On 5/2/2013 7:47 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
Would anyone here say that a conditional (e.g., "if/else") statement" (in some program) is conscious?

I don't think so. We make if/else choices subconsciously all the time. My introspection tells me that conscious thought is a kind of narrative story I construct. I think the function of this is to condense my experience for memory and future reference when I need to plan or predict based on my past experience. If I were designing an intelligent Mars Rover that had to learn to deal with a wide variety of problems which I cannot anticipate, this sort of selective memory narrative would be one component of it's learning.

Of course there are different levels of consciousness. A Mars Rover needs a conception of "self" as being in certain place, having completed certain tasks, having certain capabilities, etc. But it doesn't need to consider its status among peers or reflect on its own computational methods or its ultimate end.


I think such statements may form the atoms of consciousness, as they represent the point at which a program's behavior diverges based on the inspection of some information.

Conditional statements are required for any kind of intelligent or responsive behavior, which might be why consciousness correlates with it.


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