Re: KIM 2.2 and 2.3

From: Kim Jones <>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2008 13:02:22 +1100

On 31/12/2008, at 5:08 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

> On 30 Dec 2008, at 02:22, Kim Jones wrote:
>> "I am good to go!"
> I suspect this is not english :)

It isn't. It's American ;-) (ducks quickly, like George Bush the other
day and the shoes)

Military talk - if you have seen the movie "Contact" (based on Carl
Sagan's novel of the same name) the character Ellie Arroway (played by
the superlative Jodie Foster) says this many times as she sits inside
"the Machine" - the teleporter or whatever that purportedly sends her
to Vega. There is great doubt in the minds of the controllers outside
the machine that it will work properly but she affirms her deep
conviction that the voyage should be undertaken in this fashion as
they continually check in with her during the launch countdown. See it
if you haven't already - a truly inspirational sci-fi (novel and
film). Also has a lot to say about the interface of science and
religion. Are you a Sagan freak? I miss Carl sorely...

>> Have teleported it to my screen...
> You should print it and put it in your kitchen or toilet, and put a
> big red cross on each step you understand well, so that your
> partner can see your progress. Well this is just basic self
> elementary encouragement tricks. Never mind.

Good idea. Given that she is ahead of me without even studying any of
this stuff, maybe SHE should put the big red cross on each step when
she is happy with my progress!

>>> Of course Everett could be wrong, and comp could be wrong, and
>>> naturalism could be right: but it is up to the naturalist to say
>>> what
>>> is the machine's atomic operation that a Turing machine cannot
>>> complete. If it is the generation of a truly random event, and if
>>> this
>>> is based on the wave collapse, then I can understand (but you will
>>> have to solve all the problem raised by the collapse, you will
>>> have to
>>> abandon the theory of relativity like Bohm and Bell suggested,
>>> etc.).
>>> Or you say like Searle that "only special machine can think:
>>> biological brain".
>> If Searle (and Penrose) are right, then why not a simple biological
>> brain transplant? Why bother with looking for "the right substitution
>> level" at all in this case?
>> Just pilfer a wet, messy brain from a road accident victim and shove
>> it into your skull. But where would we now stand with respect to the
>> indeterminacy?
>> I asked my partner today whether she felt she would be the same
>> person
>> after receiving a biological brain transplant and she said "Of course
>> not! I would now be the dead person whose brain I have inherited. Who
>> I am is generated only by MY brain." Proves she is a materialist/
>> physicalist, I guess. We all know people like this. Sigh.
> Ah gosh Kim, be careful or add enough smileys when you do jokes.

OK - will use emoticons from now on - I promise! (I am very slack
here, agreed, but then - as you now know - the Everything List Court
Jester reserves the right to lace a lot of his discourse with humour!
What are court jesters for, after all? Smilies ultimately weaken the
power of the humour, just like in (a good many but by no means all)
Hollywood films where the moral of the story is ALWAYS given at the
end in case the audience was too dumb or too drunk to follow the
discourse and its implications. There appears to me to be a certain
point in leaving the listener to wonder whether it was a joke or not -
this, for me, is the 'serious' aspect of humour, that I have alluded
to in the past - if that isn't too self-contradictory. Comes of being
a composer (of music) - an aesthete. I like to occasionally trick the
audience or test their ability to view something from an unexpected
perspective (maybe not the best thing to do with scientists,
mathematicians and logicians!). Example: in the second movement of Sir
William Walton's 1st Symphony (Scherzo, con Malizia) I say that there
is much "malicious use of musical humour" but some do not get this
when they hear it. As if the composer's own use of "con malizia" to
describe the mood and tempo of his piece does not already provide an
"external clue"... but musical humour is hard for many to appreciate,
particularly as here - in a symphony; an instrumental composition
where there are no words being sung to "explain" the accompanying
music. There is no musical equivalent of the emoticon because ALL of
music is an emotional "con job" - much poetry is the same - would you
ask Shakespeare to use smilies? ;-D

OK - we are doing serious explanatory work here so I will cut back on
the cryptic stuff

To get back on-topic:

Actually I wasn't joking! Sorry to be an "inconsistent machine" (or
more likely just a momentarily confused and chatty one). Up to now I
felt that the basis of MEC was the existence of the substitution level
which allows that all body parts, indeed anything "immaterial" is
simulable. Consciousness itself is not simulable as you say; because
consciousness is not even yet "immaterial" (having no shape, form,
ideal description etc.) It probably does not supervene on brain
activity but is the conjunction of the many-histories of the "I". For
me, that means that one functional brain (digi or wet) is as good as
another provided it functions correctly. A brain is, in the first
instance at least, a receiver, not a transmitter. We can transmit
thoughts, feelings, ideas etc. to each other only after we have
downloaded today's emails from Platonia.

I now accept though, that the thing that I wasn't taking into account
was the "encoding" of the neurons with the contents of the histories
as memories. Part of my personhood is reflected in the fact that I can
recall my own past.

> It is of course your partner who is right.
> Assuming the neurophysiological evidences, your biological wet brain
> in your skull is the one responsible for your personal memories,
> character and identity. That is why we have to scan and copy brain
> (in the teleportation experiences) at a sufficiently fine grained
> level.

But I have a digi-brain. Perhaps you already have most of its contents
backed-up on your system - so the scanning procedure can be
simplified; just a quick synchronisation required ;-)

> If I take your brain out of your skull, and put the brain of a pig
> in there: the pig survives, with your body.

entendu - the history-traces of pighood are encoded in the neurons of
its brain. I felt previously that these might evaporate on removal of
the pig's brain from its body - like volatile RAM. I guess this
thought, were it true, would be to assume that the mind is the "ghost
in the machine" and then we are no longer dealing with comp

> You die or disappear, in the usual clinical sense. I guess you are
> OK with this, I mean with this point, if not (re)read the 2.1 posts
> (or drink more coffee, I dunno ...).

Accompli - probably needs more study

> When your partner said "Who I am is generated only by MY brain", she
> is not making necessarily a "materialist commitment" . her statement
> could as well be interpreted as a computationalist commitment: she
> *has* a brain. Tell her that, assuming MEC, she could have more than
> one brain, with backup of instantaneous past state.


>> I then asked her if she would feel herself to be the same person
>> after
>> a digi-brain transplant. She responded that this was maybe possible,
>> but she felt dubious about it.
>> Would there in fact be any difference? After all, we are assuming
>> that
>> wet, messy brains and digi-brains are equivalent, all things
>> considered?
> With MEC (and the neurophysiological evidences) Wet-brain and digi-
> brain are equivalent in their potentialities (and are indeed
> equivalent with any universal machine).

This affirms my feeling, expressed earlier

> But once "programmed", by relative life events or by copy or
> whatever, they are no more identical and differentiates through
> memories and experiences. Nor is your computer hard disk identical
> with mine, despite they are both digi-brain, with similar capacities.

This is what I was missing. Virgin tabula rasa brains are difficult to
come across, I guess. Even the newborn does not possess this

> I am talking for the short terms, the everyday life prediction,
> which the UDA will show that they have to be explained or re-
> explained if we assume MEC.
> What you say could be interpreted again in a larger sense, at
> another level (once you identify yourself with the universal
> machine: then indeed you survive even with a pig brain substitution,
> but not in a useful way to derive the physical laws. It concerns the
> *very* long run only.
> Messy brains, digi-brains, whatever- brains, what makes us is what
> is written there.

I think you mean that they make us what is encoded in them, their
contents are all-important

> You would not be so happy if we substitute our hard disks, all right?

Might be a bit dull, yes.

>>> In that case we have to suppose something very
>>> special about the brain: it generates consciousness.
>> This made me laugh out loud. I just love it when you say things like
>> this. Perhaps we must give up on the notion that personhood has
>> anything at all to do with a brain?
> I'm afraid I must a bit temper your enthusiasm. Without my brain and
> my computer, it would be hard for me to answer your post. What will
> happens, is that MEC will show that the brain is not responsible for
> the existence of your consciousness, it is needed only to entangle
> your computations (going through to your states of mind) with mine,
> so that we can share a conversation, indeed an history (or a sheaf
> of similar histories). OK?

OK - it is more a question of the brain's role as a node or a hub -
not as a generator (except in the trivial, everyday sense)

>>> But this is just
>>> a blocking argument: it could be interesting only if it points on
>>> something special in the brain that a digital machine cannot
>>> imitate.
>>> Without such specification it is just equivalent with the
>>> *assumption*
>>> that the brain is not a digital machine.
>> Enter the soul, enter religion - enter the supernatural. Hummmph!!
> Soul? Of course it all depends on the sense of the words. I like to
> identify or define the 3-soul by the coded body/brain or its backup,
> and the 1-soul, by the owner of that code.

Makes sense. But we are computationalist practitioners. Materialist/
physicalists (like Dawkins and Dennett) still do not understand this.
I wish they did, because everything else they are doing I consider
heroic and positively necessary! Please get onto
and unburden yourself, Bruno!

> The immaterial one who choose a new body every morning and evening
> (if you remember 2.1).

Ah, oui

> Religion? Well, that could be more problematical indeed, like
> ideologies or anything using long term moral authoritative normative
> arguments (full of hidden or not logical errors usually).

THIS is the thing that Dawkins and Dennett heroically fight. Neither
have yet managed to say anything about ultimate reality, if you are

> Supernatural, well "natural" is already too much magical for me
> (unless it is for natural numbers of course ;).

Could this possibly be a Bruno "quotable quote?"

> Hummmph?? (well this means the same everywhere I guess, even for the
> extraterrestrials)
> Soon 2.4, 2.5, 2.6. Which correspond to UDA steps 4, 5, 6 on the
> slide and in the 2004 paper.
> No need of more math than we have already use for going to 2.6
> included.
> Then for 2.7; either you take my word for some key point, and then
> 2.7 can be made easily (as easily as the preceding steps), or, (as I
> secretly hope) you don't take my word and ask for the true
> understanding of the seventh step, but then we have to open the gate
> of mathematics.

I will need to invest a lot of time in grappling with that. Maybe
better if I just take your word for it! I will try though

> What is that point? It is the point of the existence of the
> universal machine. This has to be seen as:
> - a theorem in mathematical computer science
> - a schema of theorems in mathematical computer science
> - a thesis overlapping mathematics and philosophy

When does it become an engineering problem that we can turn over to
Brent? ;-)

> To understand this, it is useful to understand the explosive "many
> incompleteness" which is the price that the universal machine has to
> pay for that universality. Assuming the MEC hypothesis, it is a big
> price *we* have to pay ...

The prison of our consciousness - we cannot get outside

> 2.7 eliminates all the trace of "science-fiction" of the preceding
> steps, and is needed to understand that the UD Argument is an
> eliminative argument, that is a proof, up to a remaining "big"
> hypothesis: the existence of a "concrete" universal dovetailing.

I can "see" the UD? What does it look like?

> Then 2.8, UDA 8, or the MGA (Movie Graph Argument) eliminates that
> remaining "big" hypothesis, and completes the reversal. Darwin has
> to be extended to the physical laws, they evolve through an
> arithmetical self-reflection "process".

Here Dawkins may want to agree with you but he hasn't the right to
yet, being physicalist. Send him a bag of Salvia, Doctor....

> Then 3? (cf the plan). It will depend of the appetite.

My eyes are ALWAYS bigger than my belly (= my enthusiasm to understand
always surpasses my technical ability to do so. I am working on that,
with your expert help.)

> UDA is enough to understand the reduction of physics to the theology
> of numbers. 3 is really the "UDA for the dummies", where the dummy
> person here *is* the (chatty) universal machine who knows she is
> universal.

Well, that sure sounds like moi. Thanks for being so politically-
correct about it!!!

> 3 is really far simpler that the UDA, given that for 3 we really
> presuppose only the understanding of three very elementary axioms of
> arithmetic. Unfortunately, by this very token, by the fact that the
> pure virgin umprogrammed universal machine is so dummy, the UDA
> becomes far longer, and mathematics get only more sophisticated,
> because we have to shorten the conversation. It happens that Gödel,
> Löb, Solovay and others have already make the hard part of that
> shortening. Take it easy, one step at a time.

VERY small steps, in my case. The tempo will doubtless quicken later.
I can always play the music at a faster tempo after I know the notes :-)



> Best,
> Bruno
> >

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Received on Tue Dec 30 2008 - 21:02:41 PST

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