The problem of other minds

Origi­nally posted at Bear­lamp.com.au: http://​bear­lamp.com.au/​the-prob­lem-of-other-minds/​ (also Greater­wrong)

I’m trapped in here and you are trapped in there.

It’s an odd prob­lem. How do we com­mu­ni­cate when we are each locked in our own Chi­nese room.

In com­put­ing terms—a hand­shake al­lows for an af­fir­ma­tion of knowl­edge to be re­turned. Un­for­tu­nately a com­pleted hand­shake does not con­firm shared knowl­edge. Ran­domA­gent can some­times con­firm a hand­shake with YesA­gent by get­ting ran­domly the right 1’s and 0’s to fulfil YesA­gent’s crite­ria for con­fir­ma­tion.

The prob­lem of other minds is that we can’t nec­es­sar­ily trust both agents to be us­ing the same com­mu­ni­ca­tion method. We could have a bit-flip, we could have a differ­ent code. We can’t as­sume the method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is sound.

This is seen in the Two Gen­er­als’ Prob­lem. Where each gen­eral can­not trust the other gen­eral’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

So what can we do? One solu­tion is a three pass en­cryp­tion pro­to­col. With this sys­tem, each agent self-ver­ifies the mes­sage.

But for all that I do, No mat­ter how hard I try to pass the mes­sage, I will never know if the same sub­jec­tive qualia of the colour blue is be­ing seen by you.

Next: The ex­per­i­men­tal ap­para­tus (greater­wrong)