**From:** xgl (*xli03@emory.edu*)

**Date:** Sun Nov 26 2000 - 12:52:51 MST

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On Sat, 25 Nov 2000 hal@finney.org wrote:

*> Eliezer writes:
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*>
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*> > Turing's diagonalization theorem can be expressed as follows: A mind
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*> > cannot perfectly describe itself because there is always, inescapably,
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*> > some part of the mind which at that moment is observing and is not itself
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*> > being observed. The observer is always smaller than the observed, and
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*> > thus cannot perfectly describe it.
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*>
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*> I'm not convinced of this argument. It sounds like it could equally well
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*> "prove" that self-reproducing automata are impossible, because they have
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*> to have a model of themselves, and the model is always smaller than
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*> the total automaton, hence there must be part that can't be modelled.
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*> When people first go to write a self reproducing program they run into
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*> this, and in some cases they may conclude that it is impossible, if
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*> they don't stumble onto the trick. Yet von Neumann showed and biology
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*> confirms that self reproduction is entirely possible.
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*>
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*> I'd say the reason is that the model is isomorphic (via some mapping)
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*> to the system minus the model, and so adding the model does not increase
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*> the information in the system.
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*>
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*> Couldn't a mind's mental model share the same property?
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*>
*

well, in the case of self-reproducing automata, "there's no one

home." _our_ minds (external to the automaton) can distinguish that the

automaton is performing perfect self-replication, but it is far from

obvious that the automaton itself enjoys the same degree of

discrimination.

-x

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