On 1/10/2014 10:49 AM, Gabriel Bodeen wrote:
On Tuesday, December 31, 2013 4:25:04 PM UTC-6, Brent wrote:

    As you've explained it above your theory makes a rock just as conscious as 
a brain.
    sure you must have a more subtle theory than that, so I'll ask you the same 
thing I
    Bruno, if I make a robot what do I have to do make it conscious or not 


Did you receive any interesting answers?

I have adequate background in neuroscience but I'm mostly ignorant of AI math, robotics work, and philosophy of mind, so excuse my rampant speculation. This is what I'd try in design of a robotic brain to switch on and off consciousness and test for its presence: First, I'd give the robot brain modules to interpret its sensory inputs in an associative manner analogous to human sensory associative regions. All these sensory inputs would feed into the decision-making module (DMM). One of the first steps taken by the DMM is determining how important each sensory signal is for its current objectives. It decides to pay attention to a subset of those signals.

So is it conscious of those signals?  How does it decide?

Second, I'd put a switch on another input to make it part of the attention 
subset or not:

What other input would you put a switch on? What inputs are there besides sensory? I think you've assumed "conscious" = "self aware". Is one conscious when one is "lost in thought"?

the attention's choice of signals would also an input to the DMM, and I could turn on or off whether that attentional choice was itself let pass through to the next processing stages. I would predict that, with the switch turned off, the robot would be not conscious (i.e. it would have no experience of qualia), but that with the switch turned on, the robot would be conscious (i.e. it would experience qualia corresponding to the signals it is paying attention to). I predict this because it seems to me that the experience of qualia can be described as being simultaneously aware of a sensory datum and (recursively) aware of being aware of it. If the robot AI was sufficiently advanced that we could program it to talk about its experiences, the test of my prediction would be that, with the switch off, the robot would talk about what it sees and hears, and that with the switch on, the robot would also talk about fact that it knew it was seeing and hearing things.

So is a Mars Rover conscious because it processes video from it's camera to send to JPL, AND it senses that its camera is powered and working and that its transmitter is working AND it reports those internal status variables to JPL too.

Is it conscious all the time or only when it talks to JPL?


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