RE: a description of you + a description of billiard ball can bruise you?

From: Lee Corbin <>
Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 23:55:57 -0700

Jonathan writes

> Lee writes:
> > No, the important claims that Bruno makes go far beyond. He
> > attempts to derive physics from the theory of computation
> > (i.e., recursive functions, effective computability,
> > incompleteness, and unsolvability).
> > His is also one set of the claims, hypotheses, and conjectures
> > that attempt to reduce physics to a completely timeless abstract world.
> > Julian Barbour, in The End of Time, gave, as you probably
> > know, one of the most brilliant presentations from this perspective.
> Sure; but I was just addressing the observation by Bruno that a description
> of a ball can bruise you (if you are also a description). That observation
> is not unique to Bruno's Comp; it applies to any theory that accepts the
> premise of Strong AI.

I'm astonished to hear this; I thought that "strong AI" referred
merely to the claim that fully human or beyond intelligence might
be achieved by automatic machinery even if the programs only
push bits around one at a time. In other words, what distinguished
the strong AI camp from the weak AI camp was that the latter
believed that more is needed somehow or other: perhaps parallel
processing; perhaps biological program instantiation; perhaps
quantum gravity tubules or... something.

Also, strong vs. weak was/is distinguished so far as I know by
the claim about what is the best *practical* road to AI. That is,
some in the weak AI camp acknowledge that a purely "symbolic"
machine may some day achieve working human intelligence, just that
this is not the way most nearly at hand, (most easily achieved).

As far as believing that a billiard-ball *machine* or a hydraulic
machine might instantiate me (as a running program), I for one *do*
believe that. So in my understanding of the terms, as I said above,
then it follows that I myself am in the strong AI camp (ontologically).

But I (and I know I speak for others) don't think that I'm only
a description; we believe that we must be processes running during
some time interval on some kind of hardware in some physical reality.
So we are as yet unmoved :-) by Bruno's descriptions.

Received on Thu May 19 2005 - 03:04:46 PDT

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