
>> rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 11:33 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <
>>> stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Here's another way to look at it. Suppose your brain contained
>>>> identical parallel circuits A and B, tied together at input and output,
>>>> which could be switched on and off independently of each other. It would be
>>>> difficult to do with biological tissue due to chaotic internal processes
>>>> but more straightforward if you consider a digital implant. Obviously, if
>>>> you switch A and B off together you will lose all the functionality of the
>>>> circuitry. But if you switch off either A or B, you will notice no change.
>>> ### Let's say the A/B circuits run all the way from a simulation of your
>>> spinal cord sensory areas, such as the substantia gelatinosa, all the way
>>> to the frontal lobe cortical areas involved in attaching an affective
>>> valence to sensory stimuli (cingulate cortex, DLPF and others). We simulate
>>> the neural processes of you being slowly burned alive, separately in
>>> circuit A and in circuit B, and route the identical output to the rest of
>>> the brain. Obviously, the other parts of the brain, involved in e.g.
>>> producing screams and generating a memory of pain, will not scream twice as
>>> loud, or remember twice the pain. Yet, a process sufficient to produce the
>>> experience of pain ran twice. Are you sure you know how much pain was
>>> actually experienced by the system as a whole (A+B+ the rest of you)?
>>> Please note that the observable results of the experiment (loud screaming)
>>> would be the same no matter whether A/B are digital or analog.
>>> As I mentioned in the initial post, I do not know. My intuitions are
>>> overtaxed by the problem.
>> If I tried either a 20% reduction in the painful stimulus I would be in
>> slightly less pain and scream slightly less, while if circuit A were
>> switched off I would feel I was in just as much pain and scream just the
>> same. So if I had a choice, I would choose the 20% reduction. If you told
>> me that I was deluded about my pain, and I was actually better off
>> switching circuit A, I would probably use some bad words telling you what
>> you could do with your advice.
> ### Obviously, other people's pain doesn't hurt much. I know that. The
> discussion is not just about the pain you remember but about the sum total
> of pain being experienced in the system under consideration.
> Rafal
> But in your example *I* am the system under consideration. And as far as
> I'm concerned, the duplicated neural circuits make no difference to the
> pain I experience. Who rather than I, the experiencer, would be in a better
> position to judge this?

### Who is this "I" you are talking about? Remember, circuits A and B are a
huge chunk of neural wetware, they contain all you need to feel pain (as
far as we can tell from fMRI scans and other sources). If you remove both,
what is left is a mind that can talk, see, hear and do math, among other
things, but cannot feel or remember pain. The human mind is largely modular
and from the existence of congenital analgesia we know you can have a more
or less normal human who cannot feel physical pain.

So again, a human mind with duplicated and independently running pain
circuitry - he clearly will not say he feels double the pain, because the
rest of him does not know that there are two pain circuits running, and the
output of the circuits is not summed. But the question for us who know he
has two pain circuits - does he as a whole feel twice the pain and just not
know it?

Does it hurt if you don't remember?

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