X-Message-Number: 14865
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2000 20:37:59 -0800
From: Lee Corbin <>
Subject: Why Running is Important to a Process

Robert Ettinger writes in #14842

>    #14842: Adiklis, uploading again [Ettinger]
>Let me repeat my Turing Tome counterexample, in part,
>with a slightly different emphasis. Imagine a huge book,
>containing code for a person and his lifetime (or a large
>segment of it, including his environment). Is the book 
>alive? Does it have feelings? Is anything happening?

You already know that many, many of us say No.

>It must be alive and feeling, if you believe that isomorphism
>is everything.

"Alive" and "feeling" are processes, and hence involve
*time*, again, as you know.  But I will concede that
isomorphism isn't everything, unless it includes a 
strong linkage between states, and time is the only
way that I know to provide it.  But more below,

>And you can't escape by saying the program must be running
>in an active computer. If isomorphism is good enough for
>space and for matter, why isn't it good enough for time?

Many have asked this question, some in very dramatic form (e.g.,
Greg Egan in Permutation City).  It is a very good question.  I
would say that an active ongoing calculation makes manifest (i.e.
plain) information that is otherwise deeply hidden.  A running
calculation appears, in this way, to provide new information.

But your question is really deeper than that, and I have written
elsewhere at length on "The Problem of the Succession of Frozen
States".  To summarize, a single frozen state is much less than
an ongoing process, which is a linear collection of many states.
I think that the answer to your question may ultimately be:  the
linkage between a succession of frozen states is not strong
enough to make them manifest in our universe, but a causally
connected set of states linked through time is.

Lee Corbin

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