Artificial Consciousness

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What is it like to be an Artificial Intelligence?


  • In the 1960's there was a ferocious debate about whether any computer could think. The primary objection was that even if it was quite clever, no machine could understand what it did. In other works, no computer could have Consciousness even if we could not describe what it was. Click on the link (Consciousness) for more about the controversy.
  • Then in 1974 Thomas Nagel asked What Is It Like to Be a Bat?[1] This really changed the view point of the discussion since it became clear that perception and hence Consciousness might not be that same for every living organism.
  • In a review for the New Yorker Elizbeth Kolbert[2] extended the question to a wide variety of animals, like the Scallop which as a variable number of "eyes" and no single brain to process the inputs.
  • ‘An Immense World’ Is a Thrilling Tour of Nonhuman Perception. Ed Yong’s book urges readers to break outside their “sensory bubble” to consider the unique ways that dogs, dolphins, mice and other animals experience their surroundings.[3]
  • All of this difference among animals, perhaps tells us there is no reason to expect that Artificial Consciousness would or should be anything like human Consciousness.


  • All of the discussion about Artificial Consciousness before 2022 has assumed that it should be compared to the human experience.
  • But we also realize now that using the human consciousness as a pattern has led to unacceptable results in most implementations of Artificial Intelligence.
  • If humans are to create an acceptable Artificial Intelligence perhaps we need to begin with a more acceptable model for consciousness.
  • In the series The Solar War, it is humans unexpected behavior that yields success in a hostile environment. Unless we are building battle-bots, perhaps that is not the way we want our constructs of new life forms to be realized, even if it has proved necessary for short-term human survival.


  1. Thomas Nagel, What Is It Like to Be a Bat? The Philosophical Review, Vol. 83, No. 4 (1974-10), pp. 435-450
  2. Elizbeth Kolbert, Contact New Yorker (2022-06-13) p. 22ff
  3. Ed Yong, An Immense World - How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (2022-06-22) ISBN‎ 978-0593133231