The Prospects of Artificial Consciousness: Ethical Dimensions and Concerns

American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):58-71 (2023)
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Abstract

Can machines be conscious and what would be the ethical implications? This article gives an overview of current robotics approaches toward machine consciousness and considers factors that hamper an understanding of machine consciousness. After addressing the epistemological question of how we would know whether a machine is conscious and discussing potential advantages of potential future machine consciousness, it outlines the role of consciousness for ascribing moral status. As machine consciousness would most probably differ considerably from human consciousness, several complex questions must be addressed, including what forms of machine consciousness would be morally relevant forms of consciousness, and what the ethical implications of morally relevant forms of machine consciousness would be. While admittedly part of this reflection is speculative in nature, it clearly underlines the need for a detailed conceptual analysis of the concept of artificial consciousness and stresses the imperative to avoid building machines with morally relevant forms of consciousness. The article ends with some suggestions for potential future regulation of machine consciousness.

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Citations of this work

Artificial Consciousness Is Morally Irrelevant.Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):72-74.
An Immortal Ghost in the Machine?Richard B. Gibson - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):81-83.
Artificial Consciousness is Unlikely to Possess a Moral Capacity.Benjamin Gregg - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):79-81.

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References found in this work

Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
Conditions of personhood.Daniel C. Dennett - 1976 - In Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), The Identities of Persons. University of California Press.
Consciousness cannot be separated from function.Michael A. Cohen & Daniel C. Dennett - 2011 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (8):358--364.

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