Is the Teddy Bear conscious?

From: Marchal <>
Date: Wed Jul 28 10:28:19 1999

I make two related commentaries in which we can see two bad
reasons (IMO) to attribute consciousness to the Teddy Bear.

Hans Moravec wrote:

>But, with or without junk code, all encodings of the same I/O
>behavior are isomorphic.

I guess that for you the best TOE is the empty program. It has the same
input/output than any conceivable whole.
I am not sure about that. If only because I distinguish the dreamer, the
'universe', the child enclosed in a closet, etc.
There exist silencious sufferings, secret thoughts, etc.

My feeling, also, is that attributing consciousness to a teddy bear is
It is a natural child game, but it is just a kind of theater.
Why not attribute killing desire to a good actor in a killing movie ?

I think it is utterly important to keep in mind the first person/third
person distinction when we talk on consciousness.
And I do believe in objective approach to subjectivity.

In particular I believe that although consciousness cannot be defined
axiomatically it can be approached axiomatically. My favorite axiom
for consciousness is the propositional equation (in classical logic):

                    x => non-provable(x)

'FALSE' is a trivial solution. 'SELF-CONSISTENCY' (= non-provable(FALSE))
is another one which is much less trivial. I argue elsewhere that
consciousness is a solution too. And indeed, I think consciousness is
linked to the instinctive betting of the consistency of oneself(s).
(Even 'physics' will emerge here eventually).


Chris Maloney wrote:

> A replay device is not an instantiation of a computation in any
> sense. It is more analogous to ink on a page, and is therefore
> in no sense conscious. On could think of it as a particular run
> of a program (Olympia), but as we have seen, in that case, the
> program which is actually implemented is a trivial one. Note that
> in this, I thoroughly reject Hal's and Jacques' suggestion that
> Olympia may be conscious.
> HLUTs are clearly conscious, because they implement a complex
> computation.

Is Olympia = to Olympia + Klaras (the counterfactually correct version)?
In this case
I attribute consciousness to her. And you too, isn't it?

Are you sure Jacques Mallah attributes consciousness to Olympia \ Klaras ?
I really don't think so !

About Hal, he just asks us to give a reason not to attribute consciousness
to Olympia \ Klaras. And I tell him that if he does that move, he will be
force to attribute consciousness to the teddy bear. And this, for a reason
entirely different than Hans's reason ! Indeed in that case Hal must
attribute consciousness to the teddy bear because the teddy bear can be
considered as an Olympia \ Klaras. For any physical object you can add an
inactive computer (the Klaras) making it a counterfactually correct sort
of dreamer (for example put inside the bear an inactive computer stuck in
"shaked awaking baby" state of mind and add a device such that the shaking
of the teddy bear+computer activates the computer).

I want to make clear that I attribute consciousness to Olympia (+Klaras)
when I talk to her or even listening to her silence.
Maudlin kind of reasoning is coherent with my feeling that Olympia (as a
person) is an immaterial think (like a single bridge game, or a nation,
And consciousness is a kind of (relative) fixed point in a self
complex but still arithmetical and immaterial, transformation.

To sum up: Olympia is conscious (Olympia the immaterial PERSON)
           Neither Olympia+Klara nor Olympia\Klara, AS physical device
           are conscious. In fact no physical devices are conscious nor
           produces consciousness.
           A physical device is a kind of (immaterial too in fact)
           possible telephone between computations making possible for
           relative machines to share dreams.
           'Dreams' obeys the non trivial laws of theoretical/information
           Science. They are sheaf of computation viewed from inside.

Don't ask me if I believe that, but I think that with the comp hypothesis
we are lead to that (or something like that). And THAT is my point.

Received on Wed Jul 28 1999 - 10:28:19 PDT

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