Re: virus: Re: Rationality
Mon, 10 Mar 97 11:45:46 GMT

Alex Willams wrote:

> > > Precisely, just bits of memetic programming/memetic agents interacting.
> > > Tell me, can you predict the exact results of, say, the Amazon river
> > > basin, over the next thirty-thousand years?
> >
> > Not personally, but I'm sure a reasonable approximation is possible.
> But I'm not asking for a rough approximation; I can make a rough
> approximation of /your/ behaviour in the next 5yrs given sufficent
> knowledge of you.

Actually, it would probably be very exact, because the next 5 years of
my life have already been planned :)

> Does that invalidate your `free will'?

I suppose not.

> I'm asking
> for an exact prediction, an exact statement of the state of all the
> entities within the Amazon river basin over 30,000yrs. Surely there
> are fewer discrete biological entities in the ARB than memes in our
> heads, and they interact much much more slowly.

Actually, I would have suspected that the number of boilogical entitiels
in the ARB is pretty fucking huge, allowing for micro-organisms, etc....

And in answer to your question: I don't think we have the power to calculate
the outcome, not becuase we don't know how the organisms are going to
react and change over the next 300 centuries, but becuase we cannot predict
random acts which may take an effect. I think that in time, simple organisms
will be perfectly possible to map and predict, WRT to their future state.
I do see your point about it being so complex that it cannot predict it, but this
is true of many things in our current understanding of the universe.

> > Are you talking about the life within the river basin, or the actual
> > shape and flow of the river itself? Sorry, you've confused me as
> > to where this is coming from.
> The river itself would be too easy ... I'm refering to the state and
> existance/offspring of every biological agent within the ARB. In
> other words, its `sufficently complex' that you cannot predict its
> exact future states, much like your mind, and as such the `fate' of
> the ARB is indistinguishable from your `free will.'

So free-will is just a highly complex set of memetic interactions which
are so complex that they cannot be accurately predicted?

> If I create a program that exhibits all the traits of life, is it
> murder to terminate the program? Tierra itself models organisms that
> are possible to define as `life.' If I write a program that insists
> that its conscious, how are you going to prove to /it/, not
> necessarily to an observer but to /it/ that its not?

You probably can't. But that's not entirely relevant. Could
you prove to yourself that I'm conscious? I know that I am, and
knew so before the <consciousness> meme entered my mind, I'd
just never associated the 2. You can't tell if your computer is
conscious or not, only it can know, and if it is programmed to
tell you that it is, whether it is or it isn't, you can never be
sure. I presume that you are pretty convinced of your own consciousness,
but do you do so on the premise that a meme says you are,
or do you do it by the fact that you simply "are". I'm finding
this really hard to explain, so I hope you get my drift, 'cos I'm
going to give up trying now :)