Jul 5, 2010

Consciousness - an emergent property

A stone is dropped into a pond creating a perfectly circular wavefront that propagates radially away from the point of impact. The speed of wave-propagation, the amplitude and wavelength can easily be modelled by a wave-function - a computer can simulate the wave-pattern on the water and display a virtual lake with breathtaking similarity. But it remains a simulation. The lake does not solve a wave-equation in order to show a wave-pattern. The propagation of a water-wave is the consequence of an inherent property of the water itself. The description by a wave-equation - as accurate as it might be - is a model of the real thing, a simulation - not even an imitation. These are two completely different - and absolutely not comparable - paths to the image of a water-wave.
The simulated wave shows the same imagery as the real one, the wave-propagation looks identical, the optical reflections will be perfectly similar, it might even be possible to predict some wave-behavior.
But the simulation lacks wetness.
The simulation of intelligent behaviour might imitate quite well decision-processes, even the all so human fuzzyness (some might remember the 'humanize'-button on a sequencer of the eighties... a button adding some imperfection to the timing), but no matter how good this form of "Artificial Intelligence" is, it remains a simulation of intelligence. The processes leading to intelligence or artificial intelligence are inherently different. And so mainly the appearances we actively simulate will be found, the simulation still lacks - consciousness

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