RE: [sl4] Re: Uploads coming first would be good, right?

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Tue Mar 03 2009 - 21:20:54 MST

--- On Tue, 3/3/09, ' ' <> wrote:

> I know there would be no difference if I am conscious or
> not, but I think consciousness is a physical phenomena
> therefore it doesn't matter to me.

So your definition of consciousness is that which distinguishes you from a philosophical zombie?

Or you mean that consciousness is detectable, but we just don't know how to detect it yet? Or we just don't know how to describe what it is because we haven't thought about the problem hard enough?

Perhaps you can argue, like Penrose, that the brain does something that is not computable. But most of us believe that the brain is made up of atoms that obey the laws of physics, and we know that physics is computable.

Or maybe another explanation is that animals that didn't fear most of the things that could kill them didn't pass on those genes to their offspring. Humans, being intelligent, learned about death and labeled that thing that distinguishes living humans from everything else as "consciousness" and naturally have a very strong desire to preserve it. So that thing that you just *know* has to exist is really just a strong belief that all humans share.

So the question is, if a machine is programmed to behave just like you, including being programmed to express this strong belief, is it you? The question is which side of this machine do you draw the line that separates living humans from everything else?

Or maybe it's just an imaginary line.

-- Matt Mahoney,

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