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orthonormal comments on Nonperson Predicates - Less Wrong

29 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 December 2008 01:47AM

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Comment author: orthonormal 24 July 2009 10:36:24PM 1 point [-]

a person that is simulated and then deleted is functionally equivalent to no person at all

ISTM that's functionally equivalent, rather, to a person physically created in an isolation chamber, observed for a while, then killed, cremated and scattered.

Comment author: [deleted] 24 July 2009 10:45:57PM -1 points [-]

But functionally, the only thing determining whether something contains a person is its behavior. If it behaves as if it had no person in it, it has no person in it.

I guess this means that if a person is standing next to a nuclear bomb, nobody sees the person, and the bomb explodes, the person didn't exist.

Comment author: orthonormal 24 July 2009 11:42:13PM 4 points [-]

I think there's an implicit "observer problem" with the way you're defining functionalism. If the person themselves doesn't count as an observer of their own behavior, why would you count as an observer of behavior? After all (assuming there's no escape from the heat death of the universe), all of us are essentially in that scenario if you step back far enough.

My position as present is the following sort of patternism: There are patterns in the operation of my brain at this instant which (relatively straightforwardly) encode the structure of conscious thought. The same kinds of patterns can be found in the data generated by simulating a person. These are both instances of conscious experience, with potentially all the same qualia, etc. So if I simulate a person in a closed-box environment and then delete all the data, the pattern nonetheless existed in this universe for some time and thus a person existed.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 25 July 2009 12:20:28PM 4 points [-]

Behavior is just what you see, not the sum total of what actually happens. Even if you can't observe something, you can still care about it.