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What is it like to be a machine?

24-03-2020 17:09

Alkis Gounaris
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Philosophy

Abstract: The question "What is it like to be a machine?" refers to the subjective experience of a cognitive agent, that happens to be a thinking machine, consisting of microchips, transistors, cables, sensors etc. At first we may assume that the subjective experience of being a machine will be different from the subjective experience of being human, therefore a human cannot "experience" the world as a machine, neither a machine can "experience" the world as a human. However, strange as it may sound, this reasonable answer is not the dominant one, in the way that those who work on the problem of the convergence of human cognition and artificial intelligence perceive the mental process.
On the contrary, they assume that if two machines produce the same effect (the same mental state) they are equivalent, regardless of the material from which they are made - whether it is a machine made of meat (such as the human brain) or a machine made of silicon (such as a processor). This attempt to simulate the "meat machine" with a "silicon machine" is an important finding, highlighted again and again in the research of Irish journalist and author Mark O'Connell, in his book entitled "To Be a Machine".

Keywords: Transhumanism, Whole Brain Emulation, Mind Upload, Machine Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence

Gounaris, Α. (2020). What is it like to be a machine? Original publication in www.bookpress.gr. Retrieved [24/03/2020] from https://alkisgounaris.gr/en/archives/what-is-it-like-to-be-a-machine/

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