Could a Robot be Conscious?

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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Necromancer
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Necromancer » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:01 pm

No!

It's only programmed with electricity whizzing through... Limited to programming forever and ever, never the telepathic, regenerating, reincarnating soul of a conscious being...

jayjacobus
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:28 pm

A computer and a human body are conditional. If they seem to be interpretational, that is just an illusion. Consciousness is interpretational.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Tue May 01, 2018 4:35 am

The only one who could ever reach me
(Was the son of a preacher man)
The only boy who could ever teach me
(Was the son of a preacher man)
Yes he was, (Halleluia)
Yeah he was, (Halleluia)
Oh he was (Ah, Halleluia)

Me?

I was the son of a kindergarten teacher.

Mom had some students that didn't turn out well.

AlexW
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by AlexW » Tue May 01, 2018 7:12 am

The article asks the wrong question - it assumes that humans are conscious. This is not more than a (very common) belief.
Why don't we ask "Could a Human be Conscious?" before we extend the same question to robots.

Of course we don't ask this question because everyone will reply "Of course! I am conscious!" - neglecting that the idea of a self being conscious is something we have learned when we were very young. Before we have learned that we are a separate self there was no I to be conscious... a baby doesn't know anything about consciousness, about subjects or objects. It is very similar to a robot - reacting to primary stimuli like light and dark, cold and warm, hunger or pain.
Is a baby conscious? "Of course!" we state, outraged about the ridiculous question - a baby is human after all and ALL humans are conscious!

So... if the baby is conscious then when did it receive consciousness? Was it already conscious when it was born? Or before? Maybe in the womb? Maybe even at conception? Was the fathers sperm already conscious? How far do we have to go back...

Maybe we should revisit the question: Are we really conscious? Can consciousness happen to us?
Or is there simply consciousness - human or not - and every-thing simply appears in consciousness (including the belief that I am conscious)? If this is so then consciousness is not a human trait - it is universal - and as such robots (as well as humans) aren't conscious, they ARE consciousness.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Tue May 01, 2018 8:52 am

AlexW wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 7:12 am
The article asks the wrong question - it assumes that humans are conscious. This is not more than a (very common) belief. Why don't we ask "Could a Human be Conscious?" before we extend the same question to robots.

Of course we don't ask this question because everyone will reply "Of course! I am conscious!" - neglecting that the idea of a self being conscious is something we have learned when we were very young.
I think its 'assumed' because it's on the highest order of intuitive truth, alongside the laws of thought themselves. Unless your argument against humans being 'conscious' hinges on something semantic and pedantic. And to be clear, that level of certainty only exists for my own consciousness. There are just strong indications that the people around me are experiencing a similar level of consciousness.
Before we have learned that we are a separate self there was no I to be conscious...
Well no, I don't feel like that's accurate at all. Our idiosyncratic understanding of what it means to be 'conscious', is clearly not the by-product of indoctrination, it's because our own experience exists as the primordial example. It's like trying to object to the law of identity, but quickly realizing that you have to work within the law of identity in order to do that. The process of even raising that question validates (to yourself) the idea that you are conscious.

In fact, I think a case could be made, that if we are not experiencing true 'consciousness', then we can't assume consciousness exists at all, because then it would lack Existential Quantification.
a baby doesn't know anything about consciousness, about subjects or objects. It is very similar to a robot - reacting to primary stimuli like light and dark, cold and warm, hunger or pain.
A baby obviously can't recite the meaning of the concept, but that's not to say the baby doesn't understand the essence of it. A dog lives by the rule of object permanence, but doesn't think about it as a philosophical concept like I am right now. I wouldn't expect them to articulate the concept of 'hunger', either, but that doesn't mean that a baby and a dog doesn't get hungry.

Seeing a sort of stimuli reaction from something else is more of a single indication that something else is conscious rather than an explanatory mechanism to create it - this is an equivocation that I see a lot of people in this debate making. A fleshy tumor or certain organs that have just been removed will sometimes twitch and do all manner of things similar to what you describe, but organs and tumors are obviously not conscious.

How many different ways we have of drawing similarities between humans and robots doesn't actually get us any closer to the creation of robotic consciousness; We need to be able to draw the relevant similarities, and the problem to that is we don't exactly know what the similarities need to be. Maybe there is something specifically unique in biological materials that is responsible for our experiences? I'm not claiming that there is, I'm taking the skeptical position of not knowing if there is. What I do know, is that we can't create something we have no idea how to create. And we could be waiting a while for neurology to catch up to the field of electrical engineering, for there to be a definitive answer.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by AlexW » Tue May 01, 2018 9:12 am

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 8:52 am
I think its 'assumed' because it's on the highest order of intuitive truth, alongside the laws of thought themselves.
I am not sure what you mean with "intuitive truth" and "laws of thought" - can you please elaborate.
Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 8:52 am
And to be clear, that level of certainty only exists for my own consciousness.
If nobody would have ever told you that you are a self thats conscious - would you know it?
The level of certainty is only a thought/belief you have acquired - it doesn't have to be true, does it?
Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 8:52 am
Well no, I don't feel like that's accurate at all. Our idiosyncratic understanding of what it means to be 'conscious', is clearly not the by-product of indoctrination, it's because our own experience exists as the primordial example
Well... I challenge you to find the I that is conscious in your own experience. Can you find it (and I am not talking about a self referential thought that states "I am conscious!")?
Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 8:52 am
The process of even raising that question validates (to yourself) the idea that you are conscious.
No, it only validates consciousness, but not a self.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Tue May 01, 2018 12:37 pm

AlexW wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:12 am
No, it only validates consciousness, but not a self.
It's a choice, not a self. You are either conscious or you are an illusion and I don't even have to be consistent.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by AlexW » Wed May 02, 2018 1:10 am

jayjacobus wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 12:37 pm
It's a choice, not a self. You are either conscious or you are an illusion and I don't even have to be consistent.
Yes, I would say that the "you/separate self" most people believe in is an illusion (of thought), but I am not sure what you mean with choice, not a self, etc... can you please re-phrase that?

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 3:58 am

You can choose "It's an illusion" or you can choose "It's not an illusion". But those are your only choices.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by AlexW » Wed May 02, 2018 7:21 am

This would be so if "I" had a choice :-)
Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) this "I" has no choice as its just a thought - thought cannot make a decision - it might seem so, but it really cant.
Actually, if you look for the decision maker you won't find him/her - thus its not really a choice if "its an illusion" or not, its simple deduction based on direct experience that it is an illusion (the "I" and his/her choice).

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 4:08 pm

AlexW wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 7:21 am
This would be so if "I" had a choice :-)
Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) this "I" has no choice as its just a thought - thought cannot make a decision - it might seem so, but it really cant.
Actually, if you look for the decision maker you won't find him/her - thus its not really a choice if "its an illusion" or not, its simple deduction based on direct experience that it is an illusion (the "I" and his/her choice).
It's not a deduction at all because you can't prove either. But you can choose one or the other.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 4:32 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 4:08 pm
AlexW wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 7:21 am
This would be so if "I" had a choice :-)
Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) this "I" has no choice as its just a thought - thought cannot make a decision - it might seem so, but it really cant.
Actually, if you look for the decision maker you won't find him/her - thus its not really a choice if "its an illusion" or not, its simple deduction based on direct experience that it is an illusion (the "I" and his/her choice).
It's not a deduction at all because you can't prove either. But you can choose one or the other.
Well, you have a random switch that came down "illusion" but other people don't have that switch. Why? They chose not to have a switch. You say everyone has a switch. But that's because you are an illusion.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by AlexW » Wed May 02, 2018 11:42 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 4:08 pm
It's not a deduction at all because you can't prove either.
I sure can prove it. You can too. If you look at reality without falling prey to dualistic thinking you will prove it immediately.
You only know the world via your senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touch - and then you place a map of thought over the basic, direct experience and from now on work only in the map. What if your map is wrong?

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Thu May 03, 2018 4:46 am

Ridiculous. What if the map is right?

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by AlexW » Thu May 03, 2018 5:01 am

jayjacobus wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 4:46 am
Ridiculous
Guess one only knows if it's right or wrong after doing a proper investigation, but simply stating "its right" (or the opposite) won't do.
I have investigated and found that the map is fundamentally flawed.
I don't want you to believe me. This would be just another belief added to the many you already have.
Its fairly easy to find out that none of our senses provide any information about a separate self that has a choice - if it exists only in/as thought, can it be real?
jayjacobus wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 4:46 am
What if the map is right?
How can the map be right? Only reality is right - a map (conceptual thought) is always an abstraction. It can, at best, be a good approximation, but the map is never the territory. Unfortunately the map we use isn't even a good approximation, but rather pretty much upside down.

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