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By Richard Henry Stoddard

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Other authors wrote down still other models of computing, but in every case they were shown to compute the identical set of functions. A universal Turing machine can simulate step-by-step the performance of any other model that anybody has yet had the imagination to write down, with the exception of a few models that involve real numbers of arbitrary precision, or equivalently, an infinite number of states. As the science fiction author Neal Stephenson put it, factories need all kinds of tools: lathes, drill presses, typewriters, and so on.

The Mind Is a Computer Program 43 Generally when someone writes a program for a PC or a Mac or any other modern computer, they don’t write it in 1s and 0s but rather in high-level instructions. One can still think of what’s going on as a simple random access machine. The computer has just had coded into it a lookup table that looks at the high-level instructions and translates them into 1s and 0s. Using a high-level language can make it much easier for people to program, but it doesn’t speed up the computation.

But to accomplish this e¤ectively, the DNA has to program the mind to make decisions, both short-range decisions and long-range plans, that favor the DNA’s interest. The DNA has to build a program that makes sophisticated decisions based on local conditions and sensory information, but equally important, it has to control this system so that it does the right thing, that is, favors the interests of the genes rather than wandering o¤ to some other calculation. In other words, it has to build in decision-making capability and, e¤ectively, build in an internal reward function that the creature will seek to maximize (see chapter 14).

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