RE: consciousness based on information or computation?

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 11:21:24 -0000

Hans Moravec sounds right-on. Caoud you refer us to him?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: 29 January 1999 16:48
> To:
> Subject: RE: consciousness based on information or computation?
> Jacques Bailhache, <>, writes:
> > Is it really a fundamental difference between static and dynamic
> structures
> > ?
> > Any machine can be represented by a string. A program can be considered
> > either as a static character string, or as the description of the rules
> of
> > evolution of a dynamic process.
> I am uncomfortable with saying that a process is equivalent to the rules
> which generate it. It seems to suggest that writing down the rules is
> equivalent to actually working out all the ramifications of those rules.
> It is true that the rules uniquely specify the process, but in practice
> it still takes work to find out exactly what the details of that process
> are.
> In particular, if the process in question is a consciousness-containing
> universe, what is actually necessary in order for that consciousness to
> exist? Running the program seems good enough to me. Is just writing the
> program enough? Hans Moravec takes the view that you don't even have to
> write the program; the mere fact that such a program potentially exists
> automatically means that the consciousness exists (and is, in fact, how
> and why our own consciousness-containing universe exists).
> I prefer a simpler approach to the string-process question. I would
> say that a "dynamic" three-dimensional process can be represented by a
> "static" four-dimensional space-time structure. This is the standard
> viewpoint for relativity theory. Time is just another dimension (albeit
> one with different properties than the spatial dimensions).
> Another way to think of this is to imagine a two-dimensional world.
> It's been demonstrated that you could, in theory, have a two-dimensional
> universal computer. Then any process operating in that computer could be
> represented as a three dimensional structure, where we use the third
> dimension to represent time. This solid, static three-dimensional
> structure then can encode any computational process.
> Some versions of the many-worlds model consider the universe to be
> branching at each point into multiple universes. This is harder to
> capture in a static picture. You can do it but it doesn't seem as
> natural. However another way to view this model is to have, instead
> of a single universe which branches into many, many initially identical
> universes which then differentiate themselves. These are equivalent ways
> of looking at the same phenomenon. With the differentiating-universes
> model we again have a simple flow of time within each universe and a very
> simple representation of processes in that universe as static structures.
> Hal
Received on Mon Feb 01 1999 - 03:27:15 PST

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