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    From QESelf
    View Point Room Argument...
    QESelf’s project
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    The following argument diverges from what many of my fellow futurists often believe. It does so by challenging the idea that everything about you and I, at least in theory, can be accounted for by a string of bits that may then be uploaded into a classical turning machine. I am not arguing against the physical possibility of mind transference, I do think it is possible. However, I think and will argue below that it is beyond our current scientific and philosophical understanding.

    This argument is a specialized variation of the common "copy is not the original" argument. This variation illustrates how and why atomically identical clones lack sufficient information to facilitate a subjective transference, irrespective of that clones environment or spacetime location.

    The argument:
    Imagine two atomically identical, simple and non-distinct rooms. A human clone exists in suspended animation in each room and the clones share the exact atomic structure of the other. These rooms are shielded in such a way where no external (to the room) influences can affect anything within. For all intents and purposes the two rooms+clones only differ in their spacial locations (note: locations can be accounted for just as easily). Now imagine the two clones wake up at the exact same time and begin to explore their environment.

    As described it is understandable if one were to reason that:
    1) The rooms and their clones will evolve in exactly the same way over any length of time.
    2) The two clones will share the same self awareness.

    Why neither (1) or (2) is true:
    Modern physics tells us the reasoning about (1) is clearly wrong. The two rooms+clones will instantly begin to diverge, first in minuscule ways, but gradually these small changes compound on themselves, so that given sufficient time the divergence becomes ever more significant.

    Although less obvious, (2) is also wrong as it is logically inconsistent. In fact if the two clones shared the same self awareness in truth, then a change in one MUST have at least some influence on the other. If not, then clearly they cannot share anything of substance, since sharing by any definition must involve one or more transactions/interactions. The problem is that no matter how we influence clone #1, clone #2 will continue to evolve both subjectively and objectively independently of clone #1. Thus (2) is also clearly wrong and any conception of a connection/relation must be regarded as a contraction.

    But how can this be correct? Both clones obviously possess awareness and a self. Thus it seems absolutely reasonable to conclude both of these aspects must be accounted for by some pattern these clones have in common. It however turns out that the very concept of “shared”, at least as far as classical objects are concerned (i.e. non quantum) is fundamentally flawed.

    Instead we must accept that the two clones are only very “similar”, each possessing a very high probability of correlation to the other, that is at least until we pass the scale of atoms. With this refined definition it should no longer be surprising that two atomically identical clones share nothing of substance.

    Some people after having read the above will naturally want to try and refute this by drawing on philosophies like patternism. Where the argument is changed into one where the focus is placed on “sufficient” similarity in order to produce the appearance of a “pattern transfer”. This common line of thinking misses the point entirely. There is no question that physical things (clones and rooms included) have structure and interact in quasi-deterministic ways; thus things can properly be described as four dimensional patterns. However, this argument ignores the fact that patterns are always external abstractions of an arbitrary and incomplete subset of events. In other words it is like looking up at sky on a cloudless day and saying the sky is the same as yesterday. The statement is both meaningful and yet untrue.

    Likewise, some people will turn to the fashionable idea that consciousness, subjectivity, self-awareness or whatever you want to call it is an illusion and/or contradictory.

    If we are to take this response seriously then it must apply equally to all classical objects (atomic resolution patterns). As I have already shown the two rooms+clones do not share anything of substance. Thus anything the clones posses, illusions or otherwise, must be caused by the substance of a particular clone. As should be clear, calling something that exists, an illusion, is problematic at best.

    I propose an alternative view:
    Mind/Self is a pattern/process; however, awareness of mind/self is always singular. It's singular nature is defined by the same physical process by which all “things” emerge into classical reality.

    In quantum physics they call this emergence Quantum Decoherence, or in the theory of Quantum Darwinism the “e-selection of pointer states”. No matter what we call this process it should be clear that similarity is insufficient to claim a successful transference. Nature however posses a method for accounting for, transforming and keeping track of things (awareness of mind included). At present, how and why exactly this process works is not clear. What seems clear, at least to me, is that there is something about self awareness that is both physical and yet not accounted for by classical bits.
    Sat, Mar 26, 2011  Permanent link

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