Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Consciousness

Hello again, after quite some time, I decided again to write some of my thoughts on my little corner of the internet. The topics I'll write about are consciousness and intelligence along with bits and bobs I've read in my past time. Finally I'll describe a thought that came to me yesterday regarding the Halting Problem and if somebody (not "something") could solve it.

I should start with the idea of self-consciousness and how it could be described. The starting point for this, one could say, is the film "The Prestige". The film poses one interesting question, that is, "if I could copy all of the molecules in my body (in effect, perfect cloning) would there be any distinction between me and my clone?"
From the outside, of course, not. But! internally, there should still be the concept of a me and my clone.
My opinion is that there isn't such a concept. Think of it this way: let's say I have two pods, one of them painted red and one of them painted blue. Initially, both are empty. I enter the red pod, some "magic" happens and then my identical copy appears in the blue pod (notice that there isn't a strict need for shut doors or anything, so the whole process could be in plain sight). Now, one might argue that the "original" me is the one located in the red pod. But! What if the pods performed teleportation at the same time? "I" should then notice that somehow "I" ended up in the blue pod and then "I" would have to convince everyone of that. But what would my clone's perspective be? What if each time, the person in the blue pod, after the "magic" is completed, gets killed (which is what happens in the film). Who gets killed? Can even "I" know which is which?

Here's another thought: what if each time you go to sleep, a mage clones you replaces "you" with the clone and then kills "you" (notice that the first "you" is without quotes). Would 'you' be able to tell the difference when 'you' wake up? Probably no. The reason I used this "sleep" example is because that is a period when you lose consciousness. But here's another example that goes beyond sleep. What if the whole "mage that clones and replaces you" happens every plank-second or every individual quanta of time? Of course this would be physically impossible, but it sort of illustrates the point that there really is no such thing as self-consciousness.

Random ending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbh5l0b2-0o
Just a "documentary" I found, quite surprising graphics. Only agree with it until the gives that formula about consciousness, but in any case, it's pretty interesting considering the author, "Athene" (I was stunned when I googled him!)