Re: When Humans are Obsolete (MSNBC)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 24 Mar 1999 11:25:40 -0800 (PST)

>> Basically, I used to be a Strong AIer, until I tried to define
>> computation in observer-independent terms - whether process A
>> instantiates process B - and wound up with a lot of basic elements
>> of cognition (many of which made it into _Coding_) but no objective
>> definition. I concluded that the Turing formalism formalized human
>> reasoning rather than physical law. Fini.

Even if you are correct, though, this has little bearing on the possibility if articial conciousness. Turning computability only limits a small subclass of machines, and says nothing about what machines in general can be made to do. It may very well not be possible to upload human consciousness into a deterministic algorithm, but it should still be possible to upload it--or at least reproduce it--in some other specialized chunk of silicon or other hardware. Probably a collection of task-specialized interacting hardware modules, including some number of computation modules, would do the trick nicely. After all, even if we can't agree on how to define consciousness, we cannot ignore that it exists in us, and there's no hardware in us that physical law prevents us from functionally simulating.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC