RE: Re: The number 8. A TOE?

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 08:41:32 -0800

Bruno Marchal writes:
> Methodologically your ON theory suffers (at first sight)the same
> problem as Wolfram, or Schmidhuber's approaches. The problem consists in
> failing to realise the fact that if we are turing-emulable, then
> the association between mind-dynamics and matter-dynamics cannot be
> one-one. You can still attach a mind to the appearance of a
> machine, but you cannot attach a machine to the appearance of a
> mind, you can only attach an infinity of machines, and histories,
> to the appearance of a mind.

I think what you are saying is that if a mind can be implemented by more
than one machine, there is first-person indeterminacy about which
machine is immplementing it.

However, wouldn't it still be the case that to the extent that the mind
can look out and see the machine, learn about the machine and its rules,
that it will still find only a unique answer? There would be a subjective
"split" similar to the MWI splits. For all possible observations in a
given experiment to learn the natural laws of the universe/machine that
was running the mind, the mind will split into subsets that observe each
possible result.

So it is still possible to make progress on the question of the nature of
the machine that is the universe, just as you can make progress on any
other observational question, right?

Also, isn't it possible that, once enough observations have been made,
there is essentially only one answer to the question about what this
machine is like? Just as there will often be only one answer to any
other factual question?

Of course, it's always possible that the machine is itself being emulated
by another machine, since one computer can emulate another. But we could
still at least say that the observed laws of physics correspond to a
particular computer program which could be most naturally implemented on a
particular architecture. We can never be sure that the universe machine
isn't sitting in someone's basement in a super-universe with totally
different laws of physics, but we can at least define the laws of physics
of our own universe, in terms of a computer program or mathematical model.

Hal Finney
Received on Fri Nov 22 2002 - 11:42:43 PST

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