The Robots are Coming

A casual discussion about the automation of work and the decreasing relevance of humans to productivity.

Will the machines ever wake up?

February 06, 2016

Could we ever replicate consciousness in machines? Might they ever become sentient like Skynet in the Terminator films? TechCrunch looks at the possibilities:

One of the most common contentions as to why conscious will eventually be replicated is based on the fact that nature bumbled its way to human-level conscious experience, and with a deeper understanding of the neurological and computational underpinnings of what is “happening” to create a conscious experience, we should be able to do the same.

The author asked 30+ researchers (the bulk of the article is a long infographic with their responses).

Though some researchers supposed a longer time frame, and some a shorter time frame, the bulk of the responses (totaling nearly 50 percent of the respondents who were comfortable making a prediction) were in the 2021-2060 time frame.

That’s just five years away, And the implications are huge:

If a machine became conscious enough to feel, even at the level of a dog or squirrel, should we not have laws to protect them from types of abuse or neglect?

If machines were in fact able to consciously “feel” physical or emotional sensations, would we be obligated to program them to only experience happiness and bliss?

I would argue that if you have to “program” emotions at all, then they’re not really conscious.