Re: Unbounded happiness

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sat Apr 26 2008 - 14:03:38 MDT

William and Krekoski have a problem with my

> 2008/4/25 Lee Corbin <>:
> > The speed of light limits how big an "individual" can be.
> > If it conducts thoughts at the speed of light, then is the .1
> > second or so delay across the world still okay for
> > a single mind?

and point out that if the thinking is slow enough, then it
the size may be arbitrarily large.

True enough, but that rather defeats the whole point of
using resources effectively. There would be utterly no
point in using an entire solar system's resources to emulate
my mind, making that possible only by having it think very,
very slowly.

To ward off misunderstanding, let me be more specific.
Let k be the ratio of c, the speed of light, to n, the speed
of neural conduction in my brain. Then clearly a very
large brain could be built of size s*k, where s is the
present size of my brain, but would conduct neural
information at c. To what point?

Krekoski goes on

> let's not confuse intuitions about consciousness with
> computability. There seems to be no real reason
> aside from energy requirements and heat why a machine
> can't be any arbitrary size and still perform computations
> that take advantage of increase in complexity. You would
> possibly eventually get diminishing returns, but consider
> that the speed of neurons in our brain is significantly slower
> than light, i.e. there is delay, and it doesn't seem to be an issue.

While I'm not sure I understand every word of that, it's it clear
that if my neurons *did* operate at c, then I'd be thinking a lot
faster? Bottom line: large brains should have no reason to
choose to operate slowly, so therefore thought will be conducted
at c, and therefore what an "individual sentience" is will be limited
in size. Now yes, I can even now perform "library inquiries", or
get an answer to a math problem by letting my computer run
long enough, but in neither case is the library or my computer to
be considered part of me.


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