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Old 28th February 2012, 08:34 PM   #2041
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Well, that's over my head on the tech side.

Can you drill down for me?
Adding processors does not add functionality. Computable is computable.

Anything that a 100 billion processor brain can do, a single processor brain can also do (given enough memory and time). Emulating the behavior of a 100 billion processor brain where all the processors are running on the same clock and where communication happens in a known and determinable number of clock cycles is straightforward on a single processor system.

If the processors all have different clocks that are not synchronized, then it becomes more complicated, since to accurately reproduce the multi-processor brain you would need to compute the state at a small fraction of one cycle of the fastest clock, and that fraction may never be small enough to duplicate the behavior exactly (or it may be, depending on the true nature of time). But that only matters if you want an exact clone. As the size of the time slice used decreases, you will soon get to "close enough".

Last edited by Modified; 28th February 2012 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 28th February 2012, 08:39 PM   #2042
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Certain instances of changes in the number of a group can be described as addition. That's real addition.
Certain instances?
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Old 28th February 2012, 08:48 PM   #2043
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Uh huh.

And what about replacing my whole truck with something else that does exactly what my truck does?
False analogy, begging the question.
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Old 28th February 2012, 08:57 PM   #2044
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
This is the bit that you have not been getting, which is keeping you from understanding that a simulated person cannot become really conscious.
So, Piggy, just to be clear. You're claiming that a simulated person cannot become really conscious, because a simulation is lacking an interpreter? (Apparently that's the thing you're claiming I don't understand, right? That everything is just a "physical computation" until it's assigned meaning by an interpreter?)

How, pray tell, does an interpreter work?

ETA: I don't need a full explanation of how an interpreter does work--just some sort of idea. You seemed to have ruled out how it could possibly work given the above description.

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Old 28th February 2012, 09:26 PM   #2045
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
OK, I see what you're saying, but calling every event in the universe a calculation is a hopeless obfuscation in this context. I'm not going to play that game.
I can't see any way that it makes sense to consider two dogs and three dogs as addition, and not consider any other quantities in the same way. As usual, it's a matter of finding a definition that works.
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Old 28th February 2012, 10:02 PM   #2046
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Sorry, I don't know why I didn't see it....



I'm not claiming that an informational overlay contributes to causality.

I'm observing that it doesn't.

If it did, it would muck things up. It's possible to do that, you know. If the parts (for instance, research subjects) do incorporate the informational overlay (for example, come to find out exactly what's being measured) then you've introduced such a causality, and it can complicate things to the point of having to scrap it all.

I agree with you that O(A)->O(B) in both systems, or else it's not a simulation.

But it's important to keep in mind that we're talking about discreet systems, one of which might be purely imaginary to begin with (if you're simulating a fantasy world, for instance) or in other words a state of someone's brain.

We can think of these two systems as a pair of identical twins, Pete and Repeat, and Repeat has been trained to behave exactly like Pete, even when they're apart.

As long as Pete doesn't go through anything that changes the way he acts, we'll be able to look at Repeat and know what Pete is doing.

But let's take a look at that claim.

On the surface, it seems like we're claiming a real connection between Pete and Repeat. But this doesn't exist. Pete and Repeat are each behaving according to their own physics, they've just been set off into similar patterns.

The real connection is in my brain, which knows that Repeat and Pete are behaving in sync in one of many possible ways, and that therefore I can look at Repeat and know something about Pete.

And I do mean real. It exists as a physical shape in my brain.

In fact, this is what enables me to look at Pete and Repeat and conclude that something's gone wrong with Repeat's behavior.

But without that bit of knowledge that can only exist in the brain of the programmer and user -- which is to say, the knowledge that Repeat is supposed to act like Pete, and not the other way around, or that it's all just a freakish coincidence, or that they're both acting like someone else -- then the similarities between certain aspects of these 2 systems isn't anything but that.

This is why Repeat (or anything else) can only be an information processor if used as one, not by virtue of physical design. "Info processor" is an imaginary rather than real class of object, which means it's one if people intend it to be one or use it as one.

So we're right back to the brain of the programmer and user. That's the only location of the connection between the two systems which makes one a simulation of the other.
Just wanted to say - I agree with the above, almost word for word. Even if nobody* else does.


*FSVO nobody
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Old 28th February 2012, 10:21 PM   #2047
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
So you agree with me that the correspondence must exist in the mind of an observer.

Thank you.
That was never in question.

You claimed that an observer would NOT be able to look at the physical hardware of the computer and determine that addition was taking place.

That claim is simply wrong, and you made it because you know nothing about digital logic.
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Old 28th February 2012, 10:25 PM   #2048
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Yeah, the voltage changes are as real as the neural firings.

But the similarity between these changes is only significant if you know that one is supposed to symbolize the other.

That's so important, it bears repeating:

The similarity between these changes is only significant if you know that one is supposed to symbolize the other.
Not so fast, turbo.

First, you need to explain why the neural firings themselves are significant. Because if they aren't then any similarity with voltage changes in the hardware won't be significant either.

Why are those neural firings significant, piggy?
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Old 28th February 2012, 10:45 PM   #2049
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
You aren't distinguishing between physical and symbolic computations, which at this stage of the conversation is necessary. (Well, it always is, really, but especially now.)
There's no such thing as a symbolic computation that is not a physical computation.
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Old 28th February 2012, 11:44 PM   #2050
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
There's no such thing as a symbolic computation that is not a physical computation.


Study digital signal processing (DSP) and you will see that the statement you made is wrong.

When I represent an analog (infinitely varying) signal of +/-50 Volts in 0 to 3.3 V based silicon chips and then proceed to compute a gain of 20x to make it +/-1000V in a system that is STILL 0 to 3.3V based silicon and then I filter the signal on the basis of some Transfer Function where I remove some of its Sine wave components or enhance others and then I end up with a Fourier Series equation of the representation of the combination of harmonics as a mathematical formula representing the +/-1000V wave function in a 0 to 3.3V system.......then I am doing a myriad of SYMBOLIC COMPUTATION.

The reason is that I have just added and subtracted and convoluted frequencies and signals of thousands of volts in a system of 3.3V and there were no actual signals of these frequencies or volts anywhere to be seen except as SYMBOLS in a computer.

When later I convert these SYMBOLIC calculations to real values using a DAC the output is only real because the DAC circuitry ACTUALLY DID output +/-1000V signal with the required frequencies and if it could not do so there would never have been a signal.

Yet the SYMBOLIC representation of the signals was real for me the ENGINEER during my R&D stages of the process when I looked at the SYMBOLIC output on the screen of all the graphs representing the signals on a SIMULATED oscilloscope.

All that computation going on using DISCRETE 3.3V and 0V combinations in registers in a CPU was used to SYMBOLIZE COMPUTATIONS on continuous analog infinitely variable voltage levels of -1000V to 1000V and the symbols could only become real physical signals in a real system that is capable of handling analog +/-1000V signals.
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Old 28th February 2012, 11:55 PM   #2051
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Study digital signal processing (DSP) and you will see that the statement you made is wrong.
For an explanation of how you performed a symbolic computation without performing a physical computation, you sure did include a lot of physical computation.

What was I wrong about exactly? Did you perform a physical computation or no? If so, your example is not a counterexample. If not, I'm missing how you successfully performed your symbolic computation without using a physical computation in your description.

Perhaps you're just misunderstanding what I claimed and why I claimed it. Reread the claim.

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Old 29th February 2012, 12:05 AM   #2052
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
For describing something that is not physically happening, you sure are appealing to a lot of physics.


Yes.... just like when I simulate a space station orbiting the Earth.

In the simulation there is a LOT of physics that is not actually happening in the physical world.

A simulated space station is not a space station.....and the symbolic calculation representing the orbital mechanics of the real station are just that ... SYMBOLIC.
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Old 29th February 2012, 12:16 AM   #2053
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
Perhaps you're just misunderstanding what I claimed and why I claimed it. Reread the claim.


Well.... if you mean that we cannot add or multiply unless we use some physical medium (e.g. our FINGERS)..... then you are right.

We cannot since we and everything around us including our brains that would eventually decipher the meaning are physical. There is nothing that is not physical.

Even when we do math “in our heads” it is a physical calculation.

But doing operations on actual physical 1000V signals is not the same physical operation as on a 3.3V on/off discrete digitization of the REPRESENTATION of the 1000V signal.

And in regards to the subject at hand..... this symbolic computation would never be the real thing as the actual physical computation of convoluting the signals in physical components that actually have the thousands of volts and frequencies surging through their molecules and electrons.
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Old 29th February 2012, 12:48 AM   #2054
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
But doing operations on actual physical 1000V signals is not the same physical operation as on a 3.3V on/off discrete digitization of the REPRESENTATION of the 1000V signal.
Right. But I have no clue why you want someone to study DSP's in order to reach this conclusion--it's already obvious.

However, there are two possibilities with your simulation (as well as more, but I'll just focus on the two). One possibility is that your simulation using 3.3V told you about the 1000V system. The other is that it did not.

Keeping in mind that both the 3.3V system and the 1000V system are physical systems, the issue is not whether the 3.3V system is "real" or not. It is indeed real, in both of the possible cases above.

The issue, instead, is how well the 3.3V physical system's behaviors correlates to the 1000V physical system's behaviors given a particular mapping. In this case, it seemed to correlate perfectly well for your purposes, which means that any of the entities in the physical 3.3V system along with the transformations you performed on them probably mapped correctly to the entities in the 1000V system and the transformations they should have correlated to (it's still possible that the 1000V system worked perfectly, and your simulation didn't map to it, but you just lucked up). In this case, the behavior of the corresponding entities in the 3.3V system would have been the same as the behavior of the entities in the 1000V system.

That's not to say that the 3.3V system's entities actually were the 1000V entities. They just behaved in the same way, using a similarity metric limited to the scope of the simulation (namely, the mapping from the 3.3V system to the 1000V system).

There are multiple reasons why I want to use this language. One reason is that we have one "side" of this debate that is fundamentally misunderstanding, and misrepresenting, and even going so far as to refuse to acknowledge when corrected, what the other "side" of the debate is really saying. Another reason is that we have this silly continual artificial yet meaningless division between "real" and "imaginary" things, "subjective" and "objective" things, and so on, which supposedly are supposed to clear something up.

But we're winding up floating further and further away, as if our brains have a special property nothing else has, which is the ability to have "imaginary" things that are not "physical", the ability to "interpret" which "objective" things cannot possibly have since they could be interpreted infinitely number of ways (and physics is only made of "objective" things), and so on. By all rights, then, if I take this to its logical extreme, we shouldn't be able to imagine, we shouldn't have subjective views, and we shouldn't be able to mean anything when we make claims--much less run a simulation that's supposed to be about a system--because, we're physical! Ergo, we're objective. Ergo, we just don't have the stuff to generate these things.

But we do.

So someone's wrong.

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Old 29th February 2012, 01:06 AM   #2055
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
OK, I see what you're saying, but calling every event in the universe a calculation is a hopeless obfuscation in this context. I'm not going to play that game.

I chose it for it's complexity


Well that's why it's a thought experiment - we don't have to worry about all the practical difficulties. But just for fun, the box doesn't have sit inside the skull - it can be arbitrarily large - and it can be connected via fine probes. The signals between neurons are very slow compared to electrical currents in wires.

So, assuming the practicalities could be overcome, do you think it would integrate with functional transparency? Would the patient see with the black box installed?

If so, how much brain functionality do you think could be replaced with black boxes in a similar way? What about extending the scope of the original black box to replace more of the brain?

What about replacing the whole brain with a black box that takes sensory input and outputs motor activities just like you or me?

I've rushed ahead here - I'm curious to know where the line should be drawn. If we can replace whole subsystems with black boxes that, for the same inputs, give the same outputs as the biological subsystems, how much can we replace without 'breaking' consciousness?

My bet is that only a limited number of subsystems could be replaced that way.
I'll have a go at this thought experiment.

Lets say we make a computing machine, the details of how its constructed are not important, only that we have a computing machine that when its switched on becomes conscious. In a sense we boot up its consciousness and once its running it is conscious until we switch it off again.

The conscious machine would have no subjective understanding to begin with, it would be a clean slate. It would only be able to carry out computations which are physically acted out or are physically equivalent. Any digital stuff in any black boxes would be illegible. It could not understand them or interpret them without a subjective means to do so.

It would not understand tornado or Santa claus, however if it was able to learn and develop a subjective interpretation and then understanding of its experience and environment. It would be able to learn the significance of tornado and Santa claus over time and begin to have a presence in our physical world, provided it had a full set of sensory apparatus.

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Old 29th February 2012, 02:59 AM   #2056
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
What the simulation is supposed to represent, however, is not part of, nor even evident in, the simulation... only the brain of the programmer and reader make that association.
I'm not talking about the interpretation of the programmer but of the entities inside the simulation.
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Old 29th February 2012, 03:00 AM   #2057
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Originally Posted by ufology View Post
Now I understand why you feature a giant flaming not so friendly looking thing in your avatar.
Explain said understanding as it relates to the post you were responding to.
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Old 29th February 2012, 03:02 AM   #2058
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
What I am denying is that the situation is any different for any (conscious) entity. There's the world as perceived, and reality. I'm saying that the situation is no different for the entity in the computer. The distinction between the artificial consciousness and the human being is of degree, not kind.
Ok, I'm confused. Isn't that the opposite of what you're been arguing ?
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Old 29th February 2012, 03:03 AM   #2059
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Stop!

At this point you have already assumed that there is a simulated entity which has perceptions and a point of view on reality.
Yes, that happens to be the point of the hypothetical.

Quote:
But the entire point of this conversation is to determine if any such thing could exist.

You can't argue that something could exist by assuming it exists and asking what the world looks like from its eyes.
I'm not. You haven't been following very well.
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Old 29th February 2012, 03:06 AM   #2060
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Yes, that's what I was trying to say.

A simulation... that is, the action of mimicking one thing with another thing... or in another sense the apparatus as it's operating... is a real thing, just like the rest of the real stuff in the universe.

What the simulation is supposed to represent, however, is not part of, nor even evident in, the simulation... only the brain of the programmer and reader make that association.
That statement is clear, simple, and wrong in every possible way.

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Old 29th February 2012, 04:00 AM   #2061
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
But we're winding up floating further and further away, as if our brains have a special property nothing else has, which is the ability to have "imaginary" things that are not "physical", the ability to "interpret" which "objective" things cannot possibly have since they could be interpreted infinitely number of ways (and physics is only made of "objective" things), and so on. By all rights, then, if I take this to its logical extreme, we shouldn't be able to imagine, we shouldn't have subjective views, and we shouldn't be able to mean anything when we make claims--much less run a simulation that's supposed to be about a system--because, we're physical! Ergo, we're objective. Ergo, we just don't have the stuff to generate these things.

But we do.

So someone's wrong.


But that is precisely the point..... the fact that we can imagine things is exactly the point.

When we imagine things that have never existed in reality it means that we created something that has no basis in reality.

This does not then make it possible to become reality just because our real brain imagined it. There will never exist a flying spaghetti monster just because we could imagine one.

Therein lays the problem with this debate.

We can IMAGINE that a simulated sentient world can exist in the ones and zeros of silicon chips.....but that does mean that it is POSSIBLE for this imaginary construct to actually exist.

There are REAL PHYSICAL constraints why it cannot exist. These constraints cannot be IMAGINED AWAY.

We can imagine that a machine that simulates the action of the brain as we understand it may give rise to a brain like a real brain. But the imaginary aspect did not take into account the real physical constraints why this may not be possible.

The brain is the result of billions of years of evolution that eventually gave rise to the bundle of biological matter that interacts within and without itself and can maintain electrical impulses from within and without while also modifying, reverberating, attenuating, augmenting and initiating these signals and cross talking and cross sparking and so on and so forth along with a combination of internal and external positive and negative feedback systems that give rise to even more feedback.

I think it stands to reason that an inert collection of doped Silicon might not quite be up to the same task since the kind of processes that occur in the brain are not taking place regardless of the simulation being run. The physical process is NOT the same process.

The design of a high frequency circuit has to take into consideration the effects of lengths and width and proximity of conducting lines and ground planes which at low frequencies do not affect the system. A perfectly working digital logic circuit can fail if the frequency of switching is raised beyond a certain level due to capacitances and inductances that at the lower frequencies had no effect while at the higher frequencies made all the difference.

When we build scale models to carry out some experiments say of earthquake effects on a dam we do not just scale down things. There has to be further consideration for the fact that some things behave differently at a small scale than at the larger scale. For example the surface tension of water and Van der Waal forces can come into play at the smaller scale while at the larger scale they are immaterial.

Take for example the Jesus Lizard. If it is scaled up it won’t be able to run on water….yet it is the same lizard for all intents and purposes. Something got lost in the transformation…. What is it?

What I am trying to say with all this is that certain SYNERGETIC and EMERGENT properties of COMPLEX systems can be drastically affected due to differences in physical interactions within the subsystems and changing the nature or scale of these physical interactions will change the overall system and most likely not give rise to the same emergent and synergetic effects.


See this post for more on this.
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post


I think the problem with all this "could", "may be", and "possibly" is that most of the people who are hypothesizing that "simulation=reality" have either never built a simulation or a computer or neither.

If one actually builds a computer from scratch....I do not mean assemble one.... I mean actually make a processor from scratch using FPGAs or actual transistors and all the memory and other peripherals needed.... then one might get an appreciation for how unlikely that it would ever become conscious regardless of the sophistication of the simulation software it is running.

The fact that a computer needs software is PRECISELY why it is not ever going to be a brain. Brains DO NOT RUN SOFTWARE.

In my opinion the only thing that we might build that has any chance of approaching a brain is an actual brain-like mechanism like Neural Networks. And I do not mean a SIMULATED NN.... I mean an actual one with OpAmps and actual neural connections.....and even then it would have to have a certain CRITICAL MASS of connections and nodes.

I personally think that consciousness is an EMERGENT PROPERTY of A CRITICAL MASS of COMPLEXITY..... much like the individual cells in a body ALONE would not be able to crawl out of a primordial pool but as they COALESCED they created a SYNERGY where the whole is greater than the sum.

The reason brains do more than just input and output is an EMERGENT PROPERTY OF THE CRITICAL MASS of brain matter and activity. The brain can be its own SIDE-EFFECT INPUTS that are not actually inputs from anything real except that they are a result of INTRA-CEREBRAL activity.


In other words, because of the brain’s bundling it has become its own “universe” where echoes of PAST EXTERNAL inputs may reverberate and rebound and regenerate and be maintained and these become side-effect inputs to other systems within the brain. The same for brain outputs…. they too can be side-tracked and become UNINTENDED inputs to other parts and again be maintained and reverberated etc.

Look at epileptics…. They often report that just before a seizure they see images and or hear sounds and often smell aromas that to them are as real as the real thing. We know epilepsy is a result of UNREGULATED CROSS FIRING of electrical activity from one part of the brain to another. What if on a smaller and SUBTLER scale some SHORTING can actually produce EVOLUTIONARY SELECTED FOR effects. Maybe THOUGHT is nothing but “epileptic fits” so to speak that have elevated the ENVIRONMENTAL FITNESS of the organisms that had them instead of producing convulsions and loss of control over the body...

If that is the case then maybe even Neural Nets won’t reach that threshold even with a critical mass unless we allow for RANDOM SHORTINGS that eventually evolve into CONTROLLED SHORTINGS
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:20 AM   #2062
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
I would like for someone to define exactly what is meant by "objective."

If all an agent can ever have access to is its subjective perception of its environment, I question how "objectivity" can ever be arrived at other than as a net agreement among the subjectivity of multiple agents.

If that is the case, then why is our perception of our world "objective" while the simulated agents' collectively agreed upon perception of their world isn't.

???
Good question, this goes back to what I was saying about ontologies. With an ontology you assume that a certain idea about existence is the actual one and work from there. The trouble is it is beyond us to determine what the actual ontology is, because we can only know what it appears to be to us, which might be a fabrication or simulation.

So the objective is what it is that exists, what we are assuming by the ontology we choose.

This is why I agree with you entirely if I assume the materialist ontology. This is one kind of monism, there are others including the one I mentioned earlier of an ontology of self( which is a monism).
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Old 29th February 2012, 06:28 AM   #2063
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
But that is precisely the point..... the fact that we can imagine things is exactly the point.
But our brains are physical objects. The fact that we can imagine things does not mean that our brains violate the laws of physics.
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When we imagine things that have never existed in reality it means that we created something that has no basis in reality.
When we imagine things that have never existed, we are not breaking the laws of physics. Somehow being able to do this must be something that things following the laws of physics can do.

Incidentally, the phrase "created something that has no basis in reality" is clumsy. I don't know what you mean to convey here, but it just sounds flat out impossible to me; if you create it, then it would exist in reality. If it doesn't exist in reality, no creation has occurred. Perhaps all that occurred is that you created a map to something that doesn't exist.

Remember, however it is that we imagine things that do not exist, if we do that, it must be physically possible to do that. Because we are physical.
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This does not then make it possible to become reality just because our real brain imagined it. There will never exist a flying spaghetti monster just because we could imagine one.
And yet, you can cause me to imagine the FSM just by mentioning his noodly name. And I'm a physical entity. So it must be possible for physical entities to imagine the FSM.
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Therein lays the problem with this debate.
The problem with this debate comes up whenever someone invents a kind of partition that implicitly rules out the possibility for a physical lump of matter to do something that we know that physical lumps of matter do, in fact, do. So for example when we separate "physical computation" from "symbolic computation", drawing this ever so critical distinction that we must draw in order to understand it; and require that physical computation have an "interpreter" to count as information processing, we shoot ourselves in the foot, because now we've explained that nothing in our brains can create an interpreter, because everything happening in our brains is meaningless without one.

After all, as westprog would say, there are an infinite number of mappings between the things our brain does and what it means--and anything our brain does can mean anything we want it to mean.

You don't think that is a problem?

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Old 29th February 2012, 06:47 AM   #2064
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
This is why I agree with you entirely if I assume the materialist ontology. This is one kind of monism, there are others including the one I mentioned earlier of an ontology of self( which is a monism).
Right. The interesting thing here, though, is that materialism is consistent with all evidence, and other ontologies are consistent with the evidence precisely insofar as they are consistent with materialism.
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Old 29th February 2012, 06:49 AM   #2065
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
The problem with this debate comes up whenever someone invents a kind of partition that implicitly rules out the possibility for a physical lump of matter to do something that we know that physical lumps of matter do, in fact, do. So for example when we separate "physical computation" from "symbolic computation", drawing this ever so critical distinction that we must draw in order to understand it; and require that physical computation have an "interpreter" to count as information processing, we shoot ourselves in the foot, because now we've explained that nothing in our brains can create an interpreter, because everything happening in our brains is meaningless without one.

After all, as westprog would say, there are an infinite number of mappings between the things our brain does and what it means--and anything our brain does can mean anything we want it to mean.
Right. That argument is dualism, pure and simple. Either the argument is logically inconsistent, or the Universe is. And there's no evidence for the latter.
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Old 29th February 2012, 07:07 AM   #2066
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Ok, I'm confused. Isn't that the opposite of what you're been arguing ?
I've been arguing that conscious entities on a computer don't necessarily exist. However, if they do, they exist in the same world that we do. They don't exist in a different, virtual world. They will experience the world differently. Their experience of the world will be defined by their sensory apparatus and physical makeup.
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Old 29th February 2012, 07:09 AM   #2067
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Yes, that happens to be the point of the hypothetical.



I'm not. You haven't been following very well.
To be fair, that is the point of this hypothetical. There are other segments where the hypothetical existence of conscious entities is used as evidence for their actual existence, but here we're discussing the real existence of other worlds. (I think, there seem to be cross purposes.)
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Old 29th February 2012, 07:15 AM   #2068
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Good question, this goes back to what I was saying about ontologies. With an ontology you assume that a certain idea about existence is the actual one and work from there. The trouble is it is beyond us to determine what the actual ontology is, because we can only know what it appears to be to us, which might be a fabrication or simulation.

So the objective is what it is that exists, what we are assuming by the ontology we choose.

This is why I agree with you entirely if I assume the materialist ontology. This is one kind of monism, there are others including the one I mentioned earlier of an ontology of self( which is a monism).
I think that some kind of underlying reality is the basic assumption of materialism. If there isn't some kind of underlying reality, then there is only our own subjective experience, and no reason to assume that any other kind is possible.
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Old 29th February 2012, 07:30 AM   #2069
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
The problem with this debate comes up whenever someone invents a kind of partition that implicitly rules out the possibility for a physical lump of matter to do something that we know that physical lumps of matter do, in fact, do. So for example when we separate "physical computation" from "symbolic computation", drawing this ever so critical distinction that we must draw in order to understand it; and require that physical computation have an "interpreter" to count as information processing, we shoot ourselves in the foot, because now we've explained that nothing in our brains can create an interpreter, because everything happening in our brains is meaningless without one.


I wonder how many "physical lumps of matter" you can list that do NOT do what ONLY ONE KIND of physical lump of matter does.

I know of mountains, I know of mounds I know of rocks and volcanoes and sand dunes and Earth itself and the moon and the sun and the galaxy and piles of ***** (wait... this last one might be a possibility judging by some people's cranial lumps).

NONE are currently capable of doing the action of ONE KIND of lump of matter.

Some of these other lumps have existed for a lot longer than the brains of any animals....yet they did not manage to achieve the action of the brain.

THE ONLY lump of matter that managed to achieve consciousness so far in billions of years of the existence of Earth is the brain...... can you name any other "physical lump of matter" that are conscious?

So I think your statement “we know that physical lumps of matter do” in fact implies DOING NOTHING….right? That is what almost all “physical lumps of matter do”…. nothing.

So if you can tell me what other lumps of matter are prone to developing consciousness other than brains, then maybe we can entertain the idea that silicon chips might do so.

So assuming that since ONE TYPE and NO OTHER of physical lumps of matter can achieve consciousness then others are just as easily going to do it, is a bit unfounded in epistemological facts.

But what “we know that physical lumps of matter do” in 99.999999% of all lumps of matter that exist is NOTHING. Just because 0.000001% of all matter that exists on Earth in the last 5 billion years managed to evolve the ability to be conscious does not imply that a silicon chip will do it by any stretch of epistemological imagination.

And this is not dualism as some misguided people might like to equivocate.

Saying that a mountain is not a desert is not dualism. It is stating that two things that are different are not the same. Saying that a silicon chip running a simulation is not a brain is like saying a lump of cheese is not a car..... that is not dualism.

Have a look here for a proper definition of dualism as related to this topic.
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Old 29th February 2012, 07:32 AM   #2070
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
I've been arguing that conscious entities on a computer don't necessarily exist. However, if they do, they exist in the same world that we do. They don't exist in a different, virtual world. They will experience the world differently. Their experience of the world will be defined by their sensory apparatus and physical makeup.
Which is exactly what I was saying, using different words. Did you really not understand what I meant by "world" ?

Really ?
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Old 29th February 2012, 07:39 AM   #2071
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
But our brains are physical objects. The fact that we can imagine things does not mean that our brains violate the laws of physics.
When we imagine things that have never existed, we are not breaking the laws of physics. Somehow being able to do this must be something that things following the laws of physics can do.

Incidentally, the phrase "created something that has no basis in reality" is clumsy. I don't know what you mean to convey here, but it just sounds flat out impossible to me; if you create it, then it would exist in reality. If it doesn't exist in reality, no creation has occurred. Perhaps all that occurred is that you created a map to something that doesn't exist.

Remember, however it is that we imagine things that do not exist, if we do that, it must be physically possible to do that. Because we are physical.

And yet, you can cause me to imagine the FSM just by mentioning his noodly name. And I'm a physical entity. So it must be possible for physical entities to imagine the FSM.


And what does all this gobbledygook mean? Does it mean that the FSM exists?

Does it imply that Superman can see through women's skirts and burn you by gazing at you?


You imagining a conscious silicon chip running a simulation makes it just as likely to occur as a Superman who leaps higher than skyscrapers.

Now, imagine a scantily attired Wonder Woman and you might convince me
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Old 29th February 2012, 08:44 AM   #2072
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Which is exactly what I was saying, using different words. Did you really not understand what I meant by "world" ?

Really ?
You may well have the same understanding of "world" that I do - in which case, we are not disagreeing. I am disagreeing with the claim that these virtual worlds are real (whatever that means).
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Old 29th February 2012, 09:05 AM   #2073
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In one of those coincidences that make you wonder if there's some small-world phenomena at play, today's SMBC comic is eerily relevant to our interests here.
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Old 29th February 2012, 10:37 AM   #2074
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
And what does all this gobbledygook mean? Does it mean that the FSM exists?
It means there is a group of particles in the brain of yy2bggggs the behavior of which maps to what yy2bggggs considers the behavior of the FSM.

At the very least the behavior of the FSM exists as those particles.

Whether or not there is another set of particles that constitute the FSM floating around in the upper atmosphere or wherever he is said to live is irrelevant if all we want to establish is some sort of baseline existence of the behavior of the FSM.
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Old 29th February 2012, 10:42 AM   #2075
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
... The problem with emulating a physical neuron in software is that your software emulation is useless... that is, unless the physical apparatus running it can also take the physical input of a neuron and convert it into the physical functional equivalent of the output of a neuron, which is to say, the kind of physical output the next neuron will accept.
I'm sorry, I assumed saying that would be stating the obvious. Take it as read that the black box can interface appropriately with the neurons providing its inputs and the neurons receiving its outputs.
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Old 29th February 2012, 10:47 AM   #2076
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
These things which you call "practical difficulties" are real features of the system which are known by direct observation and experiment to affect the behavior of the system.

You don't just get to ignore them.
OK, if you can enumerate those features you feel would invalidate this thought experiment, perhaps I can find a way around them so we can progress.
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Old 29th February 2012, 10:51 AM   #2077
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
And what about replacing my whole truck with something else that does exactly what my truck does?
I know that is possible, both in theory and in practice.

Do you think, given the context discussed, such a black box is theoretically possible?
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Old 29th February 2012, 10:57 AM   #2078
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
... it's a matter of finding a definition that works.
Indeed. Where 'works' means helps rather than hinders effective communication.
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Old 29th February 2012, 11:14 AM   #2079
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
The brain is the result of billions of years of evolution that eventually gave rise to the bundle of biological matter that interacts within and without itself and can maintain electrical impulses from within and without while also modifying, reverberating, attenuating, augmenting and initiating these signals and cross talking and cross sparking and so on and so forth along with a combination of internal and external positive and negative feedback systems that give rise to even more feedback.
Not 'cross sparking'. Not any sparking.

Quote:
What I am trying to say with all this is that certain SYNERGETIC and EMERGENT properties of COMPLEX systems can be drastically affected due to differences in physical interactions within the subsystems and changing the nature or scale of these physical interactions will change the overall system and most likely not give rise to the same emergent and synergetic effects.
It's a very good point. I suspect we'll only know for sure whether it will be a problem by trying to emulate brains. I also suspect the by the time we can emulate the simplest mammalian brain, we'll understand enough to know whether it's likely to be an insurmountable problem or not.
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Old 29th February 2012, 11:21 AM   #2080
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
In one of those coincidences that make you wonder if there's some small-world phenomena at play, today's SMBC comic is eerily relevant to our interests here.
Excellent!

As for the coincidence, it is quite a popular topic these days.
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