With a machine merely mimicking a brain’s logical processes, however numerous or complex, it is truly preposterous to believe that a mind is at work inside the box
In any case, no process can be said to actually be consciousness, any more than a digital piano can be called a musician, even if it has a massive repertoire with complex programs that make it indistinguishable from a human player. Basically, no quantity of observed correlations between a brain, the information it processes, and what that brain’s owner experiences is adequate to get us from the world of encoded information to the qualitative world of someone being informed. Consciousness could be an innate property of all living organisms, or of matter in general, or even be independent of matter, operating as a field that is concentrated and finds an interface in neural networks through some as yet unknown principle.
I recently read a very interesting book called ‘Understanding Thinking’ which has a chapter (chapter two) on the differences between the ubiquitous general purpose computer and the emergent properties of our neural networks. The author’s intention, I think, is to try to wake educationalists up to the fact that neuroscience / AI / neural network simulation has discovered new and previously unimaginable principles about the way we perceive the world, trap experiences, generalise, abstract, learn, etc., which have profound implications for education. It also suggests that we need to start developing a new vocabulary to better convey these ideas as our old ideas about rationality, memory, awareness, consciousness, mind, matter, etc., are rather misleading. It covers some of the same issues as this essay, but from a slightly different perspective, and identifies some other difference as well. Bart
Interesting read. Now I’m more confident that robots won’t take over the world in the future. Thanks for the interesting comparisons