What is it like to be a thermostat? (Commentary on Dan Lloyd, "what is it like to be a net?")

Abstract
The project that Dan Lloyd has undertaken is admirable and audacious. He has tried to boil down the substrate of information-processing that underlies conscious experience to some very simple elements, in order to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. Some people will suspect that by considering a model as simple as a connectionist network, Dan has thrown away everything that is interesting about consciousness. Perhaps there is something to that complaint, but I will take a different tack. It seems to me that if we apply his own reasoning, we can see that Dan has not taken things far _enough_. When we have boiled things down to a system as simple as a connectionist network, it seems faint-hearted to stop there, and perhaps a little arbitrary as well. So I will take things further, and ask what seems to be the really interesting question in the vicinity: what is it like to be a thermostat?
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