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From: Nick Bostrom <bostrom.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 01:28:47 +0000

Higgo James wrote:

*> How can you have an observer (a consciousness) in a moment (a
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*> snapshot in time). Think about it. In which snapshot (universe) did
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*> that thought occur? I am not proposing any solution to this problem
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*> - just pointing out that any edifice built on the idea of an
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*> observer-moment is bound to crumble.
*

While the concept of an observer-moment is problematic in some ways,

I don't think "how long does a thought take" is a real problem. For

it doesn't matter for out computations exactly how finely we devide

up observer-time. If every moment is one minute then the relative

probability that this observer-moment will be in the life of

long-lived Larry rather than short-lived Steve will turn out

approximately the same as if they are only one second long.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

*> I would propose to see ``observer-moment" as relative computational
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*> states
*

*> of sufficiently reflexive universal machines.
*

It seems reasonable that if brain A works twice as fast as brain B,

then A will tend to have twice as many observer-moments per second as

B. So observer-moments are pieces of subjective time, it seems.

Here are three problems. Does anybody have any ideas how they

should be resolved?

1. What about a brain that is stuck for 10 years thinking the same

thought, but at very high clockspeed - a navel-gazing Jupiterbrain?

Is that one observer-moment or very many?

2. Are highly clear, intelligent, intense observer-moments to be

given more weight than dull ones? Or is there a sharp cut-off where

sentience goes from not having any observer-moments to having

full-blown obsever-moments? Or does all sentience equally have

observer-moments?

3. What about obsevers that are not readily separable? Human brains

are quite distinct things so we might not be very familiar with this

situation (though consider split-personalities and subconscious

processing, and persons who have had their corpus callosum

dissected), but could they not arise in artificial intellects? If

consciousness need not always be unified, then how count the

observer-moments?

Nick Bostrom

http://www.hedweb.com/nickb n.bostrom.domain.name.hidden

Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

London School of Economics

Received on Fri Sep 17 1999 - 17:41:21 PDT

Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 01:28:47 +0000

Higgo James wrote:

While the concept of an observer-moment is problematic in some ways,

I don't think "how long does a thought take" is a real problem. For

it doesn't matter for out computations exactly how finely we devide

up observer-time. If every moment is one minute then the relative

probability that this observer-moment will be in the life of

long-lived Larry rather than short-lived Steve will turn out

approximately the same as if they are only one second long.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

It seems reasonable that if brain A works twice as fast as brain B,

then A will tend to have twice as many observer-moments per second as

B. So observer-moments are pieces of subjective time, it seems.

Here are three problems. Does anybody have any ideas how they

should be resolved?

1. What about a brain that is stuck for 10 years thinking the same

thought, but at very high clockspeed - a navel-gazing Jupiterbrain?

Is that one observer-moment or very many?

2. Are highly clear, intelligent, intense observer-moments to be

given more weight than dull ones? Or is there a sharp cut-off where

sentience goes from not having any observer-moments to having

full-blown obsever-moments? Or does all sentience equally have

observer-moments?

3. What about obsevers that are not readily separable? Human brains

are quite distinct things so we might not be very familiar with this

situation (though consider split-personalities and subconscious

processing, and persons who have had their corpus callosum

dissected), but could they not arise in artificial intellects? If

consciousness need not always be unified, then how count the

observer-moments?

Nick Bostrom

http://www.hedweb.com/nickb n.bostrom.domain.name.hidden

Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

London School of Economics

Received on Fri Sep 17 1999 - 17:41:21 PDT

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