Killing Science Fiction: Why Conscious States Cannot Be Copied or Repeated

Several philosophical problems arising from the physics of consciousness, including identity, duplication, teleportation, simulation, self-location, and the Boltzmann Brain problem, hinge on one of the most deeply held but unnecessary convictions of physicalism: the assumption that brain states and their corresponding conscious states can in principle be copied. In this paper I will argue against this assumption by attempting to prove the Unique History Theorem, which states, essentially, that conscious correlations to underlying quantum mechanical measurement events must increase with time and that every conscious state uniquely determines its history from an earlier conscious state.

Cosmic Queries: Minds and Machines

“We must consider this question, can machines think?” Alan Turing asked that question many years ago, but these days that question is taking on a whole new dimension. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Chuck Nice, and neuroscientist Gary Marcus answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on the intersection of minds and machines. You’ll learn what distinguishes the human mind from the minds of other mammals. Explore the mysteries of memory and the future of memory storage. You’ll also learn how humans have “context addressable memory” whereas computers have “location addressable memory.” Find out more about human Read More

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