[ExI] Is Artificial Life Conscious?

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sun Apr 24 18:44:40 UTC 2022

Quoting Jason Resch:

> I recently posted this question recently to the everything list
> <https://groups.google.com/g/everything-list/c/Ga8KWzjM_dk>, but I know
> many here are also deeply interested in the topic of consciousness so, I
> thought I should post it to this group too. My question was:
> These "artificial life" forms, (seen here
> <https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLq_mdJjNRPT11IF4NFyLcIWJ1C0Z3hTAX>),
> have neural networks that evolved through natural selection, can adapt to a
> changing environment, and can learn to distinguish between "food" and
> "poison" in their environment.
> If simple creatures like worms or insects are conscious, (because they have
> brains, and evolved), then wouldn't these artificial life forms be
> conscious for the same reasons?
> Why or why not?

Yes, no, or to a certain degree, Depending on your definition of  
consciousness. Consciousness is a multidimensional concept. Since you  
qualified consciousness as applying to insects and worms, then I will  
lower the bar appropriately. I would say by your reasoning, yes such  
programs are conscious, but barely. I would introduce as a technical  
term the word "sensate" as more accurate description of their  
behavior. It is clear that the digital organisms are conscious enough  
of their simple virtual environments to feed themselves. It is just as  
clear that Alpha Zero and it's ilk are supremely conscious of the  
virtual chessboard that makes up the entirety of its universe after a  
few hours of teraflop training.

As a nuance, I would treat consciousness as a scaled phenomena, with  
simple biochemical feedback loops and simple servo-sensors like  
thermostats on one end and the Omega-Point-like universal intelligence  
on the other. Maybe call it a Psi-index or Chi-index. 0 for completely  
inanimate matter to 1 for God. Just saying. :)

Stuart LaForge

Stuart LaForge

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