The New York Times has an aricle that asks,
Can Robots Become Conscious? Well, I don't know, and neither do
they, and neither does just
about anyone else. It seems that before we can know whether robots
can attain consciousness, we
first have to figure out just what consciousness is. Then, and only
then can we know if a robot
has attained it. Some, like
Hans Morevec, think humans are just a grand machine and if so we can
someday build one.
But others think humans and their consciousness could be more like
something spiritual or a
or an electromagnetic
field? And, if so, we have to figure out what that more is if we
simulate it. Perhaps robots already are conscious, just not at a
level of consciousness that we consider truly conscious? Or perhaps,
if we can just pass the
Turing test, then that would be good enough? And, well,
if we make a sentient being, what then?
Moravec wrote a book, Machine Evolution, the jest of which, I believe,
is that machines are following the path humans followed only they are
moving a lot faster. Another thing to keep in mind is that humans
started off thinking that everything had a spirit including rocks. It's
called animism. Life is a stimulus response organism. A machine that
responds to stimuli, that follows cybernetic principles might be said
to be artificially alive. Beyond that it is a matter of complexity. At
what level do natural organisms attain consciousness? If an organism
has a nerve cell does that mean it has the ability to be conscious of
something? Isn't this the same as the old argument about intelligence?
Look at viruses. Will viruses ever evolve into something more complex?
Will the net itself ever develope a sense of idenity? It is the thing
that most closely resembles the human brain. I think that that is the
thing that disappoints me the most about robots.net. So much of it is
devoted to the brain of the robot. The internet should be brain of the
robot! Or at least it will be someday. As with everything else I am in
too much of a hurry. The first brains were just dead ends on the spinal
cord. They were just muscle controllers. That's where we are today.
Look at Aibo, Asimov and the robot olympics. The most glaring deficit
in all these logic designs is the lack of feedback. Of course what
should one expect when the goal is basic survival? Think of what life
was like for early human beings when life expectancy was about twenty
years. Inhibitions and IQ weren't real high on the list.