Could A Machine Be Conscious

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1 Could a machine be conscious? This question is often dismissed as simple by those that would say “yes” in response. The usual claim made by the pro camp is that man is a ‘biological machine’ and is conscious, ergo, a machine is conscious. If we, humans, are truly biological machines and we are at the same time conscious then I would agree that yes, categorically, a machine could be conscious. But is it really that simple? I contend that it is a more difficult problem but not that it is a complicated one, merely one of ambiguity which, once resolved, leads the contemplator to the same conclusion as I do that in fact, no, a machine could not be conscious. I propose that those who argue the yes case that a machine can be conscious are, in …show more content…

They are all actions definable in their own right, which, I contend need not be sub categories of, or allocated to the definition of consciousness and, unlike the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness which we will come to shortly, they can be explained by science in a physical context and therefore be impersonated by machinery. They have physical qualities which are an important distinction in the 3 concept of Artificial Intelligence which claims the ability of machines to achieve consciousness, arising in theory out of intelligence. The most prominent example of the concept of a machine being intelligent in the manner of this so called consciousness is the Turing test (Turing, 1950) which, rather tellingly, was originally called the ‘Imitation Game’. The test was designed to see if a machine could fool a human into thinking it was itself another human, and although somewhat successful with ‘Eliza’ (Weizenbaum 1976), the premise was quickly, and I opine correctly, attacked by Searle (1980:417-57) in his ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment, proving that a machine can simulate communication without understanding and is therefore not thinking in the way humans, or perhaps other living things do. Humans exhibit the ability to pass tests without understanding the material and, I contend, this is what a machine simulates, the function of memory, not intelligence. Even if it could fool a

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