Re: Emulation vs. Simulation

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 20:40:11 MST

Emlyn James O'Regan wrote
> Something to consider about lookup tables; the giant Eugene
> Leitl lookup table cannot learn.

> But perhaps we are only talking about putting the tabulated
> Eugene into situations identical to those that the real
> Eugene has experienced. In this case, you wouldn't need
> learning possibly, as long as an input to the lookup table
> is time...
> At time x, in situation y, Gene does Z
> At time x', in situation y, Gene does Z'
> But, assuming that it can still work... is it conscious?
> I've seen no argument to suggest that it is any more or
> less conscious than the original Gene.

In my original description of the Eugene Leitl lookup table,
I specified that trillions of Earths would be run to generate
all the possible situations in which Eugene would decide
what he would do and say in every conceivable situation. Only
in this way would the resultant piece of computronium do
everything that a real flesh-and-blood, or an uploaded, Eugene
would do. Indeed it would learn, in the sense that you could
tell it something that it did not appear to know, but then
would appear to know on subsequent occasions.

Remember, you could have all sorts of adventures with this
entity, roaming over our present day Earth in the search of
fun times and high living. You and he would indeed become
bosom companions, and share many moments of high emotion.
However you may feel about Eugene now, you'd get to know
the real person.

Yet in this scenario, the lights are on, but no one is home!
The piece of computronium experiences nothing. Nor is it
conscious, even though it would pass any test as easily as
the real Eugene does.

This is what's striking about the lookup table scenario. It
passes the Turing test, yet we hesitate to say that it is
intelligent. It acts completely indistinguishably from a
real human being, but we cannot, I claim, believe that it
feels anything or is even as conscious as an insect.

The reason is: take any five minute sequence of your best
moments with this "Eugene Leitl": while all the laughing
and rollicking corresponds to non-trivial data analyses
and information flow in your head, it's almost a random
sequence of lookups in "his". And, to reinterate, that
sequence would be no different if it were activated in
truly random order, or just layed out in a linear order
somewhere without being fetched at all. And we are right
back to the silly Theory of Dust: it is simply absurd to
think that the same patterns that make up your life or mine,
though they could be "found" in any large enough nebula or
dust-cloud, are in those places anything but completely inert.

Lee Corbin

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