Re: Emulation vs. Simulation

From: Mikael Johansson (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 00:01:41 MST

> On Tue, 27 Mar 2001, Mikael Johansson wrote:
> > Of course a human brain without neural activity is not concious at that
> > moment -- then again, that human brain won't be using these 'lookup
> > since a human brain without neural activity hardly is having any
activity at
> > all (ex definitio).
> We need a working term for a 'potential' consciousness (this is kind of
> the logical complement of a zombie). I.e. an informatic state, that if
> 'runs' on a computer that is designed to execute that "bit collection"
> that when executed results is a "consciousness". This is perhaps similar
> to the 'potential' human that exists in a developing embryo or fetus.
> (It is not yet self aware, but has the potential to become so given
> sufficient resources that are not normally under its control.)

Isn't 'embryo' up to it?

> > But I still don't buy -- myself -- the argument that the consciousness
> > not of an entity relies entirely on their internal representation; that
> > whether they react according to a lookup table, or according to some
> > mystical other.
> I think 'consciousness' is a combination of things, not the least of which
> include:
> (a) The ability to "grab onto" the behavioral (director) bit-stream;
> (b) The ability to create a sim into which the bit-stream is redirected;
> (c) The ability to view yourself as the 'actor' in the sim;
> (d) The ability to run the sim forward into future time with reasonable
> accuracy;
> (e) The ability to evaluate the results of the sim;
> (f) The ability to choose to execute or not execute the sim in

yup. I agree with this. It might be that I'm too much of a mathematician --
I still don't see why this cannot be isomorphic to some hypothetical
function that works on indata and spits out a reaction....

> > This mini-sim, how is it built? What does it do?
> You have to read William Calvin on this. He explains it far better
> than I can. It essentially involves the development of an internal
> recreation of what needs to be done to manifest something in reality.
> (Imagining throwing a ball, "dreaming" about what you want to do, etc.)


> > What tells you that it cannot be equivalent to some sort of 'lookup
> > to some sort of function mapping the input (that is output from the
> > function) to some sort of output (the desirability rating)?
> Once you have run the mini-sim, I'm sure the 'evaluation' of the
> results probably does involve some kind of lookup in your experience
> table to grade the result. Imagine 'proposing' marriage to a woman
> (or for the woman, imagine being 'proposed to'). How do you decide
> the 'merit' of the quality of the proposal or the answer? It isn't
> like most of us have dozens of experiences under these conditions.
> On the other hand we do have dozens of experiences crossing the
> street and evaluate our risk of being hit by a car with an estimate
> of the distance, vehicle velocity, our rate of crossing the street,
> etc. The lookup table approach works fine for many behaviors.

But still -- at one given time, and one given women, and one exact set of
circumstances, I cannot quite see the possibility of ambiguity; once you've
settled on her merits, you have settled on her merits. You might decide
otherwise some other time, but then it wouldn't be that exact set of
circumstances anymore...

> > It still seems to be two functions; that are composed in order to form
> > 'consciousness' according to you -- so what says that this composite
> > function isn't conscious in itself?
> I would agree that 'consciousness' is a combination of the lookup-tables
> and the evaluation of the results of the tables. The process of
> developing 'consciousness', is perhaps the primary thing that babies
> learn. They must accumulate a lot of information of what works and what
> doesn't and develop the ability to use it. However the information
> "itself" does not provide consciousness. Minimal consciousness probably
> requires an (a), (b) and (e) above; then (f) develops; and finally
> one gains sufficient experience for (d) to work reliably and if
> one is moderately enlightened (c) begins to play a role.
> Good points though, I wouldn't have broken it down like I
> do above, if you hadn't asked the questions.

Tnx ;-)

> Robert

// Mikael Johansson

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