The (lack of) mental life of some machines

In Shimon Edelman, Tomer Fekete & Neta Zach (eds.), Being in Time: Dynamical Models of Phenomenal Experience. John Benjamins. 88--95 (2012)
The proponents of machine consciousness predicate the mental life of a machine, if any, exclusively on its formal, organizational structure, rather than on its physical composition. Given that matter is organized on a range of levels in time and space, this generic stance must be further constrained by a principled choice of levels on which the posited structure is supposed to reside. Indeed, not only must the formal structure fit well the physical system that realizes it, but it must do so in a manner that is determined by the system itself, simply because the mental life of a machine cannot be up to an external observer. To illustrate just how tall this order is, we carefully analyze the scenario in which a digital computer simulates a network of neurons. We show that the formal correspondence between the two systems thereby established is at best partial, and, furthermore, that it is fundamentally incapable of realizing both some of the essential properties of actual neuronal systems and some of the fundamental properties of experience. Our analysis suggests that, if machine consciousness is at all possible, conscious experience can only be instantiated in a class of machines that are entirely different from digital computers, namely, time-continuous, open, analog dynamical systems.
Keywords Consciousness  dynamical systems  computational  machine intelligence  organizational invariance
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Stevan Harnad (2003). Can a Machine Be Conscious? How? Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (4):67-75.
David J. Chalmers (2010). The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9-10):9 - 10.
Aaron Sloman (1996). Beyond Turing Equivalence. In Peter Millican Andy Clark (ed.), Machines and Thought The Legacy of Alan Turing. Oxford University Press 1--179.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

10 ( #235,035 of 1,727,171 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #231,316 of 1,727,171 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.