Re: Torture yet again

From: Eugen Leitl <>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 08:59:53 +0200

On Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 10:53:31AM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:

> > You can be in two places at the same time, but you can't
> > enjoy two different scenarios, or think individual thoughts.
> I disagree. Again, you slide back and forth between instantiations
> and programs, which, as you know, are not the same thing. What you

No, a system consists of a state, and iterated transformation
upon a state. The physical system human, and physical laws
acting upon it.

The assembly of bits in a computer, and iterated transformation the
computational engine is applying upon it. Whether that engine is software or
hardware, is only relevant for implementation reasons.

For complex organisms state dominates over the engine in terms of number of
bits and complexity of its evolution.

> have written is true of an instance. Were we to be completely

An instance is a process, execution of a static image. Processes are only the
same when their trajectory (system evolution over state space) is identical.

> consistent using your terminology, then we would have to say
> that you could not think A and then think B, because each instance
> of you (in time, this time) cannot think more than one thing.

How do you measure whether two instances are the same? By comparing each
individual frame of the trajectory, bit by bit. If A is a sequence of frames
as is B, both belonging to the same system evolving in time, they will not be
same, unless forced by external constraints. Panta rhei, I am no longer the
person I was yesteryear, etc.

You have to look for more abstract homologies, extracting features from
the trajectory, and comparing them.

Two synchronized systems produce the same trajectory, by definition.

> A program can run in two different places at the same time, and
> the program (treated as the pattern) is perfectly capable of
> receiving input X in one location at the same time that it

No, program is the wrong model. You can have identical pieces of a bit
pattern (CD-ROM, human zygote), but they diverge when instantiated on
different machines, given different input. Even given very homogenous
instances (say, one C. elegans and another with very similiar neuranatomy,
since genetically determined) they're processing different information, and
representing different environments (e.g. sensing a chemical gradient).

> receives input Y in another. It would then be correct to say
> that the program was enjoying two different scenarios at the
> same time.

No, it's not the same program. You could say the space between your ears and
mine enjoys the same physical laws, though. Both the arrangement of matter
and the state of that matter (frozen-frame picture of spikes and gradients,
gene activity, etc.etc) are very different.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820  
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

Received on Mon Jun 27 2005 - 03:08:53 PDT

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