Re: :Weird mysterious ineffable stuff

Green Sound (
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 02:51:50 0100

When I said that a Turing machine had pre-determined state transitions, I didn't mean environmental wiring. I meant that each state transition was predictable, given the current internal state and input state. This is in contrast to a machine that contains non-deterministic elements where state transitions are unpredictable.

I'm saying that a Turing machine can display these "magical qualities", but only if it interacts with a non-deterministic chaotic system, i.e. our world affected by indeterminate quantum dynamics bubbling up through electron motion, atomic vibration, etc.

I believe human intelligence is Turing computable and doesn't require unpredictable, ineffable components. For example, a frequent occurrence in emergency rooms is with a head trauma victim that will state something very unique to the moment. But they will restate it word for word every ten minutes as if they just realized it. Like their software is going, "If these conditions exist then output this phrase." Watching this, the mystical qualities of intelligence and free will seem to disappear and you are left with a robot.

So what happened to the magical qualities we associate with sentience if we are completely predictable? They come from our environment, the robot always responds to the input from the chaotic system in a predictable manner, but this response causes the system to produce a new unpredictable input. I think something happens in the combination of the absolute predictability of the Turing machine, and the absolute undeterminability of our world at the quantum level.

Anyways, do you really think the universe would allow you to instantiate any consciousness without knowing what its internal experience was? Interaction is the safety valve for preventing accidental hells.