Re: The Game of Life

From: <>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 03:43:28 EST

Bullshit (in the words of Jaques Mallah.... this is getting fashionable...:-)

Jerry makes the mistake of shifting his coordinate system twice, and this is
why the paradox that he describes arises.

The first shift in coordinate has to do with 1st and 3rd person.
Jerry does not see that awareness is a 1st person phenomenon. So those
creature in the universe of Life believe themselves to be conscious ( in the
first person) but from the Great Programmer perspective (3rd person) or from
any sophisticated external observer they are not.

The second shift has to do with the action of running the program. Before the
computer is started, these creatures in the Life Universe do not exist in our
*time*. Their time is frozen - compared to ours - so from our point of view
they are not conscious. They are just a bunch of inert bits. When the
computer runs, their time becomes like ours and now they appear to be

Resolution of this paradox illustrates the relativistic issues in the
observation process and in particular the relativistic quality of the 1st/3rd
person point of view. The relativity of information in terms of mutual
information as defined by Claude Shannon has deep consequences in physics
that, I feel, should be explored. In this context, Hawkings has made a major
breakthrough in the understanding of black holes by relating entropy to their

George Levy

In a message dated 12/17/1999 3:13:38 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

> David Lloyd-Jones wrote:
> > Hal Finney writes:
> >
> > > It has been found that "Life is Universal", meaning that you can
> > > construct a Universal Turing Machine out of the Life rules. It would
> > > then be possible to program it to simulate any mathematical or logical
> > > system, hence SAS's should be possible.
> >
> > But only if the outside world supplies the necessaries. I don't insist on
> > John Horton Conway, or even Hal Finney, but I do insist that the machine
> be
> > plugged into the wall.
> Are you arguing that a program has to be run before SAS's embodied in that
> program experience consciousness?
> I totally disagree with this approach, which some people
> call'computationalism'
> (confusingly), don't they? Let's take an example: populate an infinite
> grid with zeroes and
> ones using your favourite transcendental number. let's use pi for
> definiteness, and
> use a square spiral to map the digits of pi to the plane. Now set the Life
> algorithm
> running on this formation and see what develops. Received opinion is that
> SAS's
> will emerge eventually and populate obscure corners of this totally
> predetermined
> universe. Let U_t be the entire state at time t so that U_t maps Z X Z to
> {0,1}.
> Let U = {U_0, U_1, ...}
> Now let's not get caught up in the argument over whether or not SAS's will
> emerge
> in U. Let's just say they do. Now these SAS's presumably have conversations
> about
> consciousness and what it feels like, and swear blind that they are
> conscious
> beings,
> in spite of the fact that they are mistaken about this fact until somebody
> actually
> manifests U by running it on a computer. At that point in time they become
> correct
> about being conscious even though they are exactly the same as they were
> before.
> This idea that "the program has to be run before the consciousness is
> is
> an
> embarrassingly obvious error. There is even embodied in it an infinite
> regress
> that
> would make Descartes blush: Who manifests the manifestors? Can manifestors
> 'do'
> each other? It's a bit like believing in zombies...
> > It's really a pissoff to see people writing about these patterns being
> > "self-organizing." They're organized by the throughput from the power
> > company.
> > -dlj.
> Jerry
Received on Sat Dec 18 1999 - 00:46:45 PST

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