Will Robots Ever Become Conscious?

Posted 12 Nov 2003 at 07:06 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

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 quantum effect or an electromagnetic field? And, if so, we have to figure out what that more is if we plan to 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?

artificial versus fake consciousness, posted 12 Nov 2003 at 16:46 UTC by cat » (Apprentice)

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 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.

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