[ExI] Is Artificial Life Conscious?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Wed Apr 27 14:55:16 UTC 2022

On Wed, Apr 27, 2022, 9:54 AM Giulio Prisco via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 27, 2022 at 3:42 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat
> <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Apr 27, 2022, 6:12 AM Giulio Prisco via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> On 2022. Apr 24., Sun at 7:56, Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> I recently posted this question recently to the everything list, 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), 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?
> >>
> >>
> >> I think whether ALife forms are conscious or not depends on their
> physical implementation.
> >
> >
> > Hi Giulio,
> >
> > What do you think are the necessary aspects of a physical implementation
> for there to be a consciousness?
> >
> Print an algorithm in a big book, then put the book on a shelf and
> leave it there. The idea that the book is "conscious" seems very
> unlikely to me.

I agree it doesn't seem like passive/idle information is conscious. Any
string of information could be interpreted in any of an infinite number of

This shows that something must *happen* in physical
> reality for consciousness to exist.

I think while something must happen, I am open to viewing it more
generally: there must be counterfactual relations: "if this, then that,"
but also: "if not this, then not that." This is something all recordings
lack but all live instances of information processing possess.

> > Is the physical implementation relevant for simulated rather than
> robotic Alife forms?
> >
> Yes, I think. A conventional algorithm running on a computer like
> those we know how to build wouldn't be conscious, I think. But new
> "algorithms" (for want of a better term) "running" on new devices
> could.

Do you have any intuition it theories for what our current devices lack
that they would need?

Given Turing universality, I find it difficult to imagine anything that
current hardware devices need (the right software sure), but with Turing
universality any general purpose computer could implement any
non-infinity-involving function, and therefore replicate any outwardly
visible human behavior.

If you grant that worms are conscious, why not these bots:

https://github.com/jasonkresch/bots ?

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