[ExI] Fwd: Fwd: Chalmers

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Sat Dec 21 17:00:13 UTC 2019

Thanks for this version, Stathis.  I think I can better understand and work
with this.

I think the problem is you are only talking about functionality.  There
must also be something in the system that instantiates the data coming from
the senses.  There must be something, physical, that is the knowledge that
will control whether we want to pick the strawberry or not.  In an abstract
system there is a dictionary that maps a 1 to both the word “red” (what to
say) and “ripe” (the strawberries to pick).  The what to pick functionality
is driven or specified, based on these dictionaries.

In the glutamate version of the system, there must be a dictionary that
maps the glutamate to the 1.  And in order for the physically different
hardware instantiation to work, this dictionary must be changed to map
glycine to 1 – so the system that knows we want to pick the 1 strawberries
(as John was saying) can work, in a substrate independent way.

Again, we on the other hand, run directly on physical qualities.  In other
words, we don’t have the additional abstraction dictionary from glutamate
to 1.  We instead map glutamate directly to “red” and “that’s the one we
pick”.  So, in order for the functionally different robot to be able to
pick the right strawberry and say it is red, both these dictionaries need
to change when the physics of knowledge change.  It is now glycine that we
interpret as the strawberry to pick, where  as the former version definned
glutamate to be knowledge of the ones to pick.

You are describing two systems that are functionally the same but
physically different.  That is just another way to say “3 robots that are
functionally the same but qualitatively different.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Dec 20, 2019 at 5:25 PM
Subject: Re: [ExI] Fwd: Chalmers
To: Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>

Here is another, more physiological thought experiment. I notice that some
neurons, when triggered, release glutamate into the synapse connecting them
with other neurons. The downstream neurons have glutamate receptors, which
detect the glutamate and then trigger an action potential. I have no idea
what the purpose of any of this is, but I do have very advanced molecular
manipulation techniques. I decide to alter all the glutamate secreting
neurons so that they secrete glycine instead, and all the glutamate
detecting neurons do that they have glycine receptors instead which trigger
an action potential in the presence of glycine. Given this change, do you
see that the brain will behave the same? Do you still think that the qualia
might be different despite the brain behaving the same?

> --
Stathis Papaioannou
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