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I'd Bet On The Virus...

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on December 14, 2001 01:01:28 UTC

If I had to choose between deep blue and a virus.

The way I see it, consciousness is the deepest, most profound mystery in the universe. I think the power of Searle's argument is that whatever processes, or states, you can think of, they still pale in the face of the conscious experience. I think there is something essential in the experience of conscious, say for example pain, that could reasonably be believed to be absent in a system which only mimicked the outward or visible responses of an animal in pain, no matter how convincing the act was.

I asked Alex a while ago if he thought a robot could experience pain in exactly the same way he does. He said "yes" and I say "no". We are at a standoff, but I think that question is at the root of the issue.

Being free, as I am, to speculate, I will. I think that the uncertainty in nature at small scales, is, in some cases, made definite by some non-physical conscious action. Thus, since the virus is "driven" in part by quantum actions, I suspect that part of the action of the virus is consciously deliberate. On the other hand, Deep Blue runs strictly based on a program which has no random component (as we all know, the pseudo-random algorithms in computers are really determinate) and I suspect it has no trace of conscious experience.

Warm regards,

Paul

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