Re: Implementation, Simulation, and Emulation

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Wed Mar 19 2008 - 14:29:20 MDT

--- Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> Matt wrote (Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 2:14 PM)
> > --- Lee wrote:
> >
> >> But it is *so* important to know whether your husband has been
> >> successfully uploaded, or if the incredibly smart AI is just faking it
> >> (though faking it well enough to fool you). After all, if he's just
> >> being faked---I call that simulation---then he's dead! Yikes!
> >>
> >> So I will continue to insist that the goal of uploading is to emulate
> >> a human consciousness, not simulate it, and we need some sort
> >> of terminological distinction for this, if not the one I've been pushing
> >> on this list and Extropians for five or ten years.
> >
> > You just modify the neurons that makes you falsely believe that there is a
> > distinction to make you also believe that the upload is successful.
> From your brief reply, I gather that you do not believe in such a
> distinction?
> So there is no essential difference between, say, your wife and her
> abrupt replacement by an extremely skilled actress fashioned to
> look just like her, but who is really laughing at you all the time, and
> despises all the values your wife used to hold before her demise?
> I cannot believe that you'd endorse this simulation replacing your wife,
> not if you truly love her.
> Now what about if she dies suddenly in her sleep, but a very kindly
> and well-meaning AI plants a tiny microchip in her backbone that
> manages to send out signals to all parts of her body that cause
> exactly the same thinking and acting to be done be done by the body?
> In other words, this microchip, over which the AI has no further use
> and no further interest in, *emulates* your wife. That is, this new
> creature is conscious in just the same way as your wife was, has
> inner thoughts and suspicions in the same way, has the same tastes
> and loves and hates and, in general values.
> Surely this emulation "really is" your wife---it's just that she's been
> uploaded. That's best for her, surely you concede, than being
> replaced by a fiendish actor who is really a different person
> altogether.
> Lee

But how do I know the AI chip really "cares" about her values, or just behaves
as if it cares? Isn't this the same situation as the actress?

If a simulation is just good enough to fool me, and emulation is perfectly
computationally equivalent, then how would I know the difference?

-- Matt Mahoney,

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