Winston Ewert is one of the authors of Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics. Here he explains why he thinks that, once we understand clearly what a computer is, we will see why consciousness is not a form of computation:
In the world of computer science, there is a standard definition of a computer: anything that can be simulated on a Turing machine. But what is a Turing Machine?
It is an abstract machine. It is not a device that physically exists or even could physically exist. We imagine its existence in a purely mathematical realm. The machine operates on simple rules. Nevertheless, if the machine is appropriately configured, it can compute anything that any computer can, regardless of the computer’s sophistication.
So, by the standard definitions of computer science, a computer is something that can be simulated on this abstract mathematical device. But an abstract mathematical device cannot experience qualia or consciousness. If they could, we would expect mathematical formulas like the quadratic formula or the area of a sphere to experience consciousness. But that seems absurd, so we must conclude that a computer cannot exhibit consciousness. Put another way, consciousness is not a form of computation.Winston Ewert, “Is the human mind a computer?” at Mind Matters News
Also by Winston Ewert: Remember the Luddites! The Luddites became famous for breaking machinery during the Industrial Revolution. Were they entirely wrong? It’s not as simple as some think.
Will the Free Market Help or Hurt Us in an AI-Empowered World? We may need new institutions, such as insurance against job obsolescence
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