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LostInParadise's avatar

If a robot could be programmed to act in a way indistinguishable from human behavior, would you say it has consciousness?

Asked by LostInParadise (17926 points ) 4 weeks ago

This is a scaling up of the Turing test. Suppose a robot could be programmed with a distinct personality. It would have a particular political viewpoint and have preferences for certain forms of music and books. It would give the outward appearance of showing emotions. If you have ever seen Spielberg’s movie AI, that is the kind of thing I have in mind. Would you say that the robot is conscious? Does it really feel emotions?

I say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck. If you have no way of distinguishing the behavior from consciousness then it is consciousness. Conjecturing what the robot “truly feels” is pointless.

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10 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m not yet convinced that a majority of humans is conscious.

2davidc8's avatar

Consciousness, maybe. Emotions, no.

kritiper's avatar

No. Without the ability to reason, it’s just a preprogrammed replica.

LostInParadise's avatar

Suppose you told the robot that it has no feelings and it started to cry. Would you not be affected by that?

stanleybmanly's avatar

A crying robot would be proof of nothing. A robot could readily mimic human behavior without being one bit sentient

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Yeah sure, why not.

DNA already codes for so much of our behavior whether we realize it or not. Consciousness is not that special, it is not some unattainable trait that make sentient life unique. Our denial of ourselves practically being biological computers with (perhaps, perhaps not) some additional traits that barely build upon the programming that already lies in our DNA is idiotic.

LostInParadise's avatar

@stanleybmanly : Robot, you are just a heap of plastic. Don’t tell me you have emotions.

Robot: Your cruel heartless accusations show that you are the one without emotions.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

You’ve broadened the Turing Test to the philosophical question of zombies and zimboes. I would suggest that a robot with such skills would be indistinguishable from human behaviour, and therefore we could no more deny that it was conscious than we could another person. I don’t think it is possible to mimic consciousness without the mimic becoming conscious itself.

Buttonstc's avatar

I really love the way they explored this issue in both Star Trek TNG with Data and also Voyager and the Hologram Dr. programming experiences for himself to explore his full potential.

Both were very skillfully done by both the writers as well as the actors who portrayed these characters.

LostInParadise's avatar

I enjoyed the various versions of Star Trek, but I am not so sure of their implicit assumption that emotions get in the way of thinking. An intelligent being must be capable of making choices, which requires some motivating force for choosing one goal over another. Once a goal is chosen, reasoning ability can be used to determine the most feasible way of reaching it.

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