> A. It is a matter of interpretation whether a given system can be
> described as a computer running a specified program P
> B. Any conscious entity can be created ("instantiated") by running the
> proper program
> C. It is an objective matter whether a given conscious entity exists
This is one of the best summations of the dilemna I've ever seen.
I should note that one of the reasons I choose to deny B is because I feel that the "spirit" of physical law strongly differs from the "spirit" of Turing computability, and I imagine that physical law will eventually be found to be noncomputable.
Examples would be quantum randomness and the lack of a space of simultaneity.
Given that the physical Universe is probably noncomputable, why *should* I believe B, when it seems not to fit A and C? I've seen no counterexample of A and have no strong reason to doubt C.
But show me an objective way to define "instantiation" (that I can't poke three dozen holes in), and I'll certainly have to rethink my position.
-- email@example.com Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://pobox.com/~sentience/AI_design.temp.html http://pobox.com/~sentience/singul_arity.html Disclaimer: Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you everything I think I know.