Toward a Science of Consciousness 1998

Lyle Bateman lbateman at linkserve.com.ng
Thu Apr 23 03:46:47 EST 1998


Scot Mc Pherson wrote:

> I think his question is relevant here too. There is a theory that suggests
> that advanced computer systems could infact assume consciousness with the
> right programming. And programs that are allowed to improve upon and
> reprogram themselves could arguably become a sentient consciousness.
> Remember that ultimately everything comes from the same star stuff that we
> are made of. If you want more scientific terms, we constitute the same sub
> atomic particles that exist throughout all of creation.

Its a matter of a lot more than just programming, I'd have to say.  Hardware
design is critical here.  With the type of architecture currently popular in
the computer industry, conciousness will never happen.  Expert systems maybe,
but conciousness no.  The reason is that todays industrial computers are
nothing more than big calculators.  They crunch numbers, and thats all they
do.

The human brain (my assumption here is that the brain is the root of human
conciousness, but that is by no means certain) is constructed in a vastly
different way than most current computers.  Neural nets provide something of
an analogy between computer architecture and brain design, however the
complexity level differs by many orders of magnitude.

Perhaps the biggest problem with trying to design a concious computer right
now is that no one knows 1) what conciousness is, exactly; 2) how widespread
or isolated it is, or; 3) what physical (or non-physical for that matter)
process makes humans concious.  Until these questions are answered fully, the
notion of designing a concious computer seems like little more than a
trial-and-error crap shoot.

Just my 2c worth.

Cheers,
Lyle


--
Sincerely,

Lyle W. Bateman
System Consultant
PECC Ltd.

NOTE: My views are my own, and do not represent the views
of my employer, unless explicitly stated.






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