Re: Interpretations, subjectivity

From: Hans Moravec <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 19:31:08 -0400

Steve Price, MD:
> SLP: Consciousness in its known forms is a property of brains, which
> are physical systems. Therefore it can be reduced to a description in
> purely physical terms, which has nothing whatever to do with an
> "observer." The term "observer", incidentally, is a very bad one. In
> EVERY physical situation, it can be replaced with a wholly neutral
> term such as "registering device" or "recording device".

NO!!! Consciousness is a purely subjective, beholder-dependent,
property like beauty!
Any "description in purely physical terms" of beauty or
consciousness would have to include a description of the
beholder (who would have to be assumed to be conscious
in order to be able to "behold").

Whether something is beautiful or not depends on who is making the
judgement. The beauty you find in a woman doesn't exist in the eyes
of an octopus.

Whether something is conscious or not depends on who is looking. If
you have an allegedly conscious AI encoded in a computer, there will
be no hint of consciousness to someone looking at the computer who
deosn't have the encoding key. He'll just see a machine going through
state changes.

Only someone with a particular, idiosyncratic, interpretation, say a
viewing box that changes the computer's numbers in to a picture and
sound display of the intended AI living its exciting life might
attribute consciousness. But even he doesn't have to, if he chooses
to see the numbers changing instead.
Received on Mon Jul 12 1999 - 16:35:40 PDT

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