[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Will Steinberg steinberg.will at gmail.com
Wed Mar 11 15:33:45 UTC 2020

I think it's time for this again

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 10:41 AM, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Sense data seems like the obvious place to look for that help: the man
> in the room has no access to sense data from the outside world, so perhaps
> that explains why he cannot attach meanings to the symbols he manipulates.
> But when we look at how computers get sense data, we see that sense data
> also amounts to nothing more than meaningless patterns of 1's and 0's.
> >
> > At this point Stathis throws up his hands and proclaims that Searle
> preaches that human brains do something "magical". But that's not it at
> all. The CRA merely illustrates an ordinary mundane fact: that the human
> brain has no special place in the nature as a supposed "digital computer".
> The brain has the same ordinary non-digital status as other products of
> biological evolution, objects like livers and hearts and spleens and nuts
> and watermelons. It just happens to be one very smart melon.
> So your gripe is with the digital part of computers?  Suppose analog
> computers had become the dominant technology, would you still be
> complaining that they can't be meaningfully intelligent because
> they're merely machines lacking the quintessence that makes human
> consciousness?  (opening yourself to potshots about the requirement of
> a soul)
> Suppose I replicate the IO transformation of CR using a complex series
> of tubes and buckets filled by an eternally replenished aquifer?
> There's no digital zombie-ism to preclude intelligence, can can my
> Rube Goldberg water wheel be intelligent?  Is it conscious?
> Have you ever seen the implementation of an adding machine using
> cellular automata? (Game of Life, etc.)   It's an interesting setup
> because the CA rules have nothing at all to do with counting or the
> operation of addition - however the CA rules can still be exploited to
> do interesting and useful computation.  Neurons may be bound by
> analogous rules as the CA cells, but we still somehow exploit the
> function of groups of neurons to convince ourselves that we're
> intelligent and conscious of that belief.
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