[PD] Re: Code Art

ben at ekran.org ben at ekran.org
Sat Dec 6 21:02:46 CET 2003

> On Sat, Dec 06, 2003 at 01:41:00PM -0500, Marc Lavallée wrote:
>> I'm very reluctant to the idea that life could essentialy be a sort of
>> computing process.
> i like this sentence, it seems related to an idea which wander in
> my mind. i would be interested by your opinion about it.
>         an hypothesis,
> but if we assume that the "complete life" is contained completly
> in the body, another way to say it would be, if we assume their
> is no soul, no immaterial stuff floating above us kindof ghostly,
> then the life would be a physical process (with a lot of biology
> and chemistry), i mean just a physical process, so life will
> only follow the clear rules of physic at the atomique level. thoses
> rules can be expressed by equations and so could be computed by a
> computer, at least in theory. so a computer could be able to
> compute it... "it" is "a life"... so a computer could be able to
> compute a life. a computer would be able to create life, a computer
> would be able to "give birth".
> in short, if we assume there is no soul, a computer would be able
> to create life.
> 	-- the end.

This indeed *is* the reductionist argument. And of course reductionists do
beleive that life is *only* a physical process. In terms of floating
ghostlike immateriality quantum theory (and epirisism) becomes very
interesting. There is a great book called "The Physics of Consciousness"
by Evan Harris Walker. I saw him talk at a art-science conference. I does
not talk about "life" as being the interesting part, nor the "soul" for
that matter but focuses entirely on awarness/consciousness. A lot of the
discussion is about the quantum observer and the creation of reality
(physically/materially). The question them becomes, do computers (as
humans), have the ability to trigger state-vector collapse (the reduction
of what *could* be to what will be.)? I think physisists have been using
computers for quite some time, yet I don't think any have witnessed a
machine causing state-vector collapse. This may not be meaningful since a
consciousness needs to cause the state-vector collapse in such a way that
another event was collapsed due to a computer...

now this is a (really OT) digression!

I think its certainly true that the prospect of a machine being conscious
is much more interesting than being "alive". I would certainly suggest the
book to anyone interested in the topic-he makes a very interesting


> i like this reasonment, it doesn't mean i agree with it, but
> i find it interesting. it seems to demonstrate that if we
> assume there is no soul, a computer would be able to compute
> a life, even better a single computer could compute several
> lifes. according the moores's law, the speed of computers
> is doubled everything 18months... so the number of computed
> life can be doubled 18months, so the population computed
> inside the computer will increase exponentially.
> If all that is true, can a computer be alive ? the answer
> is let as an exercice for the reader :))
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