Re: Observers

From: Hal Ruhl <>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 20:46:11 -0400

John Mikes responded:

At 09:17 AM 4/22/2004, you wrote:


>I consider an 'observer' (unqualified as to 'its' feature-essence)
>anything that acknowledges information. A second step, leading
>to my substitute definition of the ominous consciousness - rather
>pan-sesitivity, a related term for 'observer' - is the "response" to
>such 'acknowledged' information, any form , as storage, reaction,
>mere reference, or some change in qualia.
>I doubt the relevance of this to what you had in mind.
>John Mikes

Actually that is not too far from where I wanted to start.

An experiment:

Suppose we set up a 2D cellular automaton. In this automaton there
develops a stationary cluster of cells that has some interior cells
cyclically switching color - white/black/white/black... - call it Dance
A. There also develops a stationary cluster of cells - Dance B - that
shoots one or more small dances - Dance C's - towards Dance A with some
arbitrary cyclic or acyclic timing.

Now list possible events and categorize them such as:

1) A C reaches A, vanishes and later reappears at the opposite side of A
and continues on, never having changed A. B is unchanged. Did an
observation take place and if yes what was it?

2) Same as #1 but when C moves on the interior cell color flips of A have
changed. Same question as for #1.

3) Same as #1 but when C moves on A has moved one cell pitch closer to B
with no other changes to A. Same question.

etc. etc.

What is the base level(s) and character(s) of "observation" in this venue?

Stephen Paul King responded:

At 03:12 PM 4/22/2004, you wrote:
>Dear Hal,
> Your question is one that I have been trying to address for a long time.
>Since we have to consider the notion that an observer cannot have itself
>directly as an object of experience,

I think that the only two events are of note

1) Two dances collide. The collision results in changes to none, one, or both.

2) A part of a large dance collides with another part of the same dance.

#2 might allow self observation depending on what "observation" is.

>it seems to me that we can instead
>consider how the observables of one observer are different from another's in
>a way to, indirectly, defining and distinguish one observer from another.

> My idea is to start with the notion of a class X of all possible
>"observables" (in anthropomorphic terms: perceptions) and think about how
>they might be partitioned up such that each "observer" would be associated
>with some subclass of X.
> We notice immediately that the idea of a "light cone structure" (used in
>Relativity) is related to this class.
> Comments?

Dances may merge but not overlap.
Received on Thu Apr 22 2004 - 20:49:29 PDT

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