Start of the writing up of the CADOES talk…
Noone Gets Wet in a Simulation of a Tropical Storm
Briefly back to the question of whether a whole brain simulation could really feel pain, you might ask: why would we expect a simulation to have consciousness? After all, it’s just a simulation! It’s not the real thing. Noone gets wet in a simulation of a tropical storm!
simulating the weather in a region, such as over Japan, below. Imagine. Divide the volume into 1km3 cubes and model wind speed, direction, pressure, water vapour etc. Can see predictions of rain but obviously no wetness. Divide further into 1m^3 cubes (now have 20×10^15 instead of 20 million cubes). Now model the terrain underneath, including height. Now model surface water and run-off into rivers, out to sea (and evaporation back into the air). Seeing the water movement in the simulation, could point and say – there is liquid flow. Divide further to 1mm^3 (there would now be 20×10^24 cubes – astronomically large!). Now, individual raindrops falling out of the sky would be modelled. As the raindrops hit the ground, or any other modelled object, it would run off it just like in the fluid simulation, below. Now I think you can say there would be wetness in the simulation. So whether you get a particular phenomenon in a physics simulation depends upon the level of the modelling in the simulation.
What Is the Right Level?
3. Could an Android phone be conscious?
- My initial reaction: outrageous idea!
- Show of hands… few can accept.
- See red, feel pain
- Design of electronic hardware and the software that sits on top of that – understand sufficiently and with enough time completely. No mystery.
- Specific intelligence: Beat me at chess – no mystery.
- Generalized intelligence: ‘search’ / ‘optimization’ / problem solving – no problem.
- But to see and feel?!