Toward a Science of Consciousness 1998

Jim Balter jqb at
Sat Apr 25 16:22:21 EST 1998

Wim Van Dijck wrote:
> I once heard a quite strond argument during some introductory AI
> classes: computer hardware (neural nets not included) work in
> algoritms. Conscious minds, such as ours, use procedures (or whatever
> you want to call it) that are not algoritm based. Computers CAN only
> use algoritms (at least nowadays) so based on this principle, a
> computer will never gain consciousness, no matter how big or fast it
> is.

If this is a strong argument, I hate to think what a weak one would be.
This "argument" fails to support the critical claim that conscious
minds are not algorithm-based and fails to show that algorithm-based
methods cannot achieve something achieved in some other way.
It even contains its own refutation: neural nets are commonly simulated.

OTOH, "computer hardware" includes things like photosensors
that perform important functions that their simulations don't.
<J Q B>

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