Re: Emulation vs. Simulation

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 13:08:54 MST wrote

> Hmmm, so the point is whether the observer (zombie) takes an
> emotional interest in what task he has been 'programmed' to
> respond to, which implies the freudian term, ego. An analogy
> might be in a horror movie where the zombie chases after the
> victim because 'brain stops pain' rather then the non-zombie
> who wants to kick the victim's ass to the curb, out of pure
> vengence or spite.

> It's almost better to change the question, then, to whether
> I am a zombie or an emotional zombie? Either way, I have
> to pay taxes. Or more significantly, does qualia matter?

I think that you are visualizing a zombie as a self-contained
robot of some kind. Dennett, Hal Finney, me, and many others
maintain that any self-contained unit that behaves at a level
that is indistinguishable from human, MUST have consciousness,
feelings, etc. (or more).

In other words, in the classic definition, there cannot be any
such thing as a zombie. So no observer can be a zombie, because
they cannot exist. It's either an emulation --- in which case
it has everything that we do, or it's a simulation --- in which
case it's merely a portrayal, a moving picture, as it were.

If what is chasing you is self-contained, has intelligence,
appears to have emotions ("Kill! Kill!"), then it's a creature
that indeed does have consciousness, even emotions, however muted.
(Antoniu Damiaso "A Feeling of What Happens", and several
evolutionary biologists like Geoffrey Miller "The Mating Mind"
and Sarah Hrdy "Mother Nature", explain the need for emotion
for the making of decisions in people and animals.)

But if a three-dimensional holographic portrayal (that looks
just like Wolfman) appears in your office or living room, and
begins to chase you ("Kill! Maim!"), yet in truth happens to
be a puppet manipulated by an SI, then "it" isn't really a
creature at all, only an image of one. So even if you deliver
an insult so graphic that it would cripple any human-level
creature, the image, of course, will be unaffected, and
the SI will only chuckle.

So, since we maintain zombies to be impossible, we say that you
cannot be either kind. As for "do qualia matter?", that's a
philosophic death spiral. Dennett is right in saying that
the concept of qualia is one that we can do without.

Lee Corbin

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