RE: UDA revisited

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 21:41:19 +1100

Russell Standish writes:
> 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
> distinction.
> 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?
The distinction between self and other, program and data, although important
is ultimately arbitrary. A conscious subsystem receiving input from its environment
can be "rewritten" as a closed system in which the input is part of the program.
There is no way from the inside to be certain that the sense data you seem to receive
from the environment is not in fact generated by your own brain, as in an elaborate
dream or hallucination. If you observe someone responding to auditory hallucinations
it is exactly as if they are responding to an invisible person: they become animated,
answer back, strain to hear something or ask for clarification, laugh, show surprise,
and so on. They often become very annoyed if you raise the possibility that the person
they are talking to may be a product of their own mind. How would you describe such a
hallucinatory experience using the self/other or machine/input tape dichotomy?
Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Tue Nov 21 2006 - 05:41:36 PST

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