RE: 2001 Foresight Gathering and theories of the mind

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 10:53:22 MDT

> My aim would be to get people to consider, as a serious
> possibility, that the mind is essentially quantum in
> some regard. This is not a wild contingency or an idle
> speculation; it's only a few steps away from things we
> already know, and if true it is likely to have profound
> consequences for the shape of things to come.

Well, Mitch, I'll be at Foresight, but I reckon I'll be too busy talking up
Webmind to serve as your proxy ;>

My take on the quantum mind, as you know, is this :

1) It's moderately like that the ~brain~ is in some important sense a
macroscopic quantum system

2) The ~mind~ is a nonphysical entity -- a pattern of organization of
patterns -- and is not intrinsically tied to any particular set of physical

3) It's possible that quantum computing as manifested in the brain is
important to how the human mind works. For instance, maybe the mind uses QM
to do efficient average-case problem-solving.

4) Even if 3 is true, this doesn't mean a digital computer using non-QM
problem-solving techniques couldn't equal or even exceed the intelligence of
a human being. Digital computers have other advantages, such as precision
of calculations...

5) Consciousness does, in my view, have a lot to do with the ~unknown~,
hence with subjective randomness. But QM is by no means the only source of
subjective randomness in the world. Chaos is another, which occurs in
classical systems. (Chaotic systems may be non-random in the perspective of
some mythical observer with infinite-precision data, but in the perspective
of real observers, they're as random as quantum systems. And consciousness
is perceived by real observers.)


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