[ExI] Do digital computers feel?

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Thu Dec 22 02:15:48 UTC 2016

On Wed, Dec 21, 2016  Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:

> ​> ​
> Rafal and he hypothesized that if consciousness was the result of analog
> physics operating upon a real number continuum instead of discrete "chunks"
> of space-time, then neural activity, and therefore consciousness, might NOT
> be computable.
>> And IMO, this is a valid concern, since on the continuum between any two
> floating point decimal numbers of any finite precision, there exists an
> uncountably infinite number of possible values most of which are not
> computable.

​Ah Analog computers, this topic has come up before on the list, I wrote
this in 1995:

Welcome to the exciting world of analog computing. Thanks to the new Heath
​ ​
Home Study Course you can build your very own analog computer in the
privacy of your own home. Make big bucks! Amaze your friends! Be a hit at
parties! This is a true analog computer, no wimpy pseudo analog stuff here,
this baby can handle infinity.

Before we begin construction there are a few helpful hints I'd like to pass
along. Always keep your workplace neat and clean. Make sure your
​analog ​
computer is cold, as it will not operate at any finite temperature above
absolute zero. Use only analog substances and processes, never use digital
things like matter, energy, spin,
or electrical charge when you build your analog computer.

Now that we
got those minor points out of the way we can start to manufacture your
​very own ​
analog computer.

Step One: Repeal the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
Step Two:
 any infinitely accurate measuring stick you have handy and ..

​Back then the great
Marvin Minsky
​ ​was on the list and he too had something to to say about analog
computers and the people who love them :

*"people who happily assume that analog computers bring some mysterious
sort of infinite precision that cannot be simulated by a mere 64-bit
computer working with double precision floating point. I used to
use analog computers, [...]  If you were real careful, even at Room
Temperature, you could sometimes get close to 10-bit performance for brief

​> ​
> One observes that human mathematicians like Cantor and Newton were able
> comprehend and manipulate those infinities in such a way as to make them
> tractable to analysis, a feat that I haven't seen a computer yet capable of.

There are an infinite number,
in fact
an uncountable
infinite number, of maps that can be drawn on a flat square,  but only 4
colors are needed to keep all the countries on the map separate. This was
proven by a computer
​way back ​
in 1977,
 to this day nobody can prove it without a computer.

​John K Clark​
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20161221/61939dab/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list