by David M. Petersen
First of all, consciousness is not a "problem," hard or otherwise, it is a PHENOMENON.
Our consciousness is the POINT of the universe at this point in its evolution. Consciousness creates MEANING.
Moving on, I'm seeing these ridiculous statements lately, such as, "Vicarious (a startup company) is bringing us all closer to a future where computers perceive, imagine, and reason just like humans." -Peter Thiel. And, "My timeline is computers will be at human levels, such as you can have a human relationship with them, 15 years from now." "When I say about human levels, I'm talking about emotional intelligence. The ability to tell a joke, to be funny, to be romantic, to be loving, to be sexy, that is the cutting edge of human intelligence, that is not a sideshow." -Ray Kurzwiel.
Honestly, consciousness is synonomous with soul; it took billions of years to evolve and has an existence you guys clearly don't understand and cannot duplicate with mere binary calculators (computers) no matter how fast they are going.
A connection to underlying biology is a big part of it. Machines will have no "spring in step," no "sinking feeling" when they've done something wrong, no depression from extreme guilt, no feeling good all over from an act of honor, etc. These things equip a HUMAN to lead...What are you going to do, call a programming function "feel awkward," call a function "feel good?"!
This is an irresponsible representation relative to people who don't know better. You are treading into the realm of philosophy without a clue.
It is also very dangerous to make machines mimic having a soul and then having people assume that they really have one.
Basically, if robots mimicing human emotional intelligence were a circle; actual human intelligence would be a SPHERE. A circle does not have the depth of a sphere; they both merely look the same from one specific direction. The same is true relative to machines verses conscious beings.
What there should be is a concentration on expanding actual consciousness,you know, in people...
Because machines cannot have a soul, a true singularity event would be the equivilent of a nuclear war and must be policed in order to be prevented.
Consciousness and machines are clearly merging, but consciousness needs to remain firmly in the driver's seat.
Anyway, by what mechanism would consciousness spring from machines exactly? The truth is that you folks dont even have the foggiest notion about how consciousness works in the first place! Therefore making these types of statements is ridiculous.
I believe consciousness resonates into existance from the brain into it's own balanced existence around zero; how will you get mere binary calculators (no matter how fast they are going) to resonate consciousness into existence? You wont.
I wrote this about 20 years ago as an internal examination of how consciousness is a balanced energy phenomenon: Consciousness around zero.
It's not that everything is physical, it's that everything is energy structure around nothing. Consciousness IS soul. Because it is so complex. It is the next level of complexity from the brain. Qualia are therefore energy structures that balance each other, like the protons and electrons of atoms. Or in other words, if everything is "physical" consciousness is physical but not material like your body. Why people cannot see that this would completely solve the problem I do not know. I suppose this view on consciousness should be called "balancism."
I wrote this bullet list 15 years later: Statement on Consciousness (Version 1).
I wrote this recently in order to try to communicate this idea to scientists who could possibly prove it as an energy phenomenon: Statement on Consciousness (Version 2). However, I seem to have made an error in seperating Materialists and Eliminativists. I am increasingly seeing that they are really the same stance (why you need two different names I don't know). The point of the paper remains relevant, however.
The 21st century needs its own philosophy; here it is: