Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Tue Apr 01 2008 - 22:46:47 MDT

--- Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> 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.)

That is not the same. He will still remember remembering.

> 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.

If you define consciousness as a sequence S of algorithmically similar states
(K(S_n+1|S_n) = O(1)) then certainly it exists.

> 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.

They are not functionally equivalent. The Alien has episodic memory and the
GLUT does not.

-- Matt Mahoney,

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:01:02 MDT