X-Message-Number: 13000
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 11:19:03 EST
Subject: all wet

Bryan Moss mentioned Wang tiling, with which I am not familiar, but is 
apparently a pattern laid out in such a way that it represents a dynamical 
system, which could be a person, including its (his) future history:

> It is in a superposed state of every thought and every emotion it could 
ever have   .. >I don't need to wait for a machine to finish before I get my 
answer; it's already there, >waiting for me to interpret it.

Of course it is also true that a Turing computer, once programmed and 
supplied with an initial data set, also has all the answers implicit in its 
construction, waiting to be interpreted. The computer itself, operating over 
time, supplies the interpretation (or parts of it); but an outside observer 
could also anticipate it, or any part thereof, given equivalent capabilities.

What it all really boils down to is the concrete vs. the abstract, or 
actuality vs. potential, or existence vs. representation. Basically, the 
hard-core strong-AI people say the abstract is as good as the concrete, the 
potential as good as the actual, the map as good as the territory, a 
description of a thing essentially the same as the thing itself. This may 
turn out to be true, but I strongly doubt it. 

Yet again: If I write down on paper a quantum mechanical description of a 
water molecule, have I created a water molecule? As far as I can see, all I 
have done is store information which could help me or someone else think 
about water molecules and describe their behavior. I have not--in any 
sense--changed the amount of water in the universe. 

Sure, one could say I have changed the amount of water in some other 
universe, a universe of discourse or a universe of simulations, and a 
simulated person could simulatedly drink this simulated water, and 
simulatedly slake his simulated thirst, but I fear that is only a simulated 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=13000