Re: Platonic Computation and OMs

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sun Apr 06 2008 - 11:04:31 MDT

Mike writes

> Lee wrote:
>> This thread, about Observer Moments and Computations
>> inherently taking place in "platonia" continues a discussion
>> from "The GLUT and Functionalism".
> [For a moment] I thought the subject line was "Platonic
> Computronium"
> It was an interesting koan-style thought: what would you call a
> virtual object being computed by platonic computronium?

At first thought, I would suppose that the substrate didn't matter.
That is, it wouldn't seem to matter whether something (your
"virtual object") was being computed by ordinary devices
or with the help of computronium. Indeed we have the familiar
functional thesis that a computation may be equivalently performed

      1. a Turing Machine (the kind that really runs ideally
            on an (ideally) infinitely large tape, by means of
            little wheels, and actively scans the tape as a
            process taking place in time (and *not* the kind
            of Turing Machine that is only a set of mathematical
            quadruples or quintuples that are "timeless"
            (Minsky, 1967 "Computation: Finite and Infinite
            Machines, which describes both kinds without
            drawing, however, a clear distinction between them)

       2. a hydraulic system of pumps and flows that emulates
            a large number of electrical circuits that would be
            equivalent in terms of the computations performed

       3. an electronic computer, in the most familiar form,
            implementing the computation

and so on.

On the other hand, your "platonic computronium" for all that,
may make no better sense than "platonic steel" or "platonic
democracy". In other words, when we think of Platonia as
used by so many writers (e.g. Barbour "The End of Time"),
then we are confining ourselves only to abstract *patterns*,
and, contrariwise, real steel or real democracy, as Plato
tried to explain so long ago, manages merely to exhibit
certain variations of the "real" archetype pattern in Platonia.

Of course, one possible tie-in to "The GLUT and Functionalism"
is that by hypothesis, computronium (see the wiki article) is so
dense and fast that it alone (we are so far able to imagine)
could implement a GLUT that would pass the Turing Test and
that would also give every appearance of being conscious.


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