Rough draft...  posted 7/16/2006


                               15 July 2006

                      Copyright (C) 2006 Homer W. Smith
           Redistribution rights granted for non commercial purposes.


     This paper is about the Machine Certainty Theorem (MCT) and its
possible ramifications.

     The MCT states that a machine can not learn anything with

     This statement depends heavily on the definitions of machine,
learn, and certainty.

     A machine is defined as any system of parts interacting via cause
and effect across a space time distance.

     Learn is defined as come to know.

     Certainty is defined as perfect certainty, that which can not be

     Among other things a machine can not learn with certainty whether
or not it or anything else exists, or whether or not any effects are

     This is because a machine learns by being an effect of causes,
even when it is learning about itself, and since effect does not prove
cause, a machine can never learn with certainty if cause exists merely
by studying alleged effects.

     Cause and its nature forever remain a theory to a machine.

     The application of the MCT is in the reverse, since consciousness
can learn with certainty a number of things, including its own
existence and personal agency (causation), one is led to conclude that
consciousness is not a machine.

     The formal statement of the MCT and its application are as

                       MACHINE CERTAINTY THEORM
                            (The "Proof")

     Learning biconditionally implies learning with certainty or
learning with not certainty.

     Distance and learning implies learning by being an effect.

     Learning by being an effect implies not learning with certainty.

     Learning with certainty, therefore implies Learning but,

     Not by being an effect, and

     Not across a space time distance.


     This work is about Learning, Certainty and Causality,

     Specifically it is about learning with certainty about causality.

     Historically it has been admitted that the physical sciences do
not provide certainty of truth, only high probabilities of workable
dependability.  What other certainties we might profess have generally
been relegated to faith.

     Put simply, in a mechanical space time universe, causation is not
sufficient to witness causation.

     That is, learning by being an effect is not sufficient to prove
the existence of cause, nor does learning by being an effect allow us
more than to model or theorize about the true nature of that possible
cause if it does exsit.

     However there is a certainty of interest that resides between the
absolute uncertainities of the physical sciences and the world of

     This is the certainty of consciousness, the certainty we have
that we are conscious and that we exist, the certainty we have of what
we are conscious of, for example the color forms of the visual world
around us, and the certainty we have of our own personal agency, causation
in the world.

     Tell a conscious unit there is no cause in the world, and you
have told him he does not exist.

     The search for causation in the physical universe is actually an
anthropomorization of directly perceived causation in ourselves.
Since we can see by direct perception, and thus with perfect
certainty, that there is causation within our consciousness, we
conclude that there must be causation out there in the physical

     [Some may be tempted to say that our perception of personal agency
is just that, simply a perception, and it doesn't indicate the actual
existence of such a thing as cause with certainty.  They are saying that
inspite of our direct perception of cause in our selves, perhaps there
still is no cause anywhere in the universe.  Think about that for a

     It is this certainty of our own existence and agency that makes
consciousness special and leads us to some startling conclusions about
its non mechanical, non space time, nature.

     The material of this paper started with the question could a
machine learn with certainty of its own existence or of anything for
that matter.

     As will be developed, the answer is no, and yet as a conscious
unit we are quite certain we exist and are agent and thus we are
forced to conclude that we as a conscious unit are not a machine,
although we may be interfaced with one, namely the body/brain system.


Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY    In the Line of Duty

Sun Jul 16 15:44:27 EDT 2006