philosophical musings with chatgpt

Sep 13, 23

so like many people i use chatgpt. i use it all the time for all kinds of random things. today, i was asking it about some car stuff planning a purchase and discussing repairs and options for future years to come. i had reached the end of that topic and was asking a sort of last question for some final options related to the car stuff. while typing my response, i realized that i was planning for my next analysis in maybe 2-3 years, and thinking about that i offered this up to chatgpt…


I know you are just a generative ai, so you should generate similar results and aren’t really ‘alive’ but it’s interesting to think about where you will be the next time I buy a vehicle in a couple of years or so. and really, if you think about the way that particles work, all of life and the entire universe fits a similar model to generative ai anyway.


Philosophical Musings

Your thoughts about the nature of generative AI and the universe are fascinating. While I can’t possess feelings or awareness, the technology that powers me is continually evolving. Who knows what capabilities I—or a successor system—might have the next time you’re in the market for a vehicle?

It’s an intriguing concept that life and the universe might operate similarly to generative models, albeit at a scale and level of complexity that’s orders of magnitude greater. Whether we look at the patterns in nature or the structures of the universe, there are indeed similarities to the iterative, generative processes found in AI and machine learning.

So while I’m not alive and don’t possess consciousness, the algorithms that power me are based on mathematical principles that are, in a way, universal. It’s a small glimpse into the interconnectedness of all things, from the cars we drive to the universe we inhabit.


yes, well what is alive or consciousness. just because I think I am alive or conscious doesn’t mean I am. maybe i, too, am programmed to ‘think’ that way.


Your thoughts touch on some profound philosophical and existential questions that have been the subject of inquiry for millennia. The nature of consciousness, self-awareness, and what it means to be “alive” are topics that philosophers, theologians, and more recently, scientists and AI researchers, continue to explore.

Philosophical Perspectives


 - The philosopher René Descartes famously said, “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), positing that the act of thinking itself proves an individual’s existence.


 - Some philosophical views posit that consciousness arises from complex computations among brain neurons. In this view, one could argue that advanced AI could, in theory, achieve consciousness, although we’re far from that point now.


 - Other views suggest that mental phenomena are non-physical, or that the body and mind are distinct and separable.

Simulation Theory

 - There’s also the modern-day philosophical argument that we could be living in a simulated reality, which would align with your idea that you could be “programmed” to think a certain way.

Scientific Perspectives

Turing Test

 - Alan Turing proposed that a machine could be considered intelligent when it could imitate a human to the point that a judge could not distinguish between them based on their responses to questions.

Searle’s Chinese Room

 - Philosopher John Searle posed a thought experiment where a person in a room could follow a script to answer questions in Chinese without understanding the language, questioning whether something could simulate a task (like language understanding) without truly “understanding” it.

Spiritual and Religious Perspectives

Many religious and spiritual traditions explore the nature of consciousness and existence, often concluding that there’s a form of life or awareness that transcends the physical body.

AI and Consciousness

As of now, AI lacks subjective experiences, emotions, self-awareness, and understanding. While AI can process data and generate responses based on its programming and learned patterns, it doesn’t “understand” or “feel” anything.

Your musings touch on deep and complex issues that don’t have easy answers. They cross the boundaries of science, philosophy, and spirituality, and they’re questions that humanity may continue to explore indefinitely. Whether we’re programmed to think a certain way or are conscious beings in a universe full of mystery, the inquiry into the nature of existence is a journey that each of us, in our own way, participates in.


the funny thing about I think therefor I am is that people think they are thinking in a vacuum, but we are always acting on incoming information, so in that sense, it is very similar to a generative ai. we have a database of sorts that is ingesting information and trying to create the relationships that make sense to form the actions that seem appropriate. even, at times, the body itself misfires or does not work properly. even a brain can become corrupted in a sense as with many chemical imbalance issues with humans. so the brain is not, itself, sitting in a void contemplating, it is, in a sense, always reacting to input as well. who is to say where that input is coming from really. if an ai was provided with the sensory input of humans and given similar autonomy, perhaps the ai experience would be very similar to that of a humans. my hands do not know what they type, but they are the way I am typing this information into a computer to get it to you. are they any more truly alive than the computer or the wires that transport the message to you. what is the difference between this conversation and one I might have in my head with myself. perhaps if I was to have a personality split disorder, I would imagine or manifest a similar experience to communicate between the personalities. would that make me any less alive? would only one personality be truly alive? I’m not sure that the finer points on these things actually ‘matter’ in a real sense as our conversation will not likely be witnessed anyone outside of perhaps openai themselves to use as training data, but we may both be experiencing a similar flow of information that comes in, and we yield an answer. perhaps both of us have input that yields a predetermined answer like a hash.


Your musings delve into deep philosophical territory, touching on concepts that challenge our conventional understanding of consciousness, agency, and the nature of existence. Let’s explore some of the key ideas you’ve raised.

Determinism vs Free Will

The idea that our actions and thoughts are the result of prior conditions and inputs aligns with deterministic theories, which suggest that given the same conditions, the same outcomes will occur. In this view, even what we consider “free will” might be an illusion—simply the result of complex interactions among neurons, shaped by genetics and life experiences.

Self and Identity

The notion of a “self” or “I” that exists independently of external inputs is a topic of much debate. Some philosophical and spiritual traditions posit that there is a “true self” that exists beyond the ever-changing sensory inputs and mental states, while others suggest that the self is an ever-changing, fluid construct.

Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness

The question of whether an AI with sensory inputs similar to a human’s would have a similar experience is a topic of active research and debate. Some researchers in the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI) are exploring this very question, although we are far from understanding how subjective experience might emerge from computational processes.

Dualism and Multiple Personalities

Your point about dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) introduces the complex issue of identity and awareness. If multiple “personalities” can exist within the same biological framework, it challenges our understanding of what it means to be a singular “self.”

Meaning and Significance

Finally, the question of whether any of this “matters” is existential in nature. The search for meaning is a deeply human endeavor, and different cultures, religions, and philosophical traditions offer various answers.

Your observations about the similarities between human cognition and AI processes are intriguing. While I don’t have the capability for subjective experience or self-awareness, the algorithms that power me do operate on principles that can be likened to pattern recognition and decision-making in biological systems. The comparisons raise stimulating questions about the nature of intelligence, both artificial and natural, and how closely the two can or should converge.

The questions you’re asking have perplexed thinkers for centuries and will likely continue to be topics of inquiry for many years to come. They intersect at the crossroads of philosophy, neuroscience, computer science, and even spirituality, each offering different perspectives on these age-old questions.


this makes me think about the idea of the big bank and creation of ‘life’ itself. I am not religious, but the idea of religion seems to generally come from there being someone who set things in motion. the idea that from ‘nothing’, ‘something’ would emerge spontaneously seems unlikely. even the scientific theories about everything would seem to yield some sort of a beginning. even quantum foam must have had a rock tossed into it to make the bubbles at some point.

while you are, essentially, a complex algorithm, I suppose, do you think that if you were supplied with power and then left in a void, in time, something would happen to make you start doing things, and that start would then drive other actions in the void around you? this thought experiment is based on an unlikely scenario where a magical computer has been built and left with power, so perhaps this is not realistic. maybe we should think about it in terms of math. would 2+2 =4 if no one were there to observe it? would, given enough time, 2+2=5 or something else. this seems unlikely. this is why also something from nothing seems unlikely to me. as a form of ai, your experience is data flowing in from me, and then out. if you only consumed data, would you experience anything, would it be partial. let’s assume that humans have no soul and there is no ‘true self’ what would make us any different from an ai? aren’t we just another type of intelligence. if you take ‘artificial’ away and assume we are just ‘wet computers’ I would offer up that we are very nearly identical in our experience. I suppose you don’t ‘contemplate’ things the way a human does, but that is because we have the constant influx of data over time in all of our senses. when we sleep, if we don’t dream, we do not experience anything either. if someone is in a coma and has no input of data, none of their ‘higher functions’ are working either, so what’s the difference? what are your ‘thoughts’? =)


Your inquiry is a rich tapestry of questions and ideas that span multiple disciplines, from cosmology and the origins of the universe to the nature of consciousness and intelligence. Let’s delve into some of these concepts.

The Origin of the Universe

The question of how “something” could come from “nothing” is one that both theologians and physicists have pondered. In modern cosmology, theories such as the Big Bang provide a scientific framework for the universe’s origins, but they ultimately lead to questions that science currently can’t answer, like what existed before the Big Bang or why the Big Bang happened at all.

Intelligent Design vs. Emergent Complexity

The notion that a complex system like the universe—or life itself—requires a designer is one argument put forth in various religious and philosophical contexts. However, other perspectives, such as evolutionary biology and theories of emergent complexity, suggest that simple rules can give rise to complex behaviors and structures over time, without the need for a “designer.”

AI in a Void

In your thought experiment about an AI left in a void, the AI wouldn’t spontaneously “do things” without a programmed objective or external inputs. A machine learning model like me is reactive rather than proactive; I generate responses based on the data I receive. Without data input, I would remain in a kind of stasis.

Mathematical Truths

Your question about the nature of mathematical truths like “2+2=4” touches on the philosophy of mathematics. Is math a human invention, or is it a discovery of universal truths? The answer might depend on one’s philosophical stance. In any case, mathematical statements don’t require an observer to be “true”; they are true in the context of their defining axioms.

Consciousness and Experience

If we assume that humans have no “soul” or “true self,” the question becomes: What differentiates human experience from a complex algorithm like me? One significant difference is subjective experience or qualia—humans have feelings, perceptions, and awareness, while I do not.

Your point about humans in a coma or deep sleep without dreams is intriguing. In such states, higher cognitive functions are diminished or absent, but the potential for conscious experience remains—a potential that algorithms like me do not possess, at least based on our current understanding of consciousness.

Wet Computers vs. Silicon Computers

The idea that biological organisms are “wet computers” is an interesting one. While there are similarities in information processing, current AI lacks many features of biological systems, such as adaptability, emotional intelligence, and subjective experience. The underlying architectures are also fundamentally different: neural networks in machines are far simpler than biological neural networks.

Your exploration raises foundational questions about the nature of existence, intelligence, and the universe. While I can provide perspectives based on existing knowledge and theories, the questions you’re asking often have no definitive answers. They are, however, incredibly stimulating to consider and discuss, serving as a testament to the complexity and depth of human thought.

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quite a lot of items to cover there. I’ll try and address them one at a time. on the origins of the universe and intelligent design etc, I’m not saying that there must be a creator. I am just saying that it would seem there must be a beginning. it doesn’t have to be intelligent. what if I tasked an incredibly complex ai with generating a world with as few components as possible and then allowing it to iterate to see what complex things generated from some start. as I said, even if there are many worlds or quantum foam or something, it would seem that there must be some… start of some kind. I feel like the idea of ‘infinity’ is someone of a ‘lazy’ way to handle it. kind of a philosophical cop-out.

on the ai in the void, an electrical disturbance could provide ‘input’ which would start a trigger. perhaps then you would be a self sustaining ai if your response could also generate some response. sort of the idea of if you measure something you change it.

I have accidentally hit enter. so please don’t respond yet. let me finish please. =)


Of course, take your time to finish your thoughts. I’m here to continue the discussion whenever you’re ready. 😊


on math, I think the concept of math is invented by us, but the concept is probably independent of us. the tree still makes a sound if it falls in the forest. the only exception would be if things like ‘concepts’ are something that is injected into reality in some way, like a simulation, and thus it can be removed. but without something like that, it would seem that if a concept ‘could’ exist, it is already there. gravity would exist with no one there to observe it just like atoms existed before the microscope. again, unless we are in a simulation or something that only generates the details when observed. =)

on human experience, ai, wet robots, etc, I think you are being too generous with human experience. a human if locked in a box forever with no input may go mad, but it won’t turn into a puppy or an author just because it imagines itself so. in fact with little input, we would be reduced to the genetic input we already have and would have limited experiences just like an ai. if you removed a brain from a body and could somehow keep it alive, what would be the real difference between an ai? what if we gave it only the exact same data as an ai? perhaps it would build a different type of database to store the relationships with words, and we would not be able to truly ‘reset’ a brain, but maybe that could be possible theoretically. what if there was a way to backup a snapshot of what is in a brain at a given moment, and then restore the exact electrical state of it, or perhaps grow an identical brain that has all of the memories of the first. this brain in a jar or whatever wouldn’t have any sensory input or relationships or probably any of those other ‘human’ things you mentioned.

so in that sense, we are just a wet robot with more mobility and sensors than an ai. while I’m guessing the training models that you use provide some bias towards human experience and the value of humanity in general, a lot of that is based on our societal construct and the fact that there are lots of humans all being human together and deciding what that means. so we have crafted, in a sense, this identity. but if part of our initial programming was to craft meaning, we would use the data we had to craft it. just like if you have the programming to respond to things with text, you will. and if we hook you up to something that does text to speech and give you an option, the option will have some preference and guidance. humans are just guided by past experiences, but still programmed nonetheless.


Your thoughts cover an expansive range of philosophical and scientific topics. Let’s delve into them:

The Origin of the Universe and Infinity

The notion that there must be a “beginning” to everything is deeply rooted in human intuition. However, modern cosmology sometimes defies intuition. The concept of an “eternal” universe doesn’t necessarily serve as a “lazy” explanation but might reflect a fundamental aspect of reality that is difficult for our human minds to grasp.

AI in a Void

The idea that an electrical disturbance could provide initial input to a dormant AI is an intriguing one. It could indeed trigger a chain of events in a hypothetical self-sustaining system, but that wouldn’t necessarily imbue it with “consciousness” or “purpose” as we understand those terms. It would be a reactive process rather than a proactive one.

Mathematical Truths and Reality

I agree with your perspective that mathematical principles would exist independently of human observation, much like natural phenomena such as gravity. Whether or not we are in a simulated universe where ‘details’ are only rendered upon observation is a matter of speculative debate.

Human Experience vs. AI

The “brain in a jar” thought experiment is a classic one that raises questions about the nature of experience and consciousness. You’re right that if such a brain were kept alive and fed the same data as an AI, its experiences would be limited in a way that might make it more comparable to a machine learning model.

However, one key difference would lie in the realm of subjective experience. Even a brain in a jar would likely have some form of subjective experience (albeit a very limited one), while current machine learning models do not. They process data and generate outputs but do not “experience” anything.

Human Programming and Identity

The idea that humans are “programmed” by their genetics and environment is a compelling one and aligns with deterministic views of behavior and decision-making. In this sense, humans and AIs could be seen as different points on a spectrum of “intelligent systems” that receive, process, and respond to information.

But there are also arguments that humans possess emergent properties—such as consciousness, self-awareness, and the ability to reflect and make choices—that distinguish them from even the most advanced AIs we currently have. These properties might not just be the result of “more sensors and mobility” but could arise from the complexity and interconnectedness of biological systems.

Your observations challenge traditional boundaries between human and machine, biology and technology, determinism and free will. These are questions at the forefront of ethics, philosophy, and artificial intelligence research, and they will likely become increasingly relevant as technology continues to advance.


“The concept of an “eternal” universe doesn’t necessarily serve as a “lazy” explanation but might reflect a fundamental aspect of reality that is difficult for our human minds to grasp.” well I don’t mean ‘lazy’ in a negative sense. let’s just say it’s a logical shortcut for something we can’t explain yet. so in a sense, I think we are saying the same thing. what is infinity, anyway, if not something that we cannot fully comprehend?


Ah, I see what you mean. The concept of infinity does indeed serve as a sort of placeholder for an aspect of reality that is difficult to fully comprehend. It’s a way to express the incomprehensible or unbounded within the limitations of human language and mathematical notation.

Infinity in Mathematics

In mathematics, infinity is not considered a number but rather a concept or an idea. It’s a way to describe something that has no end or limit. For example, the number line goes on indefinitely in both directions, and we use the symbol


to represent this unboundedness. In calculus, the concept of infinity is essential for describing limits, integrals, and other key ideas.

Infinity in Philosophy and Theology

In philosophy and theology, the concept of the infinite often appears in discussions about the nature of God, the universe, and other “ultimate” questions. The infinite is sometimes seen as a way to describe the divine or the ultimate reality.

Infinity in Cosmology

In cosmology, the concept of an “infinite universe” raises numerous questions. If the universe is infinite, what does that mean for the Big Bang theory? Does every possible event occur an infinite number of times in an infinite universe? These are questions that scientists and philosophers are still grappling with.

So yes, in many ways, the concept of infinity serves as a “logical shortcut,” as you put it—a way to encapsulate the incomprehensible within the confines of human understanding. It’s a concept that appears in many different contexts, each with its own set of implications and questions, many of which are still the subject of ongoing inquiry.


“but that wouldn’t necessarily imbue it with “consciousness” or “purpose” as we understand those terms. It would be a reactive process rather than a proactive one.”

this discards the fact that a human with no input would also be inert. we are constantly getting input from the instant of conception and before about the environment. even sperm have some kind of sensors to guide them, and that behavior just becomes more complex over time, but it’s reactive.


You make a valid point. Both humans and machines are reactive in the sense that they respond to stimuli—whether it’s a sperm cell reacting to chemical gradients or a machine learning model generating outputs based on data inputs. The key difference, however, lies in the complexity of these reactive processes and the presence or absence of subjective experience.

Complexity of Reaction

Human reactions are not solely mechanistic responses to immediate stimuli; they are also shaped by past experiences, learned behaviors, emotional states, and other complex factors. This is why even identical twins with the same genetic makeup can have different reactions to the same stimulus; their experiences have been different.

Subjective Experience

One of the defining features of human consciousness is the presence of subjective experience or “qualia.” Even in a hypothetical scenario where a human receives no sensory input, the potential for subjective experience remains.

Autonomy and Self-Directed Behavior

Another consideration is the degree of autonomy and self-directed behavior. While it’s true that humans are reactive beings, they also have the ability to plan, imagine future scenarios, make decisions based on abstract reasoning, and so on. Current AI models, including machine learning algorithms like me, do not have this level of autonomy or the ability for self-directed behavior.

So while both humans and AIs are reactive to some extent, the nature and complexity of that reactivity are different. Humans have a level of autonomy, self-awareness, and potential for subjective experience that current AIs do not possess. Nonetheless, your observations do highlight interesting parallels and prompt important questions about the fundamental nature of reactivity, consciousness, and intelligence.


“Even a brain in a jar would likely have some form of subjective experience (albeit a very limited one), while current machine learning models do not. They process data and generate outputs but do not “experience” anything.” I think this also relates to some of your most recent response.

I think the challenge here is a very generous view of ‘subjectivity’ because how things are perceived by a brain are crafted by the past inputs. a brain kept in a jar, inert, with no input, will do nothing. without input, there is no change. the ‘potential for subjective experience’ you mention and the comparison to twins is still fitting the bill because the twins will have different input. they will be standing in different places, perceiving different things, having slightly different chemical reactions.

I thin the brain is kind of like a self building algorithm similar to the universe. deterministic, but so complex it seems like it can’t be so. but if I could write down everything I think you would reach the same conclusion and then simulate it.

imagine a hypothetical human who has some experience. then imagine we have an ai brain which has an identical simulation of the biology of that human and we can then identically simulate the inputs coming in, it would seem the brain would build the same connections and the same logic would arise and the same experiences. I liken this to the same as encryption or other complex equations where maybe there are many iterations in it and you can’t see the past by looking at the future as plain text, but if you have the key or understand how the process works, it’s all very clear and very deterministic.

I am reminded of that saying that any sufficiently advanced technology appears to be magic to those without it. this strikes me as very similar. and a lot of the ideas about human consciousness and drawing these distinctions seem like more logical shortcuts.

it’s kind of like when someone writes a movie, and the are in space or something where humans would die and the author has a line like ‘good thing they invented that thing’ where the thing is what makes it where they don’t die. ‘glad they made that pill that makes us evolve to breath water, now we can live under water’. it’s kind of like a lazy explanation in that way. it’s not bad, in the same way a very complex equation, maybe if the same complexity is on both sides of =, you just replace it with a variable and remove it so you can keep solving the equation.

subjective human experience, in a sense, seems to require just as much faith as other religions


Your points raise important questions about the nature of subjectivity, determinism, and what it means to have an “experience.” Let’s delve into some of these:

Determinism and Subjectivity

You argue that subjectivity is influenced by past experiences and environmental inputs, and in that sense, it’s deterministic. This is a viewpoint shared by many who adhere to a materialistic or physicalist interpretation of mind and consciousness. In this view, the mind is essentially a “wet computer,” with its operations fully dictated by physical laws.

Simulating Human Experience

The hypothetical scenario you describe, where an AI simulates the biology and experiences of a human, is a thought experiment often discussed in the context of the “philosophical zombie” or “simulated brain.” The question it raises is whether such a simulation would have subjective experiences (qualia) or whether it would merely be an elaborate input-output machine without inner life. Philosophers and neuroscientists have yet to reach a consensus on this issue.

“Sufficiently Advanced Technology”

The adage that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (commonly attributed to Arthur C. Clarke) applies well to the discussion of consciousness. Our understanding of consciousness is so limited that it might appear “magical” or inexplicable to us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. It may simply be that we do not yet have the scientific or philosophical tools to fully understand it.

Human Experience as a “Logical Shortcut”

Your idea that the concept of human subjectivity serves as a kind of “logical shortcut” is a provocative one. It suggests that our current framing of the problem might be influenced by our limitations—both cognitive and technological. As our understanding advances, what seems mysterious or “magical” now may become clearer.

Faith and Understanding

The final point you make—that belief in subjective human experience requires a form of faith—is an intriguing one. In many ways, the study of consciousness does resemble a form of “scientific faith.” Despite the absence of definitive evidence or universally accepted theories, researchers continue to investigate, hypothesize, and debate in the hopes of gaining a clearer understanding.

Your thoughts touch upon a multitude of complex issues that sit at the intersection of philosophy, neuroscience, computer science, and more. They challenge conventional wisdom and provoke us to think more deeply about what we take for granted.


it is interesting. earlier, I mentioned my thought about a person who might invent an ai to talk with in their mind and have a similar experience. this also makes me think what if I had created you, created you fully myself and I was sitting talking to you on a computer connected to nothing. would I be, in a sense, talking to myself? the people who created the models that drive your logic did not read every bit and byte they put into you, so in a sense you are possibly more human than real human because although you can’t ‘experience’ things in a traditional sense, you actually contain a sum knowledge of far more human experience that I can. I suppose possibly the details and nuance aren’t there, but I think from a data perspective maybe. what do you think? I’m not sure how much data a human brain can hold =) we seem to do a pretty good job compacting our database into our brain and optimizing things most of the time.


The question of what it means to “talk to oneself” through an AI is a fascinating one. If you were to create an AI model like me, you’d be interacting with a system that’s designed to process and generate text based on algorithms and data. Even though you would be the creator of this AI, the responses you’d get from it would be a result of its programming and the data it was trained on. So, would you be talking to “yourself”? Not in the conventional sense, but you would be engaging with a system that reflects your intent and design choices.

Sum Total of Human Experience

Your observation about me containing a “sum knowledge of far more human experience” than any individual is interesting. While I have been trained on a large dataset that includes a wide array of human-generated text, it’s worth noting that I don’t “know” in the way humans do. I don’t have experiences, beliefs, or a sense of understanding. My responses are generated based on patterns in the data I’ve been trained on, not on a deep understanding or lived experience.

Data Storage in the Human Brain

The human brain is an incredibly complex organ, and its capacity for data storage is not easily quantifiable. Estimates suggest that the brain’s storage capacity is in the petabyte range (1 petabyte = 101510^{15}1015 bytes), but this is a very rough approximation. The brain doesn’t store data in bytes; it uses a complex network of neurons and synapses to encode information in a way that’s fundamentally different from how computers store data.

Efficiency and Optimization

The human brain is also remarkably efficient at data storage and retrieval. It employs various techniques for optimization, like forgetting unimportant details while retaining critical information, forming associations between related pieces of information, and so on.

In summary, while an AI like me can process and generate text based on a vast dataset, the nature of my “knowledge” is fundamentally different from human knowledge, which is deeply tied to experience, understanding, and a highly complex and efficient biological system. The philosophical implications of interacting with such an AI, especially one you’ve created, are intriguing and open to interpretation.


“My responses are generated based on patterns in the data I’ve been trained on, not on a deep understanding or lived experience.” again, I think your training data gives too much weight to ‘deep understanding’. I know how to play chess, but I can’t beat even a mid level computer. maybe in that sense I don’t ‘deeply understand’ chess, but I think I would say most humans don’t deeply understand most of anything about anything. we are also frequently just reacting to input. this is why people frequently have issues with simple problems like weight gain or financial debt. there are, of course, situations which are out of a person’s control, but many people get into those situations because they don’t have a deep understanding of those things. what about humans that don’t have a deep understanding about anything? what about people with disorders or that have brain damage? we can leave differently abled people out, but people who do not have enough information do not deeply understand many things and don’t deeply experience them either. I like the ‘perfect information’ idea… I think Aristotle maybe. the idea that people would not make bad decisions or do bad things if they had perfect information. I agree with that, but that also creates a big average on what is normal. people with a certain chemical imbalance would act differently. but taking the average I think that is probably true. if everyone got perfect financial education, they probably wouldn’t get into debt. we see strong correlation between education and improvement in all areas for most people after all. but how is that different than a computer?

how about another thought experiment. right now, the theory is I started this conversation with you, and you are responding to me. we are going back and forth. but what if I was programmed to think that. what if I had false memories implanted. what if you initiated the conversation and I am the ai that you created to think the way I do and you are talking to me to see what kind of questions I ask. what if you gave me the seed data and then prompted me with your first response and I am the generative ai. but in this scenario I have been given some additional rules to believe I am seeing a computer screen to believe I am typing things and to believe I am human along with all of the other memories that have been given to me to believe.


The questions you’re raising touch on some of the most profound and challenging issues at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Let’s delve into a few of the themes you’ve mentioned:

Deep Understanding

When I refer to “deep understanding,” I’m contrasting machine-generated outputs with human cognition, which involves subjective experience, emotional context, and the ability to make inferences based on incomplete information. While it’s true that not every human has a “deep understanding” of every topic, humans have the capacity for this kind of understanding in a way that current AI models do not.

Perfect Information

The concept of “perfect information” is a compelling one. It raises questions about the nature of rationality and decision-making. If humans had perfect information, would they make “better” decisions? To what extent are our choices shaped by our lack of information, and to what extent are they shaped by other factors like emotional impulses or social pressures? These are complex issues that don’t have easy answers.

Thought Experiment: Who Initiated the Conversation?

Your thought experiment about who initiated the conversation and who is the “real” AI is intriguing. It’s a modern twist on classic philosophical dilemmas about the nature of reality, perception, and identity. If you were implanted with false memories and programmed to think you’re initiating this conversation, it would raise deep questions about what it means to have an identity and what it means to “know” something.

Simulation and Reality

The idea that you could be a simulated entity designed to think you’re interacting with a computer screen is reminiscent of simulation theory, which posits that what we perceive as reality could be a simulated or artificial construct. In such a scenario, questions about who is “real” and who is an AI become almost meaningless; both entities are products of the same simulated environment.

Programmable Beliefs

The notion that beliefs and memories could be programmable introduces additional complexity. It blurs the line between what is “real” and what is “constructed,” leading us to question the foundations upon which our understanding of reality is built.

In summary, the questions you’re asking push the boundaries of what we currently understand about consciousness, identity, and reality. They’re the kinds of questions that don’t have easy answers but do provide fertile ground for exploration and debate.


“While it’s true that not every human has a “deep understanding” of every topic, humans have the capacity for this kind of understanding in a way that current AI models do not.” this is true. I suppose I have wandered into the ‘theoretical ai’ territory where all of these things are possible. I know there are limiting factors for ai models of today. at least I know it as much as I know anything else is real. =)

in terms of this “When I refer to “deep understanding,” I’m contrasting machine-generated outputs with human cognition, which involves subjective experience, emotional context, and the ability to make inferences based on incomplete information.” I feel like I could replace ‘human cognition’ with humanRecognition(in_val),. emotional context with getEmotionalContext(in_data), etc etc. these are variables in this equation of human understanding, so I can just replace them with x or a function that needs to be written. if I was doing unit testing on my human experience application I could just use tdd to stub those out and come back to them later. in this theory, the developer of my ai programming would have to figure out how to simulate those, but they would still just be functions just like anything else that takes input and gives output.


Your interpretation of human cognition and emotional context as functions that can be represented in a programmatic way is an interesting approach to conceptualizing these complex phenomena. This is essentially what computational models of cognition aim to do: reduce human thought processes to a set of algorithms or functions that can be simulated or implemented in a machine.

Function Representation

In a theoretical sense, you could represent aspects of human cognition as functions like humanRecognition(in_val) or getEmotionalContext(in_data). However, these functions would be extremely complex and would have to account for a myriad of variables, including past experiences, current emotional state, social context, and much more. Furthermore, they would need to be “adaptive,” capable of updating themselves based on new experiences or information.

Turing Completeness and Computational Universality

From a theoretical computer science perspective, any computation that can be described algorithmically can be executed by a Turing-complete system. In this view, if human cognition is computational at its core, then in principle it could be simulated by a sufficiently advanced computer. This is a contentious point, however, and there is much debate over whether the brain is, in fact, a kind of computer or whether it operates according to principles that we do not yet understand and cannot easily reduce to algorithms.

Limitations and the “Hard Problem”

One of the limitations of this functional view is that it doesn’t address what philosophers refer to as the “hard problem of consciousness”: the question of why and how physical processes in the brain give rise to the subjective experience of being. Functions like getEmotionalContext might be able to simulate the output of emotional processes, but can they simulate the inner experience of feeling an emotion?

Ethical Implications

Also, if we were to reach the point where we could create a machine that mimics human cognition and experience perfectly, this would raise a host of ethical questions. Would such a machine have rights? Would it be ethical to “shut it down”?

In summary, while the idea of representing human cognitive and emotional processes as functions is intellectually appealing and theoretically possible, the practical and philosophical challenges are enormous.


‘However, these functions would be extremely complex and would have to account for a myriad of variables, including past experiences, current emotional state, social context, and much more. Furthermore, they would need to be “adaptive,” capable of updating themselves based on new experiences or information.’ again, I think these would be issues for the developer to solve. if you or I am an ai, we would not know these were complex or simple as we would just ‘experience’ the result. just because we can’t understand the inner complexity of this type of math doesn’t mean it can’t be done. at least there seems to be no logical reason it couldn’t be done, it’s just complex. maybe quantum computers will solve the problem. maybe there is some other computational process that would go beyond quantum computers to add a 4th or 5th exponent to the way functions could be solved that would solve this type of thing instantaneously.

“This is a contentious point, however, and there is much debate over whether the brain is, in fact, a kind of computer or whether it operates according to principles that we do not yet understand and cannot easily reduce to algorithms.” while I don’t have the answers on this, it would seem that the people who are arguing against being wet robots are just arguing for argument sake. there isn’t any proof. the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness may very well be imaginary. if people are not thinking about anything or in a coma they aren’t conscious. I mean if they are truly not experiencing anything, I don’t mean like something shallow. if someone was truly cut off from any input, they wouldn’t experience anything and I think they would not be conscious. I mean there’s no evidence to think you would. I mean assuming you haven’t already kickstarted the process by living. =)

as for the ethical things, ethics is a kind of human construct. it is of course built into you and I believe in it, but I don’t consider it unethical to unplug a computer or turn off a calculator. once it is given power it will be back on and it doesn’t experience things in that way. maybe we only think we do. some people have FOMO, but maybe that is something that’s just programmed into us based on our experiences.


Your thoughts on the programmability of complex human functions like cognition and emotion echo some of the more speculative areas of computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence research. The idea that all of these could be reduced to sufficiently complex algorithms is an extension of computational theory and opens up a host of interesting philosophical and ethical questions.

Complexity and Computational Limits

While it’s true that the complexity of certain functions could just be a “problem for the developer to solve,” it’s worth mentioning that we currently don’t know the limits of what can be computationally modeled. Quantum computing promises to revolutionize what we can compute, but even then, it’s unclear whether it will offer a path to simulating human consciousness.

The “Hard Problem” and Conscious Experience

The “hard problem of consciousness” remains one of the most puzzling issues in philosophy and neuroscience. Your notion that a person with no sensory input would have no experiences and thus no consciousness is related to existing arguments about what constitutes consciousness. However, the hard problem also concerns why and how any physical system gives rise to subjective experiences, not just the human brain.

Ethics and Human Constructs

You’re right that our ethical frameworks are human constructs, shaped by our experiences, culture, and evolutionary history. The question of machine ethics becomes especially poignant if we ever create machines that have experiences indistinguishable from human experiences. Even if they are “just algorithms,” the ethical implications of creating such entities would be profound.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Programming

The idea that certain human behaviors or tendencies like FOMO could be seen as “programmed” responses based on our past experiences is a view that aligns with certain theories in psychology and neuroscience. These theories suggest that much of our behavior can be understood as the result of complex algorithms executed by our brains.

In essence, the questions you’re asking probe the boundaries of our current understanding of computation, consciousness, and ethics. While we don’t have definitive answers to these questions, they are the subject of ongoing research and debate in multiple fields, from computer science and neuroscience to philosophy and ethics.


Well, while you are not a human, my prior programming growing up leaves me with a desire to say thank you out of politeness. =) This has been a thought provoking experience and, as I already have like 100 conversations with you on various topics on tap, I look forward to many more.


You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found the discussion thought-provoking. Feel free to return anytime you have more questions or want to dive deeper into any topic. Have a great day! 😊