Re: A nerw idea to play with

From: Marchal <>
Date: Tue Sep 7 06:47:43 1999

Gilles Henri wrote:

>One reason may be that we don't know the ultimate TOE, even in the
>continuous form. The problem is not the use of discrete variables and how
>accurately they can reproduce continuous ones. It is first that we don't
>have any exact theory of the world. Schroedinger equation does not describe
>properly relativistic QM or quantum gravity, and no one has succeeded in
>finding a theory that answers anything. If you imagine a thought experiment
>capable of simulating the quantum state of a brain (which requires indeed a
>huge computer!), you can as well imagine an experiment testing quantum
>gravity and interfaced with a brain - and no known theory could compute the
>result. You MAY postulate that this computation exists, and that it is of
>discrete nature, but this is a postulate.


>I know that you present comp as a working hypothesis- I just insist that
>comp is indeed the very strong hypothesis that there is a computable TOE.

This is a misleading way to tell it. Remember that there are no computable
theory of the 'computerland'. Machine's fate, viewed from the 1-person but
also from the 3-person point of view, is 'the' non computable.

> But there is another problem. Indeed I should have added a word
>to my (GH) definition:
>>>For me digital systems are systems whose some OBSERVABLE characteristics
>>>(description and evolution of their "state") are EXACTLY equivalent to a
>>> TM.

>Recalling that the quantum state of a single particle is not observable ( a
>fact that seems to have been neglected by some computer scientists...) ,

Remember that the 1-person point of view (of a machine) is also
not 'observable'.

>...unlike for example the magnetic moment of a computer memory cell, I
>maintain that there is an objective distinction between digital systems and
>analogical ones, and that the brain is not obviously digital :

Sure. That is an important point. The brain is not obviously digital.
One of the reason I am insisting on the 'crazy' consequence of comp
(like the disparition of substance) is to help people to realize that,
indeed, comp is a highly non trivial hypothesis. It implies a total
reversal of the common 'naturalistic' and materialistic view of the

>the clearest
>difference between an analogical system and its digitized computation is
>that the relevant information (quantum state) is fundamentally hidden in
>the first case, but is known in the second one. This is as fundamental
>physically as Church thesis for computability!

Be careful, I suspect you suppose some interpretation of QM. Remember that
comp entails that any machines looking at itself below its level of
substitution, will be force to infer the existence of unobservable
'quantum' information. (I call it here 'the comp-quantum-principle'
for reference below).

>I see no reason why this fundamental physical difference would not have any
>influence on the existence of consciousness.

It has ! Provably with comp.

> In fact all proposed
>"simulated brains", Chinese room, Mauldlin experiment and so on imply the
>use of classical systems whose state IS measurable - i.e. are digital
>following the definition I propose.

The PE-omega (UD argument) does NOT depend on it. The thought experiment
are more easy with it, but clearly, even if my 'brain-state' is an
unobservable and non measurable state, the UD will duplicate it for ever,
and that is the point I need for my proof.
In fact QM is 'very' computable, even linear ...

> It may be why (as we tend to think
>intuitively) they can't be able to think.

About 'thinking' intuition is particularly delusional.
For Descartes animal have *obviously* no consciousness,
for Spanish conquistadors Indian have no souls,
Unless you explain PRECISELY in what sense 'quantum gravity'
put light on the consciousness problem, I will think that it is
just the older trick of hidding an unsolved problem in an
ununderstandable heavy speculation.
At least comp + the theetetic definition of knowledge and
observation gives 'refutable' light on the 'intuitionnistic
subject, the qualia, the quantum, etc.

> Only the duplication of quantum
>state would then be able to duplicate a consciousness....

This is quite compatible with comp, and probably even a
consequence of comp. See the 'comp-quantum-principle' above.

To use the phenomenological quantum weirdness as a argument against
comp will not work with me because I take the QUANTUM as the most
convincing (a posteriori, I confess) confirmation of the DIGITAL ultimate
nature of reality.
Of course a confirmation is not a proof, and computerland would
be a sad country if all machines are betting comp :-)

Received on Tue Sep 07 1999 - 06:47:43 PDT

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