Science

AI and Soulless Self Awareness

Posted 16 Feb 2003 at 17:47 UTC by steve Share This

A recent article on AI Depot claims that the lack of a soul is a precurser to creating self-awareness. Soul is not defined, nor is the reasoning for why it would prevent consciousness. But the article goes on to call what some philosphers have labeled as a soul (the unique identity we think of as "me") a side-effect of the "pattern created by the distributed nature of brains". So maybe we have a soul but we should call it an "identity pattern"? Who knows? For more philosophical fun, see some of our previous articles on consciouness such as At one with the Universe, Robots Are People Too, Consciousness in Humans and Robots, Consciousness an Electromagnetic Field?, or Consciousness for Robots.


Self Aware from your head down to your soul, posted 17 Feb 2003 at 22:32 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

I think they're just saying that there's no outside sources besides pure brain activity that affects the decision making process. So basically they're discounting anything spiritual or mystical will affect the self aware process. I don't know what the big deal is about being self aware or being able to identify one's self even for a robot. I guess at the point when a robot could identify itself in a mirror then is smart enough to be self aware? That's not likely or necessarily a good test, though, but it might be a litmus test threshold. I could imagine a robot could be able to identify itself by various means like I have a blue LED to identify myself and you have a green LED to identify you. But perhaps the point of AI where you don't tell the robot how to identify itself and then it can identify itself is the point where it's self aware. I don't know why it would need spiritual or mystical power to do that nor why they would suggest that people have said that a robot would need that to be self aware. Seems rediculous to bring it up to ignore that anyway unless they are saying that people are suggesting that being self aware involves spiritual or mystical powers???

AI Mystics, posted 17 Feb 2003 at 23:29 UTC by steve » (Master)

Actually, it has been proposed at various times that there is a crucial mystical or spiritual element involved in consciousness. Sometimes this is proposed as the reason that machines can never be self-aware and other times as part of an argument that making machines self-aware could lead to them having a soul of sorts - depending on how one defines soul.

What I've seen more frequently than a requirement of a soul is a requirement of a biological construct: a human brain could be self aware but a silicon brain couldn't for one reason or another. For example, our previous story, Consciousness an Electromagnetic Field?, proposed that consciousness required a bioelectric field of the type generated by the electrical activity of biological neurons, something that no current computer hardware can replicate.

One of the fundamental problems in any discussion like this is that most of the terms go undefined; not just soul but consciousness, self aware, etc. Even most physchology texts don't agree on what consciousness is or whether it exists at all, much less if we can create machines with it...

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