Re: Reversible Computation and Experience

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu May 10 2001 - 19:38:46 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Jim then quotes the bizarre scene that starts on p. 78:
> >"Experiment two, trial number one. Reverse order.
> >
> >Paul counted, 'One. Two. Three.'... After an initial
> >leap into the future...In real time, the first thing to
> >be computed would be his model-time-final brain state,
> >complete with memories of everything that 'had happened'
> >in the 'preceding' ten seconds....
> Anyway, let me digress to explain how Egan was probably going wrong.
> I used to think that I knew exactly how it happened. If you ask anyone
> who is reading this what a good mathematical model of the conscious
> development in real time of an organism should be, they'll sooner or
> later point you in the direction of non-linear dynamics (chaos theory),
> because of the way that our lives, as well as so many other physical
> phenomena, exhibit features not found in differential equations.

The three-body problem is unsolveable for time T without computing all the
intervening states between now and T. One presumes that the same holds of
the hundred-trillion-synapse problem. Egan's scenario, which involves
selectively refusing to compute certain intervening periods, is therefore

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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