Re: The return of the revenge of qualia, part VI.

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Tue Jul 26 2005 - 10:23:11 MDT

--- Tennessee Leeuwenburg <>
> I would
> say that there is a gap
> in physics if it cannot distinguish between
> matter forms which support
> qualia and those which don't.
> Until we can provide some better than merely
> intuitive argument about
> why, for example, a traditionally embodied
> mental machine like a brain
> supports qualia, and why alternatively embodied
> machines either might
> or might not, I think it is a dangerous leap of
> faith to assume that
> *all* good physical modelling programs will be
> conscious just because
> they are imbued with goals.
> Like Ben G obviously does when he says :
> "I tend to think that if one builds a software
> program with the right
> cognitive structures and dynamics attached to
> it, the qualia will come along
> "for free". Qualia don't need to be explicitly
> engineered as part of AI
> design, but this doesn't make them any less
> real or any less important. An
> AI created with humanlike cognitive structures
> and dynamics will spawn
> humanlike qualia; an AI constructed with other
> cognitive dynamics and
> structures will have other sorts of qualia..."

But Ben is right! There is no gap in physics; if
the structures and dynamics are there, the qualia
are there. To believe otherwise is to subscribe
to the phlogiston theory of consciousness: to
believe that there must be pixie dust sprinkled
atop the AI before it has a real mind. If the AI
needs pixie dust, then so does the brain! Does it
get this from a heretofore unnoticed gland in the
placenta? Are there 'pixie cells' in the
blastomere? Is it transferred through the skull
from the mother's pubic hair at birth? Does this
mean caesarean babies have no qualia? Seriously,
show us a mechanism, then we can talk.

Note that I do not assert that AI without qualia
cannot exist, if you are willing to include AI
like Deep Blue, for example, which do one thing
well. But general AI? SAI? I doubt that you could
pass human level without getting qualia along the

Tom Buckner

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