With the recent progress in computing, and more specifically artificial intelligence (mainly neural networks), it is not strange that we see more and more sources say that it is only a question of time before such a computer program will eventually surpass the capabilities and intelligence of the human brain. A scary thought for one, an interesting thought for another. But if this is indeed a possibility, what will this mean for (human) consciousness and our understanding of it?
This article will explore the consequences for the existence of consciousness in a very specific type of computer simulation: a deterministic simulation.
Imagine being in a perfectly round, white room. You’re standing on one half of the room, and as you look around you notice someone else is there. Except it is not someone else, it’s you. A perfect clone of yourself has appeared on exactly the opposite side of the room. Your clone is wearing exactly the clothes you are, is standing in the same way you are standing and even has the same expression of confusion you have. Every molecule, every atom, every quark is encountered for. The clone is a perfect physical copy. A perfect copy of you.
If you ignore the influence of the world outside the room and you were to find yourself in this situation. Do you think you could ever have a conversation with your clone?