X-Message-Number: 11890
From: "Steve Panting" <>
Subject: Re: Consciousness
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 20:55:31 +0100

>Hi everyone!
I am new to cryonet, so appologies for any earlier conversation that I have
but it seems to me the question of whether an implementation of a universal
turing machine can be conscious is a variation on the question of whether we
can be said to have free will.
If there is no free will then we are effectively as much automatons as a
turing machine and any protestations to the contrary can be seen as equally
an automatic response.

I think that the findings of quantum mechanics and perhaps more particularly
quantum cosmology are our best hope of claiming any kind of free will.
Conventional computers are designed to eliminate 'non-consistency' due to
quantum fluctuations and as I understand it this is a requirement of a
turing machine.
So perhaps a computer can do no more than try to emulate consciousness
unless truly random effects are allowed to creap in. But then these could
always be programmed in to produce a better emulation ;-)

Live long and prosper

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