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skepsci comments on GAZP vs. GLUT - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: skepsci 13 February 2012 10:56:24AM *  0 points [-]

A philosopher says, "This zombie's skull contains a Giant Lookup Table of all the inputs and outputs for some human's brain." This is a very large improbability. So you ask, "How did this improbable event occur? Where did the GLUT come from?"

The philosopher is clearly simulating our universe, since as Eliezer already observed, a Giant Lookup Table won't fit in our universe. So he may as well be simulating 10^10^10^20 copies of our universe, each with a different Giant Lookup Table, so that every possible Giant Lookup Table gets represented in some simulation. Now the improbability just comes from the law of large numbers, rather than any conscious being. The end result still talks about consciousness, but the root cause of this talking-about-consciousness is no longer a conscious entity, but the mere fact that in a large enough pool of numbers, some of them happen to encode what looks like the output of a conscious being.

Or is it that, for example, the Godel number of a Turing machine computation of a conscious entity is actually conscious? Actually, now that I think of it, I suppose it must be. Weird.

Counting should be illegal.

Comment author: JoachimSchipper 13 February 2012 11:58:10AM -1 points [-]

Your number is no more conscious than a paused Turing machine. It seems to me that whatever we mean by "consciousness" requires some degree of active reflection.

Comment author: skepsci 13 February 2012 12:23:49PM *  3 points [-]

The Godel number of a Turing computation encodes not just a single configuration of the machine, but every configuration the machine passes through from beginning to end, so it's more than just a paused Turing machine. It's true that there's no dynamics, but after all there are no dynamics in a timeless universe either, yet there's reason to suspect we might live in one.

The later configurations reflect on the earlier configurations, which is, for all intents and purposes, active reflection.

Comment author: skepsci 13 February 2012 01:57:02PM 0 points [-]

To be pedantic, perhaps I should say the configurations coded by the exponents of larger primes reflect on the configurations encoded by the exponents of smaller primes, since we have the entire computation frozen in amber, as it were.