[ExI] Digital Consciousness

Gordon gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sat May 4 12:37:15 UTC 2013

Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>

>> If you think consciousness follows necessarily from brain-like behavior then

>> I suppose you must think some computers are already at least semi-conscious.
>> I was joking the other day about how I would like sometimes to shoot my
>> stand-alone chess computer, as it seems there is a cunning person inside it
>> and he sometimes makes me angry. It certainly *behaves* as if it is
>> conscious of me, of itself, and the game. Do you think it is actually dimly
>> aware of its own existence?

>> If not, at what point in the development conscious-like behavior do we
>> decide suddenly to grant that an AI has real consciousness? How is it not
>> arbitrary?

>You have the same problem with biological systems. Do you think a dog
>is conscious? A cockroach? A bacterium? A water molecule?

I don't consider it a problem. I am happy to suppose that consciousness is a matter of degree in biological systems. I think dogs are conscious, but not as conscious as humans. As we consider less complex organisms (non-mammals in particular), the level of consciousness begins to approach zero and probably reaches zero way before the level of the bacterium.

Are you willing to say the same about computers? Is my chess computer at least semi-conscious? It sure behaves like it is, and you say behavior is the indicator of consciousness.

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