Conscious Machines

How does consciousness exist? Is it able to be downloaded and digitally preserved? Can it be programmed into a non-biological machine?

We may come to a time where consciousness can be replicated and programmed into a non-biological machine, allowing that machine to experience the same type of inner and outer awareness as humans do. Consciousness, ‘characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought’, may no longer be an organically human trait. And if we can create a consciousness inside a non-biological machine then how about our own consciousness? Surely we will be able to download our brains and digitally preserve them. But will it still be us?

If machines can have their own consciousness, their own thoughts and feelings and sense of awareness, then surely as a moral human race we would care for and look after these machines. Or would we? An episode of Black Mirror entitled ‘White Christmas’ explores this very notion of mistreating feeling, thinking digital copies of humans. In this episode, human brains can be downloaded into tiny, robotic replicas and are forced to serve their human counterpart through acts of torture and manipulation. Is this justified considering the robotic replicas are not organic, conscious humans but instead a conscious machine?

And how about our relationships with conscious machines? In a separate episode of Black Mirror called ‘Be Right Back’ a company offers mourning people a service that allows them to reconnect with the deceased. The main character, Martha, is signed up for this service where she is eventually faced with a synthetic clone of her deceased partner, programmed using his online identity. If this clone was an exact replication of Martha’s partner does it matter if she interacts with it humanly? Are there implications if we develop deep, emotional connections with a machine when it acts, thinks and feels as humans do?

This is what I will be exploring.

One thought on “Conscious Machines”

  1. I like the idea and the way you have addressed concious machines. I for one am talking about Synths and Cyborgs and how to deal with their conciousnes and if they should have rights. Relating it to my material in Fallout New Vegas there is an overlord by the name of Mr House who is a concious machine if you ask me protected by his Robots. Mr House resides in what is Las Vegas at the time.

    Not many people have figured out how to live past the age of 100 at the time but he has and his body is hooked up to a COmputer which he can communiacte through. In the last levels you communicate with this machine/man and he seems normal , but when you view his body it is decayying and strapped to all sorts of life support machines.It also coinceides with the philosphical brain in a vat theory which may also help you with your work.

    Ill link you a video and you might find it interesting.

    1:40 to about 3:00

    Click to access Hofstadter,%20Dennett%20-%20The%20Mind’s%20I.pdf

    start from page 205 and youll be hooked. This book may also helpful. Im using it , i have a copy at home and found it very interesting..

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s