There is a never ending discussion, which very concisely can be summarized in this tweet below:
And frankly any time I see similar exchanges (and I see a lot of them) I get mildly irritated. Let me get to the essence.
Computers have been undoubtably the shaping invention of the recent century and hence they have became a strong theme in our culture. Since the theory on which computers have been built is a branch of mathematics, by definition an abstract discipline, computers have also had a major impact on philosophy. We learned for example that everything we can write an equation for can be in principle calculated on a computer. This leads to somewhat profound philosophical consequences summarized as follows:
- Stuff we can write equations for is in principle computable
- We can write equations for physical interactions of molecules
- Everything is made of molecules
- Hence everything is computable
- Hence in principle we could simulate an entire brain in a computer
- And since we can in principle simulate a Turing machine in a brain, hence brains and computers have to be equivalent
- Furthermore, in principle we could simulate entire Universe
- Hence universe must be a computer too
When … Read more...