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The Emperor's New Mind

= Roger Penrose. The Emperor's New Mind = The main questions discussed in this book are clear from its subtitle: Concerning Computers, Minds and The Laws of Physics

Can a computer have a mind?

' my point of view is an unconventional one among physicists ... '
Penrose argues that artifical intelligence, as defined now by most computer scientists, is unreachable. He points out that although we think that we know how our brain works on elementary level this claim is unsupported and moreover, will be totally reviewed in the future.

People usually think that the things about which we have still much to discover — quantum gravity, black holes, origin of the universe — are irrelevant to this subject. Thus they usually consider the functionality of our Reason as something simpler and well-established now, perhaps with exception to detais.

To understand what is Consciousness a deep background knowledge of physics, philosophy, computer science is required. Penrose states that the reader familiar with these subjects can envisage the correspondence between the mentioned 'purely physical' topics and the question of How Does The Brain Work.

Penrose accepts the Turing test for consciousness,

' I am inclined to believe, as a general principle, that imitation, no matter how skilful, ought always to be detectable by skilful enough probing — though this is more a matter of faith... '
and thus if computer acts so that no human can tell him from conscious being, then so it is. Note that Penrose refers to 'thinking', 'understanding', 'consciousness' as to actual objective things (this point is subject to great dispute among philosophers from the beginning of time).

As to Penrose the individuality is a real thing he tries to understand what makes us feel aware of ourselves. The general problem of identity isn't an easy thing: is this bold letter M in this text the same as when I wrote it? Is this text the same as when I wrote it? Or is it indistinguishable? (note that in quantum mechanics the same and practically indistinguishable are completely different things!) (Ship of Theseus paradox).

If the essential of human individuality is just information (for example, about configuration of atoms or neurons) then the teleportation will be possible with unpredictable philosophical consequences of having two me. One possible solution would be that the process of copying will inevitably destroy the original — the idea so natural to quantum mechanics that it suggests its key role in answering these questions. =Links=