Wednesday, February 01, 2006

WIll AI ever be "conscious"?

A great overview of the central issues in HLAI, Considerations Regarding Human-Level Artificial Intelligence", by Nils Nilsson, concludes with some beautifully clear thoughts on philosophy of mind:

Will human-level intelligent agents have "free will" or be "conscious"? My opinion is that if they have mechanisms that allow them to consider alternative courses of action and choose from among them based on anticipated consequences, they will have the same kind of free will that we have. Additionally, if they can introspect, name, and reason about these selection processes, they may even claim that they have free will — just as we do. Agents that can discuss these topics with us and make such claims might also declare they are "conscious," and I guess I would have to believe them — just as I believe similar claims from people.

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