Computing consciousness


monsters, virtual legends such as 2001’s HAL or Demon Seed’s Proteus are actually scary because of their mind. Without lingering on the philosophical debates on whether a certain type of mind can exist independent of its specific embodiment or whether any creature can understand a consciousness that is not like his own (recall Lem’s Solaris), the thing that makes HAL and Proteus so human is not so much their ability to think as their possessing something resembling human consciousness. The point is that, whereas consciousness may or may not be required for an artificial agent to think, it is an essential element in creating anything resembling a human-like thinker that would pass the Turing Test.



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