Re: How would a computer know if it were conscious?

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2007 22:16:13 -0700 wrote:
> On Jun 5, 5:05 am, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
>> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>>> However, what would be wrong with a super AI that just had large
>>> amounts of pattern recognition and symbolic reasoning
>>> intelligence, but no emotions at all?
>> Taken strictly, I think this idea is incoherent. Essential to
>> intelligence is taking some things as more important than others.
>> That's the difference between data collecting and theorizing. It
>> is a fallacy to suppose that emotion can be divorced from reason -
>> emotion is part of reason. An interesting example comes from
>> attempts at mathematical AI. Theorem proving programs have been
>> written and turned loose on axiom systems - but what results are a
>> lot of theorems that mathematicians judge to be worthless and
>> trivial.
> Yeah. That's the difference between *reflective intelligence* and
> ordinary *symbolic logic*+*pattern recognition*. I would say that
> ordinary reason is a part of emotion. (or reflective intelligence
> encompasses the other two types). But you're right, you can't
> divorce conscious experience from reason. It's from conscious
> experience that value judgements come.
>>> Finally, the majority of evil in the world is not done by
>>> psychopaths, but by "normal" people who are aware that they are
>>> causing hurt, may feel guilty about causing hurt, but do it
>>> anyway because there is a competing interest that outweighs the
>>> negative emotions.
>> Or they may feel proud of their actions because they have supported
>> those close to them against competition from those distant from
>> them. To suppose that empathy and reflection can eliminate all
>> competition for limited resources strikes me as pollyannish.
>> Brent Meeker-
> The human brain doesn't function as a fully reflective system. Too
> much is hard-wired and not accessible to conscious experience. Our
> brains simply don't function as a peroperly integrated system.

On the contrary, they are well tuned for evolutionary survival in a hunter-gatherer society. Your ancestors are more likely to have been killers than victims.

> reflection would enable the ability to reach into our underlying
> preferences and change them.

But how would you want to change them. Or put another way, you can change your preferences - you just can't want to change them.

I think you are assuming that empathy trumps all other values. I see no reason to believe this - or even to wish it.

Brent Meeker

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Received on Tue Jun 05 2007 - 01:16:17 PDT

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