Re: [sl4] Re: goals of AI

From: John McNamara (
Date: Tue Dec 01 2009 - 07:35:55 MST

Hi Folks,

First post to list (braces for the bullet) and observation on this thread's

To me this sounds like a matter of simulation resolution.

A human mind is the information output 'artefact' of a physical system.
We can choose to simulate that physical system over a wide range between the
following 2 extremes.
a: extreme low resolution
1 bit, 1=mind is 'on' 0 = mind is 'off'
only useful in financial accounting obviously

b: extreme high resolution
simulate using _all_ information on the system
as we don't have a final complete physics theory of everything we obviously
cannot even determine if this is even possible
it would effectively be an absolutely perfect simulation of actual physical
reality all the way down past quarks, strings and n dimensions to whatever
idea is at the very bottom.
a bit beyond sl4 i suspect

between a and b is a large range
it's possible (pending TOE) that b resolution simulation guarantees a zero
error rate in the simulation output, the mind. Barring non-physical
influences that would leave no wiggle-room left to say that the simulation
isn't perfect in every way.

Any level of simulation below b introduces errors in the output data all the
way down to having just 1 bit of reliable data at simulation level a

Therefore its a matter of deciding the acceptable error level for your
All you need is a mastery of the physics and math required to get down to
your required level of acceptable error rate.

b involves all sorts of things we not good at like probability and

There are 2 separate questions here.

Is any non-zero error acceptable in principle ?
This is a philosophical question I think, not an engineering one.

What is the maximum tolerable error that will not result in the failure of
your engineering project (ie upload of a live human with no apparent
deviations from expected normal thinking patterns (including fuzzy things
like emotions/inspiration etc) for at least 1000 years with 99.9999
confidence level etc etc).
This is a practical engineering problem for a branch of engineering that
doesn't exist yet.

my answers for the curious
I'm not comfortable with a non-zero error I must admin, now that it's "on
the menu" so to speak. That said, the now pre-upload me would jump at any
error rate accepted by sane-looking engineering types as an alternative to
oblivion. I wouldn't be surprised if the post-upload me wanted a lot of
virtual beer to get over the whole thing.

no idea, but I wouldn't be stunned to learn that something more detailed
than neural charge levels was required. Which would be unfortunate because
it would be harder. Perhaps I'm pessimistic on this one.

Apologies if this has wandered off-topic.

Best Regards
John Mc Namara

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