Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 00:45:17 +1000

2009/4/29 Jesse Mazer <>:

>>And in the possibility space of weird alien
>> computers it seems to me that there will always be a computer
>> isomorphic with the vibration of atoms in a given rock.
> What do you mean by "weird alien computers"? If we had a way of defining the
> notion of "causal structure", I'm sure it would be true that in the space of
> all computer programs (running on any sort of computer) there would be
> programs whose causal structure was isomorphic of the causal structure of
> vibrations in a rock, but this might be quite distinct from the causal
> structure associated with the brains of sentient observers.

Two computers of different architecture running the same program will
go through, on the face of it, completely different physical activity.
Now consider every possible general purpose computer, or every
possible Turing complete machine, running a particular program. I
don't know how to show this rigorously, but it seems to me that the
physical activity in a rock will mirror the physical activity in at
least one these possible computers, and that this requirement will be
easier to satisfy the shorter the period of the computation under

>> requirement becomes even easier to satisfy if we allow a computation
>> to be broken up into short intervals on separate computers of
>> different design, with the final stream of consciousness requiring
>> nothing to bind it together other than the content of the individual
>> OM's.
> As long as the separate computers are each passing the results of their
> computation on to the next computer in the series, then we can talk about
> the causal structure instantiated by the whole series. And if they aren't,
> then according to the idea of associating OMs with causal structures, we
> might have to conclude that these computers are not really instantiating an
> OM of a complex humanlike observer even if by some outrageous coincidence
> the output of all these separate computers *looked* just like the output of
> a single computer running a simulation of the brain of a humanlike observer.

I would have said that every computer can generate an OM in complete
causal isolation from every other computer, and the OM's still
associate to form a stream of consciousness simply by virtue of their
content. That seems to me perhaps the main utility of the idea of
OM's. But it appears you agree with Brent that this association won't
happen (or at least, there will be a gap at the seams) unless the
computers are causally connected.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Thu Apr 30 2009 - 00:45:17 PDT

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