The problem of other minds



Originally posted at (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)