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Old 05-22-2019, 04:32 PM
begbert2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,249
Originally Posted by eschereal View Post
If there is a “driver's seat view”, it would have to be the programs top level process that handles major data traffic control. Except, even that process is just making decisions on abstract symbols that it receives from lower-level processes, without any real understanding of what they mean, apart from what the application parametrics tell it about how to handle specific data. An entire program, that seems so useful and sometimes even collaborative, is just a massive rat's nest of Half Man Half Wit's box-of-switches-and-lights with all the switches and lights obfuscated into nanoscale silicon and metal traces. You can make it vast, but the fundamental structure is no different.
Our current programs keep things partitioned and isolated for simplicity and maintainability. That's not strictly necessary - you could have a program's main loop running directly through the input, processing, storage uptating, and output phases directly each time.

Or you could note that the thread(s) of execution do run through all those parts each time, constantly, moving in and out of all the layers and back again. It's really a question of how (and where) the 'seat of consciousness' manifests, and how it ''feels like' from the inside - and whether the actual implementation being partitioned interferes with that at all. (Assuming it manifests in the first place, of course.)

Originally Posted by eschereal View Post
I put forth already, that the most sensible view is that this elusive thing is merely a manifestation of the survival instinct that is hardwired into critters (of which we are). It would explain the whole "immortal soul" concept, as in, “I don't want to die, so it makes me happy to believe in an ectoplastic part of me that will persist forever in the Elysian Fields (or Asphodel, or Og forbid, Tartarus)”, and so far, I have yet to hear a more satisfying explanation.
But how does "survival instinct" actually "manifest", physically speaking? Some part of the entity constantly checking the senses for threats, conferring with the memory about the threats, and prompting reactions to the threats?

Survival is just a goal. A goal that is conducive to there being future generations, yes, but the thing that has the goal is what I'm curious about. The thing that has the awareness of the situation to see threats and avoid them. How does it work?

Between "magic" and "program execution loop", I'm thinking "program execution loop".

Originally Posted by eschereal View Post
We might find out once we are able to actually accomplish that, but as has been said, the function of a program is defined by externalities. Two exact copies of the same logic-processing system will only function exactly the same way for exactly the same set of inputs. Consider that the human brain is subjected to a constant, roiling stew of hormonal inputs, and unless you can replicate the biochemistry with precision, there will be distinctions. Not to mention the ever-present survival instinct.
If you're going to emulate minds in the computer you have two choices: let the minds observe and react to the computer's inputs directly, or build a virtual "Matrix" (referring to the movie) for them to exist within. I'm thinking the Matrix approach would be way more pleasant for them - computers themselves tend to be completely hamstrung with regard to input and output. Very 'Have no Speaker and I Must Scream" kind of thing. Plus of course the Matrix approach lines up nicely with the simplest, most brainless way to go about emulating minds - emulate the entire freaking room the person's in, and get the brain (and mind) as a bonus. Expanding that to include a massive multiplayer world for them to walk around in is just a problem of scale.

Once you've got your Matrix for the minds to live in, the minds ought to be able to get all the inputs they're accustomed to just fine, presuming you designed the Matrix properly and with sufficient detail. Though of course you'd eventually want to tweak a few things - the whole goal here was to let the minds live forever after all. So once you have things all properly uploaded into a simulation you'll probably want to tweak a few things rather than accurately simulating the ravages of time and all. This would of course cause the minds in the simulation to diverge in thought and action from the originals, but really, wasn't that the point all along?