Aaron Sloman (Birmingham)
The Meta-Morphogenesis of Virtual Machinery with "Physically Indefinable" Functions

I use "meta-morphogenesis" to refer to the mechanisms and processes by which morphogenesis, especially morphogenesis of information processing functions and mechanisms, changes -- over evolutionary, developmental and social time scales. I shall give a brief presentation of some of the ideas, including conjectures about how the development of virtual machinery in biological organisms can be compared with some of the complex, often unnoticed, developments in computing systems over the last six or seven decades including production of virtual machinery with complex internal causation as well as external and "downward" causal connections. Some of that virtual machinery has functions whose description requires language, e.g. talk of "wanting", "trying". "believing", "inferring", "introspecting", that cannot be translated into the language of the physical sciences (as currently understood). This fact could cause intelligent machines to become puzzled about their own consciousness and mind-brain relationships in the same ways as human philosophers and scientists have. In both cases well-designed tutorials in systems engineering may (for some individuals) help to remove the puzzles. For more information see:

http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/misc/meta-morphogenesis.html