Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Human Mind, Robots, And Self-Awareness

        If the sophistication of artificial intelligence continues to develop, then would that not mean robots would eventually have the ability to feel self-awareness?

        Not exactly. Every question or statement that a robot can process had the answers programmed into it beforehand by a human being.

        Moreover, a computer system does not grasp the meaning of concepts as does a brain. We have subjective elements that simply cannot be possessed by machinery. We actually have feelings and intentions.

        "Thinking is not computation. In fact, thinking is the anthesis of computation. Thought always has meaning, and computation inherently lacks meaning. That is what makes computation so versatile—it imparts no meaning of its own to the tasks to which we apply it." (https://mindmatters.ai/2018/08/the-brain-is-not-a-meat-computer/)

        There is much more to consciousness than having high intelligence and memory storage. At best, a computer can be a simulation of a mind that is conscious. Cognitive neuroscientist Bobby Azarian gives the following observations:

        "...How physical phenomena, like biochemical and electrical processes, create sensation and unified experience is known as the “Hard Problem of Consciousness”, and is widely recognized by neuroscientists and philosophers. Even neuroscientist and popular author Sam Harris—who shares Musk’s robot-rebellion concerns—acknowledges the hard problem when stating that whether a machine could be conscious is “an open question”.

        There is a theological overlapping to all this. A Christian would maintain that consciousness is not possible for a robot because such a condition would require an immaterial soul. That is how God created man. The consciousness of metal and wires assumes that humans are simply material matter.

2 comments:

  1. "Every question or statement that a robot can process had the answers programmed into it beforehand by a human being."

    That is categorically not true. Computers can be programmed to learn. There are also systems called "neural networks" that are not programmed at all, but which operate in a manner that was designed to simulate the function of the brain - that is, making use of feedback to adjust their own responses, gradually improving their own operation over time.

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  2. Anonymous,

    Even simulating the brain, "programming to learn" has to be built in beforehand. Neural networks were designed by human beings to recognize patterns and develop algorithms.

    The point remains that these systems can do nothing in of themselves. They are not conscious or living entities. We are the ones who gave machines the ability to mimic our intelligence in the first place.

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