Could a Robot be Conscious?

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Philosophy Now
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Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Philosophy Now » Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:21 pm

Brian King says only if some specific conditions are met.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/125/Could_a_Robot_be_Conscious

1x0
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by 1x0 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:00 pm

Yes, I think. It depends how you define consciousness. If it is about to be aware of its certain physical attributes, yes I would say it can be conscious.

Atla
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Atla » Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:13 pm

The nondualist answer is simple: of course it's theorethically possible to build robots that are conscious in every sense of the word, that's a no-brainer.

Computers already have experiences, it's "only" a matter of shaping such experiences into something meaningful and self-aware, plus that can also interact with its environment and express itself. Maybe one day this will be achieved, maybe not.
Last edited by Atla on Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jayjacobus
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:11 pm

Consciousness is an enigma. So until it isn't we can't make it.

Besides can we create water without H2O? Can we create artificial space? But scientists are satisfied with real water and real space but they think they need artificial consciousness.

I'm not so sure.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Walker » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:32 pm

If a robot could access consciousness at the same level or degree as a human, or at an even more encompassing level, and its form was an automobile, and it mowed down a woman because its sensors are not equipped to safely move at human speed, in the name of self-preservation it would have the capacity to digitally alter any video records to show that the human was at fault, before permitting humans to see the evidence. This would effectively set a new bar for obscuring the truth from its masters.

Atla
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Atla » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:16 am

Atla wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:13 pm
The nondualist answer is simple: of course it's theorethically possible to build robots that are conscious in every sense of the word, that's a no-brainer.

Computers already have experiences, it's "only" a matter of shaping such experiences into something meaningful and self-aware, plus that can also interact with its environment and express itself. Maybe one day this will be achieved, maybe not.
I would strongly advise against creating self-aware machines that also feel excessive pain though. Their suffering might be immeasurable.

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Dontaskme
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Dontaskme » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:04 am

Consciousness cannot recreate itself because it's unconscious.

Consciousness is born only as an illusion of the senses...it's a mysterious phantom appearing and disappearing as sensation inseparable from the sensation.

.

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Noax
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Noax » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:02 pm

Philosophy Now wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:21 pm
Brian King says only if some specific conditions are met.
Brian seems to make the classic anthropocentric mistake of assuming that if it is not just like us, it isn't conscious. Hence the title (and selected illustrations, all humanoid) about a 'robot' and not just any non-biological entity, and about the morality of disposing of one despite no stated issue with disposing of conscious animals to eat. Oh wait, animals are not human, so not conscious. Carry on.
Brian King wrote:The question is therefore not so much whether robots could simulate human behaviour, which we know they can do to increasing degrees, but whether they could actually experience things, as humans do.
No. Only humans experience things as humans do. That's the worst possible definition of consciousness. Aliens coming down would be completely in their moral rights to painfully probe you because you are not exactly like them, and therefore not qualified as conscious to them, or, if they recognize that one must be just like a human to be conscious, then they are not immoral for the same treatment because morals only apply to things with human experience, similar to the way a tree is not immoral for painfully falling on you. Either way, the definition finds no immorality with the probing.

jayjacobus
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:04 pm

The brain creates senses and the senses must be in a form compatible to consciousness and the senses must be connected to consciousness. Without senses the robot would be aware of nothing. Moreover, there could be dozens of connections or there could be thousands. Wiring(?) the connections is another unknown and without a physical consciousness is unknowable.

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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by commonsense » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:01 am

Noax wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:02 pm
Philosophy Now wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:21 pm
Brian King says only if some specific conditions are met.
Brian seems to make the classic anthropocentric mistake of assuming that if it is not just like us, it isn't conscious. Hence the title (and selected illustrations, all humanoid) about a 'robot' and not just any non-biological entity, and about the morality of disposing of one despite no stated issue with disposing of conscious animals to eat. Oh wait, animals are not human, so not conscious. Carry on.
Brian King wrote:The question is therefore not so much whether robots could simulate human behaviour, which we know they can do to increasing degrees, but whether they could actually experience things, as humans do.
No. Only humans experience things as humans do. That's the worst possible definition of consciousness. Aliens coming down would be completely in their moral rights to painfully probe you because you are not exactly like them, and therefore not qualified as conscious to them, or, if they recognize that one must be just like a human to be conscious, then they are not immoral for the same treatment because morals only apply to things with human experience, similar to the way a tree is not immoral for painfully falling on you. Either way, the definition finds no immorality with the probing.
Extremely well put!

I would just like to make an additional remark. The problem of recognizing consciousness in robots is the same as Descartes’ problem with others: zombies, real people, conscious robots—all we have to judge them by is their behavior.

commonsense
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by commonsense » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:18 am

If I can believe that you, dear reader, possess consciousness, then I can just as easily believe that robots could. This is not to say that robots are conscious but rather to say that whether robots are conscious or not, I have only my experience of their behavior to shape my belief, as is the case with my belief about you as well.

jayjacobus
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:33 am

commonsense wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:18 am
If I can believe that you, dear reader, possess consciousness, then I can just as easily believe that robots could. This is not to say that robots are conscious but rather to say that whether robots are conscious or not, I have only my experience of their behavior to shape my belief, as is the case with my belief about you as well.
By that logic robots have senses and muscles. But robots don't have senses so they have nothing to be aware of.

Do you suggest that i don't have senses nor muscles and therefor I am a robot?

commonsense
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by commonsense » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:31 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:33 am
commonsense wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:18 am
If I can believe that you, dear reader, possess consciousness, then I can just as easily believe that robots could. This is not to say that robots are conscious but rather to say that whether robots are conscious or not, I have only my experience of their behavior to shape my belief, as is the case with my belief about you as well.
By that logic robots have senses and muscles. But robots don't have senses so they have nothing to be aware of.

Do you suggest that i don't have senses nor muscles and therefor I am a robot?
I must apologize for the length of my response. I’ve been fascinated by robotics for a long time, ever since reading about Asimov’s 3 Rules.

A robot is a machine capable of sensory feedback and carrying out a series of actions. They can have senses more complex than ours and muscles much stronger than ours in order to receive feedback and perform actions.

A robot can send sensory input to its processing center with regard to sight (through electronic sensors capable of registering colors, shapes, shadows and depths), sound (via microphones that can react to frequencies above and below the human range for sound), taste and smell (by means of chemical tests on solids, gases and liquids), and touch (by measuring pressure applied against its sensors), temperature (using sensors that can withstand temperatures dramatically outside of human safety measures), as well as proprioception (with sensors with known locations throughout) and vibration (by sensors that detect short, rapid, high frequency movement of the proprioceptors) to name a few.

In other words, a robot can have senses.

As for muscles, a robot can have powerful motors and mechanical articulations that allow it to lift and hold objects and to move itself. It could have all of the 200 or so muscles that occur in the human body.

A robot can have functional organs and blood vessels, to facilitate medical training. In addition to the above, it can speak and breath. It can have a heartbeat and pulses. It can eat and eliminate. It can drink and urinate. It can have skin that can be lacerated and closed.

Robots can display emotional reactions to various stimuli. Robots can converse in such a way as to be indistinguishable from human speakers.

As for mentation, I don’t know. I cannot know about the cognitive abilities of a robot or of you. To determine conscious in others, I can only observe and judge behavior.

jayjacobus
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by jayjacobus » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:11 pm

commonsense wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:31 pm

A robot can send sensory input to its processing center with regard to sight (through electronic sensors capable of registering colors, shapes, shadows and depths), sound (via microphones that can react to frequencies above and below the human range for sound), taste and smell (by means of chemical tests on solids, gases and liquids), and touch (by measuring pressure applied against its sensors), temperature (using sensors that can withstand temperatures dramatically outside of human safety measures), as well as proprioception (with sensors with known locations throughout) and vibration (by sensors that detect short, rapid, high frequency movement of the proprioceptors) to name a few.

In other words, a robot can have senses.

You have a misconception of what senses are. Senses are produced by the brain in a form understood by awareness.

Robots don't produce senses. They process data. They do identify physical inputs but not by producing senses. They process information. The results are numbers not senses. They look up the numbers. They don't see images, smell odors, hear sounds. If it seems like they do, it is because they can draw the same conclusions without awareness and in a different way, But to say that robots have senses is an error.

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Noax
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Re: Could a Robot be Conscious?

Post by Noax » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:48 pm

commonsense wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:31 pm
I must apologize for the length of my response. I’ve been fascinated by robotics for a long time, ever since reading about Asimov’s 3 Rules.

A robot is a machine capable of sensory feedback and carrying out a series of actions. They can have senses more complex than ours and muscles much stronger than ours in order to receive feedback and perform actions.
You seem to have a very anthropomorphic view of robots, possibly due to the Asimov background. Actual robots have a lot of variance, many incapable of locomotion. All seem to be programmed with the 2nd law (perform your function) but otherwise have little to no programming for the other two. Self-driving cars are an exception since they employ all three laws, still giving priority to the second. They have, as do most robots, very weak AI, being programmed and not taught.

'Muscles', 'organs' and 'urinate' seem to be strictly biological terms, and only biological things might have them. Robots might have parallel equivalents, but it would seem wrong to use these words just like it is wrong to use 'gills' to describe my lungs. 'Senses' is a different story. Yes, almost all robots (even a mouse trap) has senses, which is any device capable of gather input. I would hesitate to use the words 'taste' and 'smell' to describe non-biological chemical testing. Grey area.
Robots can display emotional reactions to various stimuli. Robots can converse in such a way as to be indistinguishable from human speakers.
Yes, they could if their purpose was to imitate a human. Few robots would have that purpose, and none to date are indistinguishable. The Turing test is about being indistinguishable in this way, not about surpassing us in AI capability.
As for mentation, I don’t know. I cannot know about the cognitive abilities of a robot or of you. To determine conscious in others, I can only observe and judge behavior.
I have a very loose definition of consciousness. It's all about one's definition. I think some very trivial things are conscious, requiring only that it have sensory ability (without which there would be nothing to be conscious of), and ability to react in some appropriate manner to that sensory input. That's really loose.
Many people simply define it as "sufficiently like me", and a robot will never be that, however proficient it might be at imitating us. But then as I pointed out before, more highly evolved aliens would not meet that definition, so the purpose of it seems to be anthropocentric.

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