Re: How would a computer know if it were conscious?

From: <>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2007 20:08:35 -0700

On Jun 5, 10:20 pm, "Stathis Papaioannou" <> wrote:

> Why would you need to change the goal structure in order to improve
> yourself?

Improving yourself requires the ability to make more effective
decisions (ie take decisions which which move you toward goals more
efficiently). This at least involves the elaboration (or extension,
or more accurate definition of) goals, even with a fixed top level

> Evolution could be described as a perpetuation of the basic
> program, "survive", and this has maintained its coherence as the top level
> axiom of all biological systems over billions of years. Evolution thus seems
> to easily, and without reflection, make sure that the goals of the new and
> more complex system are consistent with the primary goal. It is perhaps only
> humans who have been able to clearly see the primary goal for what it is,
> but even this knowledge does not make it any easier to overthrow it, or even
> to desire to overthrow it.

Evolution does not have a 'top level goal'. Unlike a reflective
intelligence, there is no centralized area in the bio-sphere enforcing
a unified goal structure on the system as the whole. Change is local
- the parts of the system (the bio-sphere) can only react to other
parts of the system in their local area. Furthermore, the system as a
whole is *not* growing more complex, only the maximum complexity
represented in some local area is. People constantly point to
'Evolution' as a good example of a non-conscious intelligence but it's
important to emphasize that it's an 'intelligence' which is severely

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Received on Tue Jun 05 2007 - 23:08:50 PDT

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