Re: History-less observer moments

From: Jacques Mallah <>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 16:07:24 -0700 (PDT)

--- Russell Standish <> wrote:
> Jacques Mallah wrote:
> > No, the AP isn't rocket science.
> Hence the conundrum. I posed the question sometime
> back about whether a dog's consiousness suffices. I
> don't believe this question has been
> satisfactorily resolved.

    I know some people think their dogs are smart, but
I think most dogs don't understand the AP.

> If a baby's consciousness suffices for the
> AP, then this spells big problems for your argument
> against QTI. If however, the being an adult human
> being is required, then you escape the problem.

    I can see no reason why the above statements might
be true.

> However, your argument would predict that I would
> remain forever youthful (I should be so happy!).

    No, it doesn't. I hope you're kidding. You won't
"remain forever" at all.
> > > Computationalism requires time in order to
> > > compute the observation. No time, no
> >
> > Well, an implementation (as it has so far been
> > defined) requires a system with the form of an
> > initial value problem, hence with a time, to
> > implement it.

> Here, you are losing me. What do implementations and
> state transitions have to do with the topic of
> conversation?

    You were saying something cryptic about how time
is needed to "compute the observation" and that it was
supposedly a problem somehow. I attempted to address
that with some statements in plain English that seemed

> Well, let's find a term we can agree on to describe
> the property of being able to emulate a UTM. Since
> you object to "computability", its your turn to come
> up with a suggestion.

    OK. How about "Turing universality"?
> > > If a computation can be conscious, then any
> > > Universal Turing Machine can perform the
> > > computation, and be conscious.

> > It would still need to run one of the right
> > programs.
> Irrelevant!

    Maybe to you.

> > > I understood that conputationalism also required
> > > that any conscious entity can emulate a UTM.
> >
> > Absolutely not. For example, the human brain
> > has a finite memory, so it can't emulate a UTM.
> All you need to do is supply an infinite tape to the
> human being, and it does quite a nice job of it.

    I'd like to see that. "Hey, Joe. Here's an
infinite tape. Have I got a job for you ..."
    While you're allowing supplies to be brought in,
why not get an electric Turing head or two? It's a
cheap package deal when you buy the tape. Then Joe
could sit back and relax, maybe oil it once in a
You also get the bitstring program Microsoft Observer
1.0 with the package, said to be a simulation of Bill
Gates, but it's buggy.

> > If by 'you' you
> > mean your current observer-moment, you have no
> > history. If by 'you' you mean some set of
> > observer-moments with certain characteristics, you
> > still have to consider the effective probability
> > various ages for the observer-moments *within*
> > that set.

> You are still sampling independently. This is simply
> not the case.

    Is it not true that you do not simultaneously
experience all the moments of your life? No, so it
means something to ask: How old are you? It is thus a
legitimate question for Bayesian inquiry. I wouldn't
use the word "sampling". But it's obvious that the
same considerations of effective probability apply to
age within the set you call "you" as to any
characteristic within any set of observer-moments.
    Your attempt to pretend otherwise is ridiculous.
It's similar to what Fritz Griffith was saying when I
had to explain effective probability to him, but at
least he was honest enough to apply that across the

- - - - - - -
               Jacques Mallah (
         Physicist / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
         My URL:

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Received on Thu May 18 2000 - 16:39:53 PDT

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