Re: Emulation vs. Simulation

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 21:46:40 MST

On Wed, 21 Mar 2001 Robert J. Bradbury wrote a long
paragraph diving into "genes vs. environment",
"unconscious vs. conscious", the Turing test, zombies,
Game Theory, and the course of history!

I have studied it at length, and I think that there are
some very valid points there, but I don't think that
we mean the same thing by "consciousness", and I know
that we don't mean the same thing by "zombie".

I would heartily recommend that you read parts of Daniel
Dennett's "Consciousness Explained", if for no other reason
than to find out how most philosophers use a number of terms,
and how the debates about some of these issues have been
conventionally framed.

But today, and perhaps in the next several days, I'll try
to directly respond to some portion of your paragraphs.

First, unless you were just joking, there really isn't
any need for:

> Well since I'm unsure whether I'm dealing with the "real"
> Lee (in which case I would say, "no you silly dimwit, thats
> simply wrong") or the sim/zombie Lee (for whom I have much
> more sympathy), to whom I would respond, "No kind sir, I
> would suggest you think about this a bit further")...
> [The lack of cycles available to the sim'ed Lee could
> explain this error.]
If you really haven't read much about these issues, e.g.,
Dennett, then perhaps it would be best to be a little
more cautious in your castigations :-)

> It is pure fantasy to believe that zombies could not be
> successfully emulated using a combination of the knowledge
> of the underlying biology of humans and a very large
> statistical database of how humans act in various
> circumstances.

Okay, to start: we may not be agreeing about what a zombie is.
Here is Dennett's definition, p. 72-73 of Consciousness
Explained: "According to common agreement among philosophers,
a zombie is or would be a human being who exhibits perfectly
natural, alert, loquascious, vivacious behavior but is in
fact not conscious at all, but rather some sort of automaton."

Of course, you may mean by "conscious" something a little
different from what the philosophers mean, (or are trying
to mean!), also.

Let's proceed slowly, here, and sorry that space prevents
me from replying at length to all your points today.

Lee Corbin

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