Re: Mindless Thought Experiments

From: Krekoski Ross (
Date: Wed Mar 05 2008 - 23:34:45 MST

> > How do you measure complexity? How many bits are required for
> consciousness?
> A lot, but we don't know enough yet to put a lower bound on it.

We dont have a clue about consciousness in non-human entities (animals etc)
and where on the tree of life we want to draw a cut-off point, but we can be
conservative and set an upper lower bound. Since the human genome has approx
3x10^9 base pairs (of which each pair has 4 states), about 6x10^9 bits. or
6Gbits. While the human brain holds significantly more information than
6Gbits, it could be argued that the brain itself is a recursive fractal
generated by some subset of the 6Gbit base pair 'program' we have in our

but the bigger question by far is how much contextual information that base
program requires to execute. If you have a stretch of DNA and lay it out on
a table, its going to decay and blow away. so you need some sort of
environmental, cellular 'context' with which to generate a program that can
utilize that DNA. The program itself may be recursive, generated largely
from the DNA itself, which likely has a blueprint for various cell types,
but we dont know if its possible to create a slightly different cellular
environment that this DNA could be housed in, and end up with a completely
different type of organism. In addition, its difficult to tell precisely how
much information is contained in a cellular program. Do self-assembling
structures inside cells require 'information' to self assemble, so to speak?
or are the laws of physics contextually assumed? Even if they are, if we
are simulating consciousness on a computer, we are relying on a subset of
the laws of physics that are present in a cellular environment with which to
run our computer program.

Its not necessarily a clear-cut answer, as you know,


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