[ExI] Do digital computers feel?

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 01:21:12 UTC 2017

On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 9:50 AM, Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com> wrote:

> They are possible, but up until now, all known physical laws are
> computable,

### What about the three-body problem?


> which is why Penrose and Hameroff have to propose a speculative
> undiscovered physics for their theory to rest upon. It is worth noting,
> that what led Penrose to his belief that the brain does incomputable things
> was his idea that halting problem does not apply to humans. Turning
> discovered the Halting problem, which was the idea that no fixed computer
> program can decide whether any other given program will complete or not.
> But it would seem this limitation applies to humans as well. $1,000,000 was
> offered to any person who could prove whether or not this simple program
> ever finishes or not, the prize was never claimed:
> Step 1: Set X = 4
> Step 2: Set R = 0
> Step 3: For each Y from 1 to X. if both Y and (X - Y) are prime, set R = 1
> Step 4: If R = 1, Set X = X + 2 and go to Step 2
> Step 5: If R = 0, print X and halt
> Given that humans appear equally limited by the halting problem, the
> entire motivation for Penrose and Hameroff to propose there exist
> undiscovered physical laws that are incomputable evaporated.

### I agree with you, and I do not say that human minds are beyond known
physics. What I am driving at, is that digital simulations and analog
computations are inherently different, and this can lead to surprises. No
matter how precise the digital simulation, it will always diverge from the
analog system. Multiple runs of digital simulations will always run exactly
the same, while multiple analog neural networks, no matter how closely
matched in the beginning, will always diverge. They may diverge in
predictable ways, or they may exhibit predictable macroscopic behavior
(outputting the letter A in my initial example) but they will definitely
differ in their microstates.

This is unmapped territory. There be dragons, or maybe mice, or perhaps
nothing at all but we don't know which one yet.

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