computer simulations

From: Ken Fisher <>
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 12:24:52 GMT

Hal said:

> Even if we stipulate that a computer cannot simulate itself, and cannot
> simulate the whole universe which contains it, it would not follow that
> it could not simulate me.
> I am not in interaction with the entire universe. For one thing, due to
> speed of light limitations, nearby stars may have exploded, and I am not
> aware of them.
> More prosaically, I don't know what is going on on the other side of the
> Earth, or even outside the walls of this room.
> If I spent some time reading a book in a small, enclosed room, I would
> still be conscious. Wouldn't it be possible to design a computer which
> could perfectly simulate me during that time interval?

But your behaviour would depend on the way your brain is wired up and
the way you have interacted with the environment during your life so
far. It would be extremely sensitive to how life has evolved on Earth
for billions of years and, ultimately, to the history of the
universe. So how could a computer be designed to simulate you
perfectly, even during a period of isolation?

Received on Tue May 11 1999 - 04:28:22 PDT

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