Re: [sl4] Re: goals of AI... non physical components of mind != soul

From: Toby Weston (
Date: Thu Nov 26 2009 - 01:11:31 MST

See comments inline:

On 25 Nov 2009, at 23:38, Stathis Papaioannou <>

> 2009/11/26 Toby Weston <>:
>> I think that putative non physical components of mind/consciousness
>> do not
>> have to be synonymous with the concept of a soul.
>> for example:
>> We do not understand the mechanism of quantum entanglement or quantum
>> decoherence.
>> Quantum computers work (may one day work) by exploiting features of
>> quantum
>> mechanics.
>> Things like entanglement, supersition, decoherence, the quantum
>> Zeno effect
>> etc are not physical, but are real.
>> It is conceivable that these quantum rules could be treated as
>> primitives
>> and combined to produce systems that "do things".
>> Just as physical levers and pulleys are combined to create physical
>> machines.
>> Complex non physical "information machines" could be created by
>> carefully
>> arranging these primitives.
> How do you figure that quantum phenomena are "non physical" when they
> are the basis of all physics?

Bulk physical matter displays one set of characteristics. Deliberate
arrangement of atoms of the same elements as the bulk matter can
display very different characteristics -super-conductance, strange
optical properties etc.
These are physical arrangements of matter.
The simple hypothetical quantum computers we describe today use yet
another level of organisation. By deliberately contriving situations
where the rules of quantum mechanics interact to perform computation.
This is also Physics but I would not describe it as physical.

> Also, quantum computers don't actually
> do anything that classical computers don't do, such as computing
> non-computable functions.

I didn't say they did.

> --
> Stathis Papaioannou


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