[ExI] Do digital computers feel?

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 18:01:36 UTC 2017

 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

> But riddle me that - if you run a good digital simulation of you being hit
> with a baseball bat a hundred times, exactly identically, does it feel pain
> a hundred times? Once? Never?
> ​ ​

​Once would be no different than a hundred times.

​> ​
> Remember, the runs are mathematically indiscernible.

​Then that can only mean neither the subject nor the experimenter can tell
if the experiment has been run once twice a hundred times or a trillion
times. If objectively it makes no difference and subjectively it makes no
difference I must conclude that it just makes no difference.  ​

​> ​
> ### I am uneasy because I imagine simple mathematical objects (i.e. things
> that can be computed and manipulated by finite digital computers) as
> existing in a part of the mathematical realm that is separate from our
> world. There is nothing breathing fire into the equations of that realm,
> and digital simulations are reducible to objects in that realm.

​Mathematics all by itself can not even calculate 2+2, if it could INTEL
would be bankrupt. To make any calculation you need matter that obeys the
laws of physics. Mathematicians keep saying mathematics is a language and I
think we should take what  they  say seriously.
Mathematics seems to be the best language for describing physics, but
language is not the thing. The English word "dog" is not a 4 legged mammal,
it's a word for a 4 legged mammal.  ​

​if ​m
​is a language then ​
like any language
​it should be able to​
 describe fictional as well as non-fictional worlds
​, perhaps much of modern very abstract mathematics is like a mathematical
Harry Potter novel. The mathematical language could also pose
 open questions about
​such worlds​
, such as "is the continuum hypothesis true?". The equivalent in English
would be "what color were Harry Potter's maternal grandfather's
​ ​

​John K Clark​
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