Melody vs. Uploading

Melody vs. Uploading

Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

October 9th, 2010, 5:22 pm #1

Despite lacking sufficient interest to comment on recent discussions of the topic of uploading in the interactive forums where they are actually taking place, Melody has already made two blog posts on the subject. Both of them drip with predictable scorn and derision for uploaders. In her most recent one, she takes a shot at answering my question about the hydrogen atom.

"Ultimately, saying that the paper with a complete programmatic description (combined, presumably at some point with a turing machine which simulates it) is not a hydrogen atom is simply begging the question. How do you know it is not a hydrogen atom? What property is essential to our definition of hydrogen atoms which this lacks?"
http://www.network54.com/Forum/291677/m ... s+on+paper

Huh? again. It lacks being a real hydrogen item, that's what it lacks. A description, or simulation of a hydrogen atom, written in code in a computer, is exactly that...a description or simulation, not the original, or even a hydrogen atom, at all. Later on, in the discussion, Luke admits the computerized simulation of the hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom "in abstract form," but still calls it "the atom," something Mr. Ettinger seems to find as puzzling as I.


Apparently Melody is incapable of even following my line of reasoning, much less coming up with a non-circular argument against it. "Oh, it isn't a real hydrogen atom because it lacks being a real hydrogen atom..." brilliant, the defendant isn't innocent because they lack being innocent! Care to pick another logical fallacy to make yourself sound smarter than the rest of us with?

She also gets my "abstract form" comment laughably wrong, as it had nothing to do with a computerized simulation, but specifically addressed Bob's more abstract example of a set of papers that is (by implication) the history of a simulation but not an ongoing simulation itself. Here is the quote:

"To clarify my position: a logical sequence of papers corresponding to the history of a hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom in abstract form. When the papers are generated already, obviously the atom is not experiencing time in the dimension we experience time."

A logical sequence of papers implies a sequence of computations, but is not a sequence of computations in and of itself. A computation is an event happening over time. Simulations (however "computerized") happen over time (i.e. time as we know it, not the abstract kind that you get by stacking a bunch of logically related papers in a given direction). They are therefore quite concrete in the sense we are talking about.

Melody obviously has a very high opinion of her own "common sense", but evidently has little regard for proving a point logically.
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Joined: August 31st, 2007, 2:14 pm

October 10th, 2010, 12:20 am #2

See below.

First, Luke changed the subject a bit to suit himself. I had said that a written description of a hydrogen atom is not a hydrogen atom, and Luke preceded his answer by saying the description is "combined, presumably at some point with a turing machine which simulates it." I made no such presumption, because that merely tends to confuse the issue. The issue is not whether a description could be useful in one way or another, but whether it would constitute a hydrogen atom.

Melody responded to Luke's question about what the description lacks that an atom has by saying it lacks being a hydrogen atom, a statement Luke ridiculed. Well, certainly Melody wasn't careful here, but what she meant is obvious and true, viz., that they are ontologically dissimilar, because they are different kinds of things in important respects.

Luke also glosses over his admission that a description is only an "astract form" of a hydrogen atom. His question then becomes, what does an abstract form of an atom have that the atom itself does not? The answer is, many things, such as the ability to combine with another (real) hydrogen atom to form a hydrogen molecule. Also, the ability to exist in a volume measured in cubic nanometers. Of course he could squirm and talk about different kinds of time and different kinds of space, but that's just hand waving.
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[Luke wrote:]

Despite lacking sufficient interest to comment on recent discussions of the topic of uploading in the interactive forums where they are actually taking place, Melody has already made two blog posts on the subject. Both of them drip with predictable scorn and derision for uploaders. In her most recent one, she takes a shot at answering my question about the hydrogen atom.

"Ultimately, saying that the paper with a complete programmatic description (combined, presumably at some point with a turing machine which simulates it) is not a hydrogen atom is simply begging the question. How do you know it is not a hydrogen atom? What property is essential to our definition of hydrogen atoms which this lacks?"
http://www.network54.com/Forum/291677/m ... s+on+paper

Huh? again. It lacks being a real hydrogen item, that's what it lacks. A description, or simulation of a hydrogen atom, written in code in a computer, is exactly that...a description or simulation, not the original, or even a hydrogen atom, at all. Later on, in the discussion, Luke admits the computerized simulation of the hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom "in abstract form," but still calls it "the atom," something Mr. Ettinger seems to find as puzzling as I.

Apparently Melody is incapable of even following my line of reasoning, much less coming up with a non-circular argument against it. "Oh, it isn't a real hydrogen atom because it lacks being a real hydrogen atom..." brilliant, the defendant isn't innocent because they lack being innocent! Care to pick another logical fallacy to make yourself sound smarter than the rest of us with?

She also gets my "abstract form" comment laughably wrong, as it had nothing to do with a computerized simulation, but specifically addressed Bob's more abstract example of a set of papers that is (by implication) the history of a simulation but not an ongoing simulation itself. Here is the quote:

"To clarify my position: a logical sequence of papers corresponding to the history of a hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom in abstract form. When the papers are generated already, obviously the atom is not experiencing time in the dimension we experience time."

A logical sequence of papers implies a sequence of computations, but is not a sequence of computations in and of itself. A computation is an event happening over time. Simulations (however "computerized") happen over time (i.e. time as we know it, not the abstract kind that you get by stacking a bunch of logically related papers in a given direction). They are therefore quite concrete in the sense we are talking about.

Melody obviously has a very high opinion of her own "common sense", but evidently has little regard for proving a point logically.



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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

October 10th, 2010, 4:11 am #3

Robert has presented us with a brilliant defense of assuming the conclusion. Simulated space? Doesn't count. Simulated hydrogen atoms? Not real enough. By definition. How can we argue with that?

The fact is he is importing a bias that has no place in this conversation. If he wants me to agree that simulated hydrogen atoms are not real, he needs to nail down what he means by "real" in the first place -- in a manner that doesn't simply assume the conclusion.

Objects in the physical universe do have limitations that digital objects don't. For example, it is more trivial to duplicate a digital object, given enough storage space, and thus save a history or create an alternate timeline for the object (separate object, to the degree that they diverge). You can also clock it's speed up and down at a push of a button.

But these added properties are not sufficient to render them non-real. Non-real objects would be things like beauty and truth -- concepts of an abstract nature. Programs and files are not like that. They are encoded numerically, but that does not make them numbers in the abstract sense like "the number three" is a number.

They are even less abstract than a mathematical function, because they are specific material phenomena. Even though their exact physical location, shape, etc. are rather transient and largely irrelevant, it bears remembering that they remain physical machines with genuine physical functions and mechanisms all the way down, every bit as real as an automobile or sewing machine -- if yet ever so much more precise.

As to the hydrogen atom represented on a non-computed piece of paper, it is an example that generates more confusion than it dispels in my opinion. There are things (like suspending the passing of time) that are easy to do for digital objects but not physical ones. A piece of paper is like a simulation that has been frozen in place, and thus (according to my argument) like a physical object in an instant of time. The difference is that the paper is implied to stay that way for a long while (or forever), whereas an object or simulation would only remain in that state briefly. But as I've said, the fact that you can do this for digital objects and not physical ones doesn't make digital objects less real -- it merely means you have more control over them.
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Joined: August 31st, 2007, 2:14 pm

October 10th, 2010, 8:54 am #4

Luke's message (below) continues to mischaracterize various things and misstate my positions and generally obscure things.
So I'll use my legendary patience to attempt yet again to clarify, and will try to refrain from sarcasm, which Luke tries to use as a substitute for argument. (I was going to say, as a simulation of an argument, but that would be sarcasm.)

>If he wants me to agree that simulated hydrogen
>atoms are not real, he needs to nail down what
>he means by "real" in the first place -- in a
>manner that doesn't simply assume the conclusion.

I did not say that simulated hydrogen atoms are not real. I said that a description in writing of a hydrogen atom is not a hydrogen atom. And I spelled out reasons--e.g. that the pencil marks on paper do not and cannot do and be everything that an atom can do and be. E.g., 2 atoms can form a molecule, whereas 2 pieces of paper cannot. Whar could be more obvious?

Luke's remarks about simulations being real, i.e. that the parts and events in a computer are material, is irrelevant.

Again I appeal to other readers to chime in and reveal whhch arguments seem sound to them and which not, and why.

Robert Ettinger.



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Response to To be or not to be

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Robert has presented us with a brilliant defense of assuming the conclusion. Simulated space? Doesn't count. Simulated hydrogen atoms? Not real enough. By definition. How can we argue with that?

The fact is he is importing a bias that has no place in this conversation. If he wants me to agree that simulated hydrogen atoms are not real, he needs to nail down what he means by "real" in the first place -- in a manner that doesn't simply assume the conclusion.

Objects in the physical universe do have limitations that digital objects don't. For example, it is more trivial to duplicate a digital object, given enough storage space, and thus save a history or create an alternate timeline for the object (separate object, to the degree that they diverge). You can also clock it's speed up and down at a push of a button.

But these added properties are not sufficient to render them non-real. Non-real objects would be things like beauty and truth -- concepts of an abstract nature. Programs and files are not like that. They are encoded numerically, but that does not make them numbers in the abstract sense like "the number three" is a number.

They are even less abstract than a mathematical function, because they are specific material phenomena. Even though their exact physical location, shape, etc. are rather transient and largely irrelevant, it bears remembering that they remain physical machines with genuine physical functions and mechanisms all the way down, every bit as real as an automobile or sewing machine -- if yet ever so much more precise.

As to the hydrogen atom represented on a non-computed piece of paper, it is an example that generates more confusion than it dispels in my opinion. There are things (like suspending the passing of time) that are easy to do for digital objects but not physical ones. A piece of paper is like a simulation that has been frozen in place, and thus (according to my argument) like a physical object in an instant of time. The difference is that the paper is implied to stay that way for a long while (or forever), whereas an object or simulation would only remain in that state briefly. But as I've said, the fact that you can do this for digital objects and not physical ones doesn't make digital objects less real -- it merely means you have more control over them.



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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

October 10th, 2010, 5:49 pm #5

Our debate is not about whether simulated hydrogen atoms are real or not, but whether they are really hydrogen atoms. The latter depends on the former, however, so I'm glad we can at least agree on that much.

A piece of paper describing a hydrogen atom is essentially a static copy of one. It is not comparable to physical hydrogen atoms under normal circumstances, because it lacks the element of time. It cannot combine with hydrogen atoms in what is defined as space for it, because it has no time in which to do so. Similarly, if you were to remove the element of time for a hydrogen atom (e.g. by accelerating it to near the speed of light), it would not be able to combine with similarly disadvantaged hydrogen atoms within the scope of what is defined as space for it either.

In either case, I would not argue that the hydrogen atom ceases to be a hydrogen atom in the mean time, only that its normal properties are suspended due to lack of time for them to be expressed.
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Joined: August 31st, 2007, 2:14 pm

October 11th, 2010, 1:15 am #6

See Luke's message below.

First, he seems to be saying that, if the time were available, a paper description of a hydrogen atom would be able to interact with a real hydrogen atom. I refrain from acerbic comment.

Second, as I have said before, we are not restricted to describing a single state. We can describe a sequence of states, which is what the computer does. Luke seems to feel that a sequence of descriptions of states in the computer is basically different from a sequence of descriptions of states on paper. I see no essential difference. In either case, all you have is a collection of symbols which can be interpreted to signify attributes of a hydrogen atom.

Recall again what the computer does. It has an initial state description in store, along with a program. It then calculates subsequent state descriptions. These cannot interact with a real hydrogen atom.

Again I appeal to other readers to weigh in. Where are the failures to communicate? Help us out.

Robert Ettinger
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[Luke wrote]: Our debate is not about whether simulated hydrogen atoms are real or not, but whether they are really hydrogen atoms. The latter depends on the former, however, so I'm glad we can at least agree on that much.

A piece of paper describing a hydrogen atom is essentially a static copy of one. It is not comparable to physical hydrogen atoms under normal circumstances, because it lacks the element of time. It cannot combine with hydrogen atoms in what is defined as space for it, because it has no time in which to do so. Similarly, if you were to remove the element of time for a hydrogen atom (e.g. by accelerating it to near the speed of light), it would not be able to combine with similarly disadvantaged hydrogen atoms within the scope of what is defined as space for it either.

In either case, I would not argue that the hydrogen atom ceases to be a hydrogen atom in the mean time, only that its normal properties are suspended due to lack of time for them to be expressed.
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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

October 12th, 2010, 12:56 am #7

Recall again what the computer does. It has an initial state description in store, along with a program. It then calculates subsequent state descriptions. These cannot interact with a real hydrogen atom.

The reason the state descriptions cannot in and of themselves interact with hydrogen atoms has to do with a lack of interfacing mechanisms between the two, and proves nothing about their essential natures (i.e. what they describe). You point to the lack of spacial interface as if it were significant proof of your point, but it isn't. A hydrogen atom lacks a spacial interface to another hydrogen atom which is at the center of a black hole, in another spacial universe, at a point back in time from itself, etc.

As far as we can tell, the lack of a spacial interface between our hypothesized series of successive computed information states which describe a hydrogen atom, and a physical phenomenon that describes a hydrogen atom, is an engineering problem -- not an epistemic one. Once such an interface is created, the simulated hydrogen atom (provided it is running at the same rate as the real one, and is otherwise indistinguishable for all necessary purposes) should combine with it just fine. Why shouldn't it?
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Joined: November 1st, 2007, 4:06 am

October 12th, 2010, 2:49 am #8

The hydrogen atom contains a large amount of energy. No description on paper or any media can have that energy. The idea that the two can be the same is not valid.

Basie
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Joined: November 30th, 2005, 4:41 am

October 12th, 2010, 4:17 am #9

Recall again what the computer does. It has an initial state description in store, along with a program. It then calculates subsequent state descriptions. These cannot interact with a real hydrogen atom.

The reason the state descriptions cannot in and of themselves interact with hydrogen atoms has to do with a lack of interfacing mechanisms between the two, and proves nothing about their essential natures (i.e. what they describe). You point to the lack of spacial interface as if it were significant proof of your point, but it isn't. A hydrogen atom lacks a spacial interface to another hydrogen atom which is at the center of a black hole, in another spacial universe, at a point back in time from itself, etc.

As far as we can tell, the lack of a spacial interface between our hypothesized series of successive computed information states which describe a hydrogen atom, and a physical phenomenon that describes a hydrogen atom, is an engineering problem -- not an epistemic one. Once such an interface is created, the simulated hydrogen atom (provided it is running at the same rate as the real one, and is otherwise indistinguishable for all necessary purposes) should combine with it just fine. Why shouldn't it?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHgi6E1ECgo
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Joined: August 31st, 2007, 2:14 pm

October 12th, 2010, 5:43 am #10

Recall again what the computer does. It has an initial state description in store, along with a program. It then calculates subsequent state descriptions. These cannot interact with a real hydrogen atom.

The reason the state descriptions cannot in and of themselves interact with hydrogen atoms has to do with a lack of interfacing mechanisms between the two, and proves nothing about their essential natures (i.e. what they describe). You point to the lack of spacial interface as if it were significant proof of your point, but it isn't. A hydrogen atom lacks a spacial interface to another hydrogen atom which is at the center of a black hole, in another spacial universe, at a point back in time from itself, etc.

As far as we can tell, the lack of a spacial interface between our hypothesized series of successive computed information states which describe a hydrogen atom, and a physical phenomenon that describes a hydrogen atom, is an engineering problem -- not an epistemic one. Once such an interface is created, the simulated hydrogen atom (provided it is running at the same rate as the real one, and is otherwise indistinguishable for all necessary purposes) should combine with it just fine. Why shouldn't it?
Refer to below.

I don't want to display too much exasperation, but what Luke says is just word play and false analogies.

He says the lack of interaction between a paper description and a real hydrogen atom proves nothing about their essential natures. Blowing smoke. His previous challenge was to cite something a paper description could not do that a real atom could do, and I pointed out one of the obvious examples, that a real atom can combine with another real atom to produce a hydrogen molecule. He then says that in some circumstances one real hydrogen atom cannot interact with another. Obvious false analogy and irrelevant.

Then he talks about "creating an interface" between computer states and "a physical phenomenon that describes a hydrogen atom," the latter meaning, I think, a hydrogen atom. Again, just vacuous shuffling of words and change of subject. The subject is a paper description vs. physical reality.

Here's another example of what a real hydrogen atom not only can do, but always does, and that the paper description never does and cannot do, viz., distort the local and distant gravitational fields in the appropriate way.

Every physical object, including a force field, affects all the other objects in the universe by modifying the gravitational fields everywhere. According to some quantum theorists, this may involve quantum entanglement and results are instantaneous, but in any case the modification of gravitational fields always accompanies creation or movement of physical objects. The piece of paper will also modify fields, but not in the same way.

Robert Ettinger
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Response to Another response to Luke
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[Ettinger] Recall again what the computer does. It has an initial state description in store, along with a program. It then calculates subsequent state descriptions. These cannot interact with a real hydrogen atom.

[Parrish] The reason the state descriptions cannot in and of themselves interact with hydrogen atoms has to do with a lack of interfacing mechanisms between the two, and proves nothing about their essential natures (i.e. what they describe). You point to the lack of spacial interface as if it were significant proof of your point, but it isn't. A hydrogen atom lacks a spacial interface to another hydrogen atom which is at the center of a black hole, in another spacial universe, at a point back in time from itself, etc.
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[Luke]As far as we can tell, the lack of a spacial interface between our hypothesized series of successive computed information states which describe a hydrogen atom, and a physical phenomenon that describes a hydrogen atom, is an engineering problem -- not an epistemic one. Once such an interface is created, the simulated hydrogen atom (provided it is running at the same rate as the real one, and is otherwise indistinguishable for all necessary purposes) should combine with it just fine. Why shouldn't it?

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