Cogprints

Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds

Dennett, Daniel C. (1994) Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The best reason for believing that robots might some day become conscious is that we human beings are conscious, and we are a sort of robot ourselves. That is, we are extraordinarily complex self-controlling, self-sustaining physical mechanisms, designed over the eons by natural selection, and operating according to the same well-understood principles that govern all the other physical processes in living things: digestive and metabolic processes, self-repair and reproductive processes, for instance. It may be wildly over-ambitious to suppose that human artificers can repeat Nature's triumph, with variations in material, form, and design process, but this is not a deep objection. It is not as if a conscious machine contradicted any fundamental laws of nature, the way a perpetual motion machine does. Still, many skeptics believe--or in any event want to believe--that it will never be done. I wouldn't wager against them, but my reasons for skepticism are mundane, economic reasons, not theoretical reasons.

Item Type:Preprint
Subjects:Psychology > Applied Cognitive Psychology
Computer Science > Robotics
ID Code:429
Deposited By:Dennett, Daniel
Deposited On:22 Mar 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:53

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