Can a man-made computer become conscious?

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Burning ghost
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Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Burning ghost » October 26th, 2018, 12:55 am

Original thread in Epsitemology and Metaphysics here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=19

philoreaderguy -
Do you think a man-made computer could ever become conscious? Can it have a soul? Why or why not?
In addition to this question I thought it might be a good idea to throw in some other thoughts that sprout from it:

- Animal rights and the rights of AI beings.
- The problem of recognizing consciousness (Searle’s Chinese room experiment.)
- Comparisons between computer and neuro “circuitry.”
- The use of cybernetic theories in understanding/defining consciousness.
- Theological questions about the valuation of “man-made” consciousness alongside human “divinity” (Or more simply put the ethical issues and responsibilities that come with creating conscious life.)
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Bobster
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Bobster » October 27th, 2018, 8:10 pm

We evolved our self awareness from the chemical soup, so perhaps self awareness can evolve in any substrate or system with interesting enough rules, and there don’t have to be many rules for systems to become interesting. E.G. 3-body problem, Cellular Automata.

Just because we can think or feel, ‘I am conscious of myself’, while looking at our living room wall doesn’t mean we’re outside nature. Other creatures plan, have feelings, emotions and motives.

If you are willing to believe the Simulation Hypothesis then the problem has been solved and we are a solution.

The only meaningful use of Soul I know about comes from music.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » October 28th, 2018, 10:38 am

Bobster wrote:
We evolved our self awareness from the chemical soup, so perhaps self awareness can evolve in any substrate or system with interesting enough rules,
The special interesting rule under which human self awareness evolved is the rule that two or more evolutionary streams might amalgamate to mutual advantage. Perhaps the best known of those are the amalgamation of mostly benign microbes in animal guts, with the host animal. In the case of human self awareness the large brain and culture advanced simultaneously to the advantage of human nature -nurture.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Frewah » October 31st, 2018, 6:14 pm

Consciousness is an interesting concept and I think it should be defined. Elephants are considered to be self conscious because they can recognize themselves if they see their mirror image. So are dolphins. I rember a video where the dolphin made all kinds of maneuvers in front of the mirror only. Are cats self-conscious? I don’t know, but my cats were at least very much aware of other cats. They lick their fur so they are aware of their body. Does this contribute? It seems to be a grayscale problem.

We have the same problem with ”life”. When does chemistry become biochemistry. The concept of a soul seems to be even more complicated.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Chili » November 1st, 2018, 4:32 pm

Is there objective evidence pointing conclusively to the existence of subjective experience? I'm going with no.
BTW there is no simpler computer program than one which when you type in "are you conscious", responds with "yes i am"

Burning ghost
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Burning ghost » November 2nd, 2018, 1:55 am

Chili wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 4:32 pm
Is there objective evidence pointing conclusively to the existence of subjective experience? I'm going with no.
BTW there is no simpler computer program than one which when you type in "are you conscious", responds with "yes i am"
That seems like the most confused question I’ve ever read. The idea if some pure “objectivism” is questionable not subjective experience. Do you need evidence that you are you? If ou feel this need I think you’ll find the “brute fact” right there.

What consciousness is is certainly a puzzle we’re probably never likely to get to the bottom of anytime soon because we either lack the concepts needed or simply lack the cognitive capacity to grasp what we mean in an easily articulated manner.
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Chili » November 2nd, 2018, 11:35 pm

My relationship with my own consciousness and my relationship with anyone else's are quite different no?

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » November 3rd, 2018, 8:24 am

Chili wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 11:35 pm
My relationship with my own consciousness and my relationship with anyone else's are quite different no?
Chili, I think your relationship with your own consciousness has been called 'privileged access'.
Ordinary persons are most likely to believe in the traditional analogical inference, appealing to the similarity that holds between ourselves and others, as the basis for our certainty about the inner lives of other human beings. The traditional solution to the problem of other minds has been this analogical inference to other minds. Other human beings are very like me. They behave very much as I do in similar circumstances and they are made of the same stuff. When I burn myself it hurts and I cry out and wince. When other people are burned they do the same. I can thus infer that they are in pain too. There are multifarious such similarities. Put more generally, I know directly that I have beliefs, emotions, feelings, sensations and the like. So I am enabled to infer, on the basis of these multifarious similarities, that other people also have beliefs, emotions, experiences and the like. In short, I am entitled to infer that other human beings have as I do, an inner life and that it is very like mine.
Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Atreyu » November 6th, 2018, 7:46 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
October 26th, 2018, 12:55 am
- Animal rights and the rights of AI beings.
AI "beings" would not be alive, would not be aware, would not have feelings or thoughts. Therefore, any discussion of "rights" would be ludicrous. An amoeba would have more "rights" than an AI being.
- The problem of recognizing consciousness (Searle’s Chinese room experiment.)
Consciousness cannot be recognized because we're not conscious. It's an attribute we like to ascribe to ourselves, that's all.
- Comparisons between computer and neuro “circuitry.”
They have many similarities but there is one important difference - computer circuitry is not alive, is not living tissue, while our neuro circuitry is. This means that the former can only have physical manifestations, while the latter can have psychological manifestations (like awareness and feeling).
- The use of cybernetic theories in understanding/defining consciousness.
None of them are applicable, largely because of what I just said above.
- Theological questions about the valuation of “man-made” consciousness alongside human “divinity” (Or more simply put the ethical issues and responsibilities that come with creating conscious life.)
This could lead to many interesting discussions, but all of them would be moot because man cannot create consciousness outside of himself. Creating it within himself is difficult enough....

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Chili » November 7th, 2018, 1:27 am

Atreyu wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 7:46 pm
Consciousness cannot be recognized because we're not conscious. It's an attribute we like to ascribe to ourselves, that's all.
Before we "like to ascribe to ourselves" a trait, we would need to be conscious of the trait, of ourselves, or what attribution is, etc.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Burning ghost » November 7th, 2018, 2:05 am

Chili -

I’ve no idea what he means either. I think I get what he’s saying in places but together what he says turns out to be contradictory as far as I can tell.

I would say that if we’re talking about “computer consciousness” then we’re not talking about “consciousness.” We’re human and can only imagine the possibility of another order of existence akin to our own - beyond that there isn’t a great deal we can say.

For me the issue of future cyborgs is a more realistic concern when considering future ethical problems. I say “future” but we can easily enough say we’re already part “cyborg” because, like right now for me, we’re essentially “hooked up” to hardware and our lives and existence is interwoven with our technologies. We don’t need implants to be “cyborgs.” I think it is hard to argue against how we affect and are effected by technology.

If in the future people can phsyically wire into the net what deos that mean? We’ve already developed means of communicating physical data into forms humans can grasp at more readily - drawing and gestures are the beginnings of this.

In the sense that humans are conscious I don’t see anyway that we can talk about computers being conscious in the same way. If we can inferface with technology, die and reboot our conscious substrate into another body (some how?) and the person that comes out acts consciously are they conscious? The old teleporter thought experiment shows us strange problem even if such a thing is impossible in reality.

If we replicated human consciousness by piecing together something biological then would it be “conscious”? That is a problem I find much closer to our conceptual reach. We’re still unsure about how to create life from chemical components let alone at a point where we can say much about how conscious being like ourselves come to be - even when we consider biological evolution we come up short with explanations as to the point of consciousness (at least as a consensus.) Given the ever growing piles of scientific data coming in we’re just going to have to wait for someone to come up with a big idea that fits well enough to spur us on further.
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Atreyu » November 8th, 2018, 8:18 pm

Chili wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 1:27 am
Before we "like to ascribe to ourselves" a trait, we would need to be conscious of the trait, of ourselves, or what attribution is, etc.
No, you would only need to be aware of the trait.

Consciousness is more than mere awareness, and the fact that this is not defined and agreed on beforehand is the reason why people often misunderstand each other when discussing "consciousness".

For example a sleeping man has awareness, he has dreams, but no one would say that we are ordinarily "conscious" while we are dreaming. Even a man in a coma would have some kind of simple awareness, but no one would say he is "conscious".

Consciousness implies a certain awareness of the self and it surroundings, particularly in regard to any goals or aims desired.

Awareness implies no self-knowledge or self-awareness whatever, nor any knowledge or awareness of any practicalities - where to go, what to do, who I am, etc. It only implies an awareness of anything at all, nothing more.

For example, let us take an incredibly simple living organism or 'entity', in which all it happens to be aware of is a single sound. It goes on and on and on until one day, it stops, because the organism or 'entity' has died. While it was alive all it was aware of was this single sound, this certain vibration, and nothing more. It never knew or thought about who it was, what the sound was, why it was hearing it, if it liked it or not, etc. No thoughts, no feelings, no change in awareness at all, its entire lifetime, all it was ever aware of was this single sound, going on and on with no change in tone, pitch or rhythm.

Would you say that that organism or 'entity' was a Conscious entity ?....

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Chili » November 13th, 2018, 1:17 am

Atreyu wrote:
November 8th, 2018, 8:18 pm
Consciousness is more than mere awareness
Now you're just editing the dictionary.

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