Why computers are not conscious: Assigning Meaning

This video explains, using simple and elegant mathematical proofs, why the universal computational ability proves a computer is not conscious – because all of the meanings and conventions of any computer (IOS vs Android, Java vs. PHP, WAV vs MP3 etc) are assigned by conscious beings:

Neither Siri nor ChatGPT will be ‘waking up’ any time soon.

Cristi Stoica in Romania created this video. Here is his paper that goes deep on the same subject: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/22234/1/can-computers-think.v1.pdf Cristi has helped me with math, physics and biology papers for several years. Works at National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering. My paper Biology Transcends the Limits of Computation makes related arguments and expands on this idea.

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10 Responses

  1. Josh Sharp says:

    Hey Perry, I was just watching a video where Dawkins admitted that the genetic code is a real code (shocker!), but this reminded me of how many times I’ve been told the opposite. Why is there such a persistence of claiming that the genetic code is only metaphorical and figurative, instead of accepting that it is a true code per the definition of code(s)? I don’t get it. I see modern geneticists and biologists (especially evolutionary biologists, omfg) who say the genetic code in DNA is only just an analogy, even to the point of denying the existence of digital information contained in DNA.

    • Josh,

      Most of the time if the pushback has anything to do with atheists, it’s because of this:


      This is a very old blog post. From 2005-2012 long before I had my $10 million prize I was advocating the DNA is Code thesis. Also see


      There is simply no counterargument to this. And it really made a LOT of people very angry.

      In non-religious formal science / academic circles, the objection has more to do with making sure people don’t think that DNA is a PROGRAM that builds everything, almost like a computer program in a Toyota factory. DNA is definitely not that, even though at the most basic level it is indeed a code that makes proteins.

      Here is a GREAT example of what I just described, just this week by my good friend Denis Noble:


      In biology there are MANY other layers of control besides what is in DNA.

      • Josh Sharp says:

        What I am understanding is that dogmatic neodarwinists do not want to accept the possibility of an intelligent agent behind life. I guess it’s their form of damage control?

        Even in mainstream academic circles, the whole “life is purely chemistry” paradigm is still fairly prevalent, from my limited observations. I agree DNA is not a program that builds everything but, I think DNA can be analogous to a computer program. Those that vehemently disagree with this always resort to arguing implementation details because they know the analogy holds.

        Do you know of any researchers today applying information/coding theory to biology like Yockey did back in the day? I know Marcello Barbieri has his Code Biology framework and acknowledges that the genetic code is a true code.

      • Josh Sharp says:


        I read your blog, but I have to ask, do your sources provided at the end accept the genetic code in name only, or do they accept its ontological reality?

        I came across this source from Cell Press today, which says:
        “Similarly, the genetic code is not literally a code—it is a process that enables organisms to carry out particular functions by turning stored information into structures or actions using evolved rules”

        Is this not what the genetic code does?

        • That statement from Cell that you quoted is simply wrong.

          90% of the scientists I know or cite, accept it as ontological reality.

          A finer point that, for example, Denis Noble makes is: While the code is a literal code, DNA is not the “computer program” or “algorithm for building everything” that so many people imagine it to be. The role of live real time cellular intelligence is central in embryo development and physiology, while DNA is more like a recipe for making bricks (proteins).

          I have a chapter in Evolution 2.0 about this called “Is DNA literal code, or is it like a code”? with many citations. I have lots of blog posts on this topic with tons of references, easily found by searching the site.

        • This editorial in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology by Denis Noble is an excellent example of “genes are not a program”:

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