Re: Implementation

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 12:16:57 +1000 (EST)

> Hans Moravec wrote:
> >So, deterministic machines can have just as much free will as you or
> >I. The key is that they don't know everything that's going on,
> >outside themselves or in, so often don't know what will happen next,
> >or how they will respond to it. Many-worlds may provide an
> >interesting additional "source" of ignorance, but limitations on what
> >a finite process can model already provide sufficient ignorance for
> >free will even in a fully deterministic framework.
> I agree. What MW or self-duplication adds is truly random uncertainty.
> This is "testify" by quantum computers.
> I don't think determinism is an "effective" problem for free-will,
> nor do I think randomization can help in making free-will possible.
> I think free-will is related with the boundary of self-knowledge.

OK - you have a point here, which we cannot resolve vis a vis my
position that "free will" arises from a David Deutsch type mechanism
until we have a clearer picture about the role of free will in conciousness.

> Russell Standish wrote:
> > > Chris, this is a well thought out reponse, and it persuades me that
> > > the difference between conciousness and nonconciousness could be as
> > > little as the "inert block of wood", precisely because it is a
> > > physically different system. It actually reminds me of the quantum 2
> > > split experiment. An interference pattern is seen, or not seen
> > > according to whether a detector placed at one of the slits is switched
> > > on or not.
> > [...]
> 1) The great programmer dovetail also on the quantum turing machines...
> 2) I think so. There is a deeper analogy between the computationalist's
> counterfactuals and the quantum. This is linked to a paper by Hardegree
> showing a formal similarity between a very natural definition of 'quantum
> implication' and Stalnaker's logic of counterfactual and my own definition
> of 'observation'. (ref. in my thesis), and the resulting arithmetical
> "quantum logic".
> >Thinking about this some more, I realise this is exactly what is going
> >on. Consider Olympia from a MWI point of view. For the vast majority
> >of worlds containing Olympia, Karas (I believe that is what the
> >correcting machinery is called) is active, handling the
> >counterfactuals. Only on one world line (of measure zero!) is Karas
> >inactive, and Olympia is simply replaying the previously recorded
> >data.
> >
> >Now consider what happens when Karas is turned off, or prevented from
> >operating. Then, in all world lines is Olympia simply a replay
> >device. From the MWI point of view, the simple inert piece of wood is
> >not so innocuous. It changes the systems dynamics completely.
> OK.
> >
> >Now this has bearing on a supposition I have argued earlier - that
> >conciousness requires free will, and the only way to have free will is
> >via the MWI picture.
> Not OK. See above.

I understand that you believe that free will can arise in a deterministic
framework like chaos and uncertainty arise through the impossibility
of exact measurements. I accept this. However to me, the David Deutsch
argument that free will occurs precisely because the classical
projection of a quantum state has real uncertainty built in has more
appeal. At this point in time it is a matter of taste - I would like
the situation to be stronger than that. If someone could demonstrate
that the two approaches were equivalent ...

An example where the two approaches produce different results is that
(reverse) time travel is possible only in the MWI picture, not in the
classical deterministic picture (where the time traveller would lose
free will or face a paradox). However, is the time travel case a straw

> >In this context, a Turing machine can never be
> >concious, because it follows a preprogrammed path, without free
> >will. Note this is not the same as saying comp is false, unless you
> >strictly define computers to be Turing machines.
> I do. It is my working hypothesis.

Right. Then since I'm currently disbelieving this hypothesis, I must
therefore be in the sup-phys camp!

> >My suspicion is that
> >adding a genuine random number generator to the machine may be
> >sufficient to endow the architecture with free will, however, of
> >course the question is unresolved.
> >
> >What does this all mean for your thesis Bruno? Alas I didn't follow
> >your argument (not because it was written in French - which I have no
> >problem with, rather because I was not familiar with the modal logic
> >you employed, and haven't raised enough enthusiasm to follow up the
> >references). Could it be implying that you have too restrictive
> >definitions of both comp and sup-phys?
> Church's Thesis is a vaccin against any restrictive interpretation
> of comp. Comp makes the unknown much bigger that we have ever thought.
> Even if from the archimedian point of view there are only numbers
> relationships.
> >
> >Quote from Bruno follows:
> >
> >> This seems rather magical to me. If only because, for a
> >> computationalist,
> >> the only role of the inert block (during the particular execution) is
> >> to
> >> explain why the machine WOULD have give a correct answer in case the
> >> inputs WOULD have been different.
> >> This mean that you don't associate consciousness with a particular
> >> physical computation but with the entire set of possible computations.
> >> But that is exactly what I do ..., and what I mean by the abandon
> >> of physical supervenience.
> >> A singular brain's activity becomes an invention of the mind.
> >
> >Could it mean that you are defining sup-phys to be supervenience on
> >the one track classical physics, rather than on the MWI style quantum
> >physics?
> Most people in cognitive science do but I do not care about the level of
> duplication.
> I think that ANY sufficiently patient self-referentially correct
> machines, either by introspection or by observation (or a mixture of
> both), will infer MWI-like physics (once observing below their level of
> duplication, for example).
> Bruno

Dr. Russell Standish Director
High Performance Computing Support Unit,
University of NSW Phone 9385 6967
Sydney 2052 Fax 9385 6965
Room 2075, Red Centre
Received on Tue Jul 27 1999 - 19:16:44 PDT

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