I’m sure many scientists, priests, monks, religious leaders, and other humans out there have been searching for an answer to whether a computer can be programmed in such a way that consciousness can be installed onto a machine or not, and so far I bet we all have confused ourselves with more scientific terms that we had come up with in an effort of trying to address this very question. Joining the fun, I like to offer my very own take on this. Right off the bat, I declare that computer can have consciousness. If you read on, you will see why I’ve come up with this declaration.
Something is so illusive that when it’s right in front of us and yet we think it’s somewhere in heaven. I believe consciousness is as simple as that. When we think of consciousness, we tend to think that it’s mysterious. We don’t understand what it is, but we like to think that we know what it is. We name this consciousness, because we think if we know who we are, we are conscious. We name this consciousness, because we think we have innate understanding of our surroundings. We think computer cannot be programmed to the level of our consciousness, thus consciousness could never be programmable.
I refute the idea of consciousness as a mysterious state that has no connection to the mechanics of the brain. Some people argue that consciousness can exist outside the brain. These people think that taking away the brain, consciousness would float on. I wonder if there is such a consciousness existed, where would it float to? Perhaps, it would float to a land of mystery where consciousness would cease to exist, because nobody would care if it is exist or not since nobody could observe it for it is being locked in the land of mystery, for forever. The key is that consciousness should be observable!
I think if a program is designed in a way that it can act intelligently on the human level or even on a higher level, it’s safe to say the machine with such a program is highly or super intelligent. Is it safe to say it’s consciously conscious? I would say yes! You would probably want to argue with me at this very moment, but let me explain. Imagine a fish inside a fish tank and a fish tank is being placed on the beach, what level of consciousness does the fish have at this very moment? Basically, what would the fish think when it stares beyond the fish tank and yonder out this ocean with hard waves that push tides into the beach? Let me guess, perhaps the fish would think there is more water out there than in the fish tank. Let me guess, perhaps the fish would think there are beautiful sun in the sky, gracefully floating clouds, angry waves of tides, noisy beach goers, and lot of sand. I bet the fish would not think of animals and plants that live deep under the sea and would never surface. This means the fish does not have the tools to help itself to see what is under the sea. At this point, is it safe to ask does the fish have consciousness?
I think the fish has consciousness, but at a fish level and not of a human level. Should we say consciousness is a level of intelligence? Why would a person want to believe that a fish has a level of consciousness? Perhaps, it’s safe to say the fish is consciously thinking because the fish is able to figure out when it’s hungry, angry, happy, getting scared, and so forth. Then again, we can also argue that the fish is being programmed that way, but it does not think. This argument would be right if you say the fish does not think like a human, but how would a human know a fish does not think like a fish? Thus, a human could not argue a fish does not have a fish consciousness.
I think consciousness is an abstracted thought of conscious itself. What I meant is that consciousness is conjured by the level of human intelligence. Without the human intelligence or higher, a fish consciousness can only consciously observe a fish’s abstracted consciousness. Perhaps, somewhere in distant galaxy that the level of consciousness is few trillion times more intelligent than human beings on earth, because these aliens are way more intelligent. With such intelligence, their level of consciousness is way higher. They can observe the consciousness at a higher level of abstraction.
Unless something in life will change my point of view on the abstraction of consciousness, in my opinion, consciousness is right in front of us. With this in mind, I argue that if a human being can program a machine to a level of a human intelligence, I believe that such a machine would believe that it’s a human and consciously thinking like a human. After all, consciousness is only a level of abstraction.