Re: consciousness based on information or computation?

From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 18:48:03 -0500

On Sat, 13 Feb 1999, Wei Dai wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 13, 1999 at 07:29:15PM -0500, Jacques M Mallah wrote:
> > I do not believe your assumptions are simpler than mine. A string
> > is less complicated than a computation, but it is a greater leap from a
> > string to conciousness, and the illusions of dynamics and decisions, than
> > it is from computations to consciousness.
> >
> > 0 --> strings ------------------------------------------> consciousness
> > 0 ----------------------------> computations -----------> consciousness
> That's not the way I see it, which is closer to:
> 0 --> strings = consciousness
> 0 ----------------------------> computations = consciousness
> I don't understand what this "leap" is. Either strings can be concious, in
> which case consciousness is just as complicated as strings are, or only
> computations can be conscious, in which case consciousness is just as
> complicated as computations are.

        That's not going to cut it. It is obvious that dynamics and
decisions are important aspects of what we percieve as consciousness.
Computations are therefore much easier to map to consciousness since those
aspects are already present and don't need to be artificially added. It
seems to me that consciousness is much more like computations than like
        Wei, if you don't agree, and we all know you won't, I don't see
any further discussion on this topic as productive.

> > > I assume you have read chapter 4 of Li and Vitanyi by now.
> >
> > I'm still on Ch. 1; I admit I should find the time to read it.
> >
> > > The answer to
> > > your question is to ignore the time direction, or assume all directions
> > > orthogonal to the tape direction are continuous. This may seem arbitrary,
> >
> > Indeed it does. And what happenned to your cloning scheme?
> But my point, which you quoted below, is that it doesn't matter. You can
> use the cloning scheme, or any other scheme you care to think of, as long
> as the final distribution that is produced is recursive (see chapter 4 of
> Li and Vitanyi) it will be close to this one (i.e., the one produced by
> ignoring all directions orthogonal to the tape direction, because it
> is the universal a priori distribution.)

        That doesn't address the question. The question is, why should
one ignore the other directions? Or more generally, why should one single
out certain sets of bits and not others (e.g. substrings)?

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Wed Feb 17 1999 - 15:51:14 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:06 PST