Re: distributed AI was Re: computronium prime-oxide

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 19 Nov 1998 15:12:37 -0500

Hal Finney wrote:

> Timothy Bates, <>, writes:
> > I asked Daniel Dennett if he was a Turing functionalist: he said yes and
> > no ;-)
> >
> > I think he said yes, but that interaction is critical, he views
> > intelligence as being embedded in the machines environment as well as in
> > its own hardware. For this reason he doubted that a paper tape Turing
> > machine could be conscious as the environmental context on which
> > consciousness is scaffolded (in his, but not my) view, would be invisible
> > to it: a kind of Nyquist limit for implementation speeds.
> I don't understand this view.
> Do you think Dennett would predict that a person would instantly become
> unconscious if he were put into a complete sensory deprivation booth?
> It seems pretty obvious to me that he would continue to be conscious.
> There was a fad for sensory deprivation in the 1970s and from what I
> understand you sometimes would begin to hallucinate after a while, but
> you certainly still remained conscious (and I suspect the hallucination
> had much to do with expectations).

> In any case, surely the Turing machine could include a modest VR
> simulation in addition to the brain simulation, sufficient to provide
> virtual environmental interaction. Or would Dennett claim that
> consciousness only occurs when the TM interacts with the "real world"?
> That would seem absurd.

I dunno. Think of a fetus. Do you know of any cases whatsoever where the fetus was aware and thinking while in the womb, which is a remarkable sensory deprivation chamber. A human being does not really become aware until at least a few weeks to a few months after being born. They need time to learn how to sort out all of the sensory imput into a rational format.

Mike Lorrey