X-Message-Number: 11865
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 01:44:52 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Turing Tape vs. Turing Tome

I may not fully understand what Bob Ettinger has in mind with the Turing
Tape/Turing Tome argument. So my responses here will, in part, be in hopes
of learning more through his or others' responses.

Of course, we don't have to assume a Turing machine here, but just any
computational device that goes through a sequence of moves that, in this
case describe a person plus his environment, with such moves being put into
a permanent record of some sort--right? This person-plus-environment,
however, is closed off from our world, I think, i.e. we do not interact with
this computed persona while it is doing its thing in the machine. Otherwise
the machine couldn't predict the way it is assumed to be able to do. So we
are talking about a self-contained world, within which a person may or may
not be conscious. Next, if you take the static record, you can, in one way
or another, set in motion a process that isomorphically recapitulates what
went on in the computer the first time around. Again, it is a self-contained
world. The person who "comes to life" in this way cannot carry on a
conversation with an outsider, in which adaptive behavior would be called
for. Its moves are entirely predetermined. If that isn't really what you
have in mind here Bob, let me know. For now I'll assume it is.

Now, it seems to be an assumption here, that either the static record could
be conscious, or the active system it directs and "brings to life" cannot
be, but can only be a "zombie." (Again, correct me if I'm wrong.) However,
this conclusion does not seem foregone at all to me, particularly if we
imagine that the "static record" is a very detailed and complex one, so that
the process in motion is also a very complicated one. If I had magic fingers
I could in principle build a person out of subatomic particles and force
these particles into various interactions that would correspond to states of
consciousness in my constructed person. I could use instructions in a book
to do this. In practice what would happen is that I would only be able to
achieve a certain, specified, exact effect *some* of the time (in fact a
very small fraction of the time, but a nonzero fraction nonetheless). Still,
though, I could achieve states of consciousness predictably. In principle
this seems enough like the Turing Tome idea to call into question whether
there is an exact equivalence between consciousness or lack thereof in a
static record, and the same in an active system that performs according to
that record.

Another way to look at this is that, in principle I could describe all
significant particle interactions, say at the level of electrons, protons,
neutrons, and photons, that are involved in some individual living his/her
life for a length of time, during which they have conscious experiences.
This however would not make them a zombie. If I artificially, deliberately
created a system of particles that reenacted this record, that wouldn't
(ipso facto) make it a zombie either. 

Mike Perry

>Message #11857
>Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 12:56:03 EDT
>Subject: Perry and the Turing Tome again
>I had said that a Turing Tape (or ordinary computer) could, in principle (if 
>provided enough information about the laws of nature and about an individual 
>and his initial environment) predict or describe that person's future 
>behavior, including his brain functions, with as much fidelity as desired. I 
>pointed out, further, that the Tape could be used to write a book, the Turing 
>Tome, the pages of which would correspond to the successive states of the 
>Tape. Either Tape or Tome could be used to direct the outward behavior of a 
>robot (as well as to control the successive states of some analog or 
>isomorphic representation of the brain). Also, a simple, automatic 
>page-turning device could be attached to the Tome, so the Tome is just as 
>much time-sensitive and "active" as the Tape.
>My conclusions were (1) that we see, yet again, that Zombies are possible 
>(robots whose behavior viewed externally is indistinguishable from that of 
>people, but which are not necessarily conscious); and (2) that if a Turing 
>Tape or ordinary computer can be conscious, then a book can too.
>Mike Perry replied, in part:
>>It seems to me that the Tome would store a record of past behavior only.
>>True, you could use it to duplicate that past behavior again, like running a
>>movie. But it would not be capable of directing adaptive behavior, without
>>allowing ongoing changes in the Tome itself, or in some other record 
>I think maybe Mike was sleepy when he wrote this--I have the impression that 
>he writes a good deal late at night. Or maybe I wasn't as clear as I should 
>have been. The Tape and the Tome not only describe but can PREDICT behavior 
>of the systems. For purposes of thought experiments, we might as well assume 
>that the Tape is very fast, and can produce the future record of a century in 
>a second; then the Book could also be written very quickly, and the pages 
>turned (if desired) in real time, so that the robot directed by the Book 
>behaves just like a person in real time; and the Book itself symbolically 
>exists and "lives" in real time.
>(Mike also mentioned "adaptive" behavior. Remember, the system whose behavior 
>is being predicted consists of person (a particular brain) AND a sufficient 
>part of the environment. This automatically allows for adaptive behavior.)
>Also, if the Tape or the Tome governs the behavior of some analog of the 
>innards of the brain, we still have essentially the same situation in 
>questioning the "consciousness" of that analog. Either isomorphism is always 
>enough (strong evidence against this); or isomorphism is never enough 
>(unlikely); or isomorphism may be enough, subject to complete and rigorous 
>case-by-case analysis, which has never been done as far as I know, and would 
>almost certainly yield inconclusive results at present.
>Recapitulating, it seems to me these considerations provide strong evidence 
>that, if you rely on isomorphism, you must concede that a book could be 
>conscious. I conclude that either isomorphism just isn't enough, or that we 
>have not paid close enough attention to the fine details and specifics of 
>what "isomorphism" requires in these situations. 
>Robert Ettinger
>Cryonics Institute
>Immortalist Society
>Message #11858
>Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 17:09:05 +0100
>From:  (John de Rivaz)
>Subject: Longevity Report 71
>Longevity Report 71 (url in sig file) has just been posted to the web - 
>rather late this time. The printed ones for Europe will be done next week. 
>Most articles are from Internet newsgroups and mailing lists, but there are 
>sure to be some you haven't seen. Comments from Cornwall (accessed from 
>Longevity Report contents page or read it in The Immortalist) was last 
>updated on 20 April.
>Let them rot? Robert Ettinger 
>Kubrick kaput Robert Ettinger
>The Issue of "Death" Thomas Donaldson 
>Brain Damage Jeff Davis 
>Global Warming "Rebecca"
>A New Face Says Hello John Grigg 
>What God Did "Guy Fawkes" 
>Life's Practical Decisions and Science Robert Ettinger 
>To Freeze or Not to Freeze? Chrissie Loveday 
>Government Funding of Research Aubrey de Grey 
>Cryonics and Christianity Thomas Donaldson 
>A Theory of Consciousness Chris Fideli 
>Too Many Organizations? Henry R. Hirsch 
>Freeze Drying Douglas Skrecky 
>The Pick of Pickover John de Rivaz 
>Sincerely, John de Rivaz
>Homepage:         http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR
>Longevity Report: http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Sauna/3748/lr.htm
>Fractal Report:   http://www.longevb.demon.co.uk/fr.htm 
>PCS - a  Singles listing sheet for people in Cornwall
>                  http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR/pcs.htm
>Message #11859
>This message is 41544 bytes long, which is greater than the
>maximum size of 40000 bytes for a message in a CryoNet digest.
>To retrieve the entire message, send email to:
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>Message #11860
>From: HMS Beagle <>
>Subject: Overview from Issue 55 of HMS Beagle
>Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 01:39:38 +0100
>The following article from HMS Beagle
>  http://www.biomednet.com/hmsbeagle/current/cutedge/overview
>has been sent to you by jan coetzee <>
>                           --===--
>For a complete list of feature articles in this issue of HMS Beagle, visit
>  http://www.biomednet.com/hmsbeagle/55/main/main.htm
>For daily news headlines in Biology, Medicine and Biotechnology, see the 
>HMS Beagle home page:
>  http://hmsbeagle.com/
>Message #11861
>Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 21:43:53 -0400 (EDT)
>From: "Kevin Q. Brown" <>
>Subject: Splitting CryoNet?
>In Message # 11822 Perry Metzger proposed splitting CryoNet into
>two lists to separate the philosophy from the science/technology
>oriented messages.  This apparently has been on the minds of other
>people, too, since his proposal generated several responses.
>My solution to that is that same as it was four years ago in
>messages # 4365 and 4847:
>  Another approach would be for someone to offer a filtered version
>  of CryoNet, to which interested people could subscribe.  That
>  list could take the entire CryoNet feed as input and distribute
>  only those messages that satisfy the criteria of the editor.
>  My only request is to have all _replies_ sent to CryoNet rather
>  than just to the filtered list so that we do not unnecessarily
>  balkanize the cryonics mailing list(s).
>The situation has changed somewhat in the past four years,
>but I still think that this is the best solution.  Is anyone
>willing to host "cryonet-philosophy", "cryonet-tech",
>"cryonet-moderated", "cryonet-undigested" (for mailing each
>message to the list immediately rather than accumulating them
>all for a once-a-night digest), "cryonet-hyperlinked" (for
>web-enabled email clients), or any other variation?
>    Kevin Q. Brown
>Message #11862
>Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 23:23:22 -0700
>From: Mike Perry <>
>Subject: Updates to my book
>From time to time I expect to generate new versions of my immortalist book,
>*Forever for All*, prior to publication by one route or another. At present
>I am seeking reviewers--comments appreciated though not required. Anyone
>reading this list and desiring the latest version can contact me by
>email--whether you already have received a version or not. For all versions
>after the first--call it 1.0--I will put the version number on the title
>page. As it happens, I recently put in some corrections, etc. and am now up
>to version 1.1. Let me know if you are interested in receiving a copy,
>either in Word 97 format (recommended), text, or hard copy (obviously harder
>to generate and send, but I will do what I can). I can also send the book
>chapter by chapter (Word or text files)  if you like, to reduce the size of
>files that must be attached. I have received a few requests for hard copies
>(or have offered to send them when other means failed); I am still working
>on this. Thanks for your feedback and/or patience so far.
>Best forever for all,
>Mike Perry 
>End of CryoNet Digest

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