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AlephNeil comments on GAZP vs. GLUT - Less Wrong

33 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 April 2008 01:51AM

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Comment author: AlephNeil 12 May 2010 03:17:58PM *  1 point [-]

Surely the 'bottom line' is this:

Once you've described what a GLUT is and what it does, it's a mistake to think that there's anything more to be said about whether it's "really conscious". (Agreeing with Dennett against Chalmers:) consciousness isn't a fundamental property like electric charge but a 'woolly', 'high level' one like health or war. Clearly there's no reason to think that for every physical system, there is a well-defined answer to the question "is it healthy?" (or "is a war in progress?") You can devise scenarios sufficiently weird that the questions become baffling and unanswerable. Same for consciousness.

But anyway, here's a fantasy you might enjoy:

You teach the 'person at the other end' of the GLUT how to build a 'teleport exit' machine that can recreate a physical object from a long stream of binary data. You yourself build a corresponding teleport entrance (for simplicity, let's suppose it's the kind of teleporter that destroys what it's teleporting). Then you teleport yourself and have the resulting data passed across to the GLUT (i.e. appended to the conversation so far).

Then you can shake hands with 'the person at the other end' and inspect the parallel universe they're living in. Or at least, that's the story your buddies back on earth will hear about as they continue chatting with the GLUT. Eventually, each side builds another teleport machine so that you can come home, and you even bring 'the person at the other end' back with you.