[ExI] Do digital computers feel?

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Fri Dec 23 04:44:38 UTC 2016

Hi Stathis,

Hmmm, I'm having troubles understanding what you are saying.  You seem 
to be not understanding what I am trying to say as in no place did I 
intend to say that any functionally equivalent neurons would behave 
differently when they were receiving the same inputs.  I am only saying 
that IF the entire comparison systems was one neuron (it would at least 
have to have input from all voxal element representing neurons - at the 
same time, so it could know how they all compared to one another, all at 
the same time.) And if this was the case, and if you swapped this entire 
awareness of it all neuron - only then could you swap all the glutamate 
producing representations of the strawberry with positive voltage 
representations of the strawberry - just as the neural substitution 
argument stipulates is required to get the same functionality.  Only 
then would it behave the same.  If only any sub part of the comparison 
system was substituted, it would not be able to function the same.  The 
way it would fail would be different, depending on the type of binding 
system used.  A real glutamate sensor will only say all the surface 
voxels of the strawberry are all glutimate when it is all represented 
with real physical glutamate and a comparison system will only say all 
the positive voltages (again representing the same strawberry) are the 
same "red" if it knows how to interpret all it's physically different 
representations of "red" as if they were red.

I think the problem is, whenever you are replacing discrete individual 
small neurons, there is no easy way for it to be aware of whether they 
are all qualitatively alike, all at the same time.  If you give to me 
any example of some mechanical way that a system can know how to compare 
(or better - be aware of) the quality of all the physical 
representations at the same time (I'm doing this by making the entire 
system be one large neuron) it will be obvious how the neural 
substitution will fail to function the same.  If the entire comparison 
system is one neuron, when it, along with all glutamate is replaced by 
positive voltages, - there would be no failure and it would behave the 
same - as demanded by the substitution argument.


On 12/22/2016 8:25 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 23 Dec. 2016, at 1:39 pm, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com 
> <mailto:brent.allsop at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> I tried to explain that it wouldn't be identical behavior, until the 
>> entire substitution.
> I think the issue is, as James Charles has also pointed out, that you 
> contradict yourself by allowing that the artificial neurone will 
> interact with the the other neurones normally (which is of course 
> crucial to the experiment) but then saying that the other neurones 
> will behave differently. How could the other neurones possibly behave 
> differently, if they are receiving the same inputs they would normally 
> receive?
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