Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Mar 24 2008 - 21:34:27 MDT

Matt writes
> Suppose you have a 3 way Turing test between a human, a GLUT, and a human
> whose memory is set to read-only at the start of the test (or equivalently,
> whose mental state is reset after each question). Is the read-only human
> conscious?

Of course the read-only human is conscious. Suppose it's only Homer,
and he's only reciting the Iliad around a campfire. We adjust his nervous
system so that during the narration, on which he is totally focused,
neither the campfire, nor any of the sounds, nor any other of his
senses are leaving any record whatsoever in his memory. (Naturally
we have to idealize this a bit in order to address, in principle, the
answer to your idealized "read-only human" question.)

It may be easy for some to say that there is no such thing as consciousness,
but someday we'll have much more thorough characterizations of it than
we do now, and the argument that they're wrong will be all the more solid.

In the meantime, you can choose to believe that the Alien itself and its
many copies were no more conscious while they were answering the
26^10000 possible questions, than is the relatively simple little lookup
device they left behind. If so, then you're quite wrong.


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