Re: UDA revisited

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 11:01:45 +1100

On Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 10:27:19AM +1100, Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
> Hi,
> >
> > Firstly UDA is the UD Argument of Bruno's. I assume you just mean UD,
> > and your little pinky slips in the extra A out of habit.
> :-) yeah... it was a correction I was going to make.
> >
> > Secondly, zombies technically are meant to indistinguishable from
> > conscious beings. So cognitive scientists would be most surprised to
> > hear that you've proved zombies cannot do science, since we've
> > immediately found an external characteristic distinguishing some
> > conscious beings (ie scientists) from zombies.
> >
> > Of course I suspect you have a different definition of zombie...
> >
> What has happened is that I think I may have proven the assumtion invalid.
> That is, the assumption that zombies are functionally identical. I can
> show that a zombie cannot be physically identical because to get a zombie
> you have to alter the brain. Everything else stays the same. As a result,
> the functional defininitive benchmark behaviour "scientific behaviour",
> cannot be done by a zombie. (see below)

In that case, you have proved by contradiction that zombies don't
exist. A very different result. I believe that is already a known
result within computationalism, although I'm no expert in these
matters. However, since I'm not sure you start from computationalism,
it may well be a new result anyway.

> <snip>....nobody has ever said UD's are conscious. If computationalism
> > is true, then they are executing conscious programs, but they're not
> > conscious themselves.
> >
> Then what use is the UD? If I embody something with a UD (assuming the
> computational grunt (and requisite sensing) can be built with the STUFF
> (this is the noun I will use to mean a chunk of the natural world) then
> the UD cannot do science on the natural world. It doesn;t even know it's
> in the natural world. It does science on regularities sensory feeds. It
> would look bizarre to us and perform no useful function wahtever. Except
> perhaps as a metaphor to use to discuss our place in the real
> universe,

The UD is a very simple program that executes all programs
"concurrently" (by which I mean that all programs will have a finite
number of steps executed within a finite number of steps of the UD
executed, not that there is an external time in which the programs
execute simultaneously).

Assuming computationalism, some of these computations will correspond
to conscious machines and all possible input tapes. There is some
debate as to whether a machine with no input tape can truly be
conscious - I don't think there can be, as there is no self/other

Taking my POV that input tapes are essential, then the UD cannot be
conscious itself (as it has no input tape), nor can the Multiverse. I
don't think the universe is conscious either - only small bits of
it. Most of the universe is input tape.

This is perhaps only a definitional nuance, but I don't think it is useful
to call an inputless machine conscious. What do others think?


A/Prof Russell Standish Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)

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Received on Mon Nov 20 2006 - 19:02:07 PST

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