Re: Mindless Thought Experiments

From: Krekoski Ross (
Date: Mon Mar 03 2008 - 15:26:51 MST

I hope you dont mean what I think you do by self contained...

It would be almost akin to saying "I have an apple in front of me, it has no
properties and does not interact causally with anything in the universe, but
its definately there."



On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 12:41 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <>

> On 03/03/2008, Krekoski Ross <> wrote:
> > yes, but thats not the point. You can have a random number generator
> > (assuming such a thing exists) that outputs an arbitrarily long string
> of
> > digits every n seconds. The number of molecular configurations in the
> human
> > brain, or even the number of potential n second long simulations of the
> > human brain is a vast but finite number, therefore eventually our random
> > number generator will output an accurate n-second long simulation of our
> > brain, but the number generator is not intelligent.
> Certainly, the computation hidden in noise will not interact
> intelligently (or even stupidly) with its environment. It lacks the
> essential utility of a computation, which is to accept an input and
> produce an output that can be then used for some other purpose. If the
> thermal motion of atoms in a gas could be seen under the right
> interpretation as an implementation of the calculation of pi, so what?
> It doesn't do anyone any good.
> But consider a special class of computations: inputless,
> self-contained virtual environments with conscious inhabitants. If
> these arise in noise, they're not going to pass any Turing test
> because by definition they cannot interact meaningfully with the
> environment at the level of their implementation. However, that we
> can't talk to them should not make any difference to the inhabitants
> in the computation themselves, who are intelligent with respect to
> their own environment. Such forever hidden and inputless computations
> must be occurring everywhere.
> I see this as a consequence of functionalism, and unlike Lanier and
> some others I don't see it as a problem for functionalism.
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

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