Originally posted by yadda333
Again, I already pointed out that I know that Bostrom doesn't think we're in a simulation. But it's not because his argument isn't sound (his reason
below).
And then there are some of us who didn't think the argument itself is sound, because we disagree that a computer simulation can be made conscious.
That is, in Bostrom's terms, we disagree with the assumption of
substrate-independence.
The whole "substrate" concept is a materialist concept anyway, which gives a subordinate place to subjective experience, assuming it to be an
epiphenomenon of the execution of essentially mathematical, deterministic logic in the brain.
I'll admit that materialism is an extremely popular position, perhaps a majority position. But suppose for a moment that it is false. If
consciousness is something more fundamental, as is posited by idealism, and the relationship between consciousness and matter is more intricate than
mere direct subordination of one to the deterministic laws of the other, then the whole argument breaks down right at the start, right at the
simulation hypothetical. The simulation hypothetical is dismissed just like a triangle with four sides hypothetical.
But heck, now suppose that this materialist determinism, which is a prerequisite for the simulation hypothetical, is in fact true. The results are
much more far-reaching than even Bostrom has imagined. If subjective experience, or consciousness, is a direct epiphenomenon of a computational
process, of math, then we don't even need a computer. We can do the whole simulation on pencil and paper. What this really means is that the
consciousness is
in the math. We haven't proven, then, as Bostrom's argument concludes, that we
might be in a simulation. We have
proven, rather, that we are nothing but math, and every mathematically possible conscious state exists. The infinite-universes people then become
correct.
Thankfully, for our sanity, the brain has never been proven to be in its entirety a deterministic machine. Not even close. In fact, those functions
we have had success at replicating using artifical neural networks, are precisely those functions which we have already trained for and can be done
unconsciously. Such functions range from "simply" separating and identifying objects in one's visual field, to driving a car. In other words, those
functions of the brain which engineers have been able to produce artificially as machines, are precisely those functions for which we have already
organically constructed machines through our own attention and effort. Our attention and effort is then no longer needed because we delegate that
function to the organic machine we created.
edit on 30-10-2012 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)