View Single Post
Old 05-22-2019, 02:42 PM
begbert2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,255
Originally Posted by eschereal View Post
That is really stretching the meaning of the concept, though. The operating system is an automoron that provides an environment for useful processes to run in. It really has zero understanding of what the processes are doing, only that they have specific needs that have to be met and that shit has to be cleaned up when they gracefully exit or explode all over the place.

It is more analogous to involuntary bodily functions like the beating heart, filtering liver and rippling GI tract that keep the biological creature operative. Self-awareness seems to be some sort of instinct-based adjunct to the simple or complex neurological function of the beast, and it is not even clear whether it enhances that functionality in any way other than to supply impetus to continue.
Well, I never said computers were very smart.

It really comes down to what is actually meant by self-awareness - I generally think of it as that the entity in question is continuously aware of its ongoing calculative processes, and has the capability to interpret and make decisions based on them. The sticking point, of course, is the "aware" part; we humans have a 'in the driver's seat' perspective on the world that we're hard-pressed to explain or even describe. I find myself wondering whether even a simple computer program that assesses inputs, outputs, and its own data storage might, from its own perspective, have a 'drivers's seat view'. I mean, we do program them to - they have a main execution loop that is constantly running back and forth through its event handlers and dealing with inputs as they come. The only think lacking is that the main loop doesn't have access to the data handled by the event handlers - but at what level would the 'driver's seat' manifest? One could theorize that the self-contained execution loop gives rise to the 'drivers's seat view' but that the 'view' included the data handlers as well.

This is, of course, all frivolous theorizing, but one thing that stands out to me is that I've never heard any other explanation for where or how that 'drivers's seat view' originates. I mean sure, there's bullshit about souls, but that just kicks the can down the street - how do souls do it, mechanically speaking? Whether material or spiritual the process is being carried out somehow.

And now, on to attempting to see if HMHW's explanation makes some sense to poor old simple me, and to see if it accomplished the literally impossible and draws a distinction between the function of a physical brain and its functionally exact copy.