Brent Meeker writes:

> I would say that many complex mechanical systems react to "pain" in a way 
> similar to simple animals.  For example, aircraft have automatic shut downs 
> and fire extinguishers.  They can change the flight controls to reduce stress 
> on structures.  Whether they feel this "pain" is a different question.  I 
> think they feel it if they incorporate it into a narrative to which values 
> are attached for purposes of learning ("Don't do that again, it hurts.").  
> But that's my theory of qualia - a speculative one.

Pain mostly comes before learning. Infants are born with the 
ability to experience pain, so they learn to avoid activities which 
cause pain. It seems to be hardwired at a very basic level, which 
makes me think that it ought to be easier to implement in an AI than 
more complex cognitive processes and behaviours. But how would 
a behaviour such as an aircraft's reaction to a fire on board be 
characterised as "painful" in the way an infant putting its hand in a 
flame is painful? If the aircraft's experience is not painful, what can 
do to make it more like the baby's?

Stathis Papaioannou
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