Transmuting White
Into Black.

I have also used quasi-random controlling processes from computers that give the impression that they are interacting with me when I respond quickly enough to their effects. A quick and unconscious artistic response can make any complex sonic environment seem to change in response to the performers.


The Boy, the Ox, the Horn, the Horse,
Are neither modern, nor ancient.

These examples demonstrate the point that it is easy to create the "illusion" of consciousness in inanimate objects. Our minds are so willing to order their external stimuli in order to "make sense" out of them in human terms. We ask why coincidences occur in our environment and the environment, in turn, seems to give human reasons. This type of reasoning can limit human understanding in many ways. We tend to see other animals as either human-like or mechanistically. Although we may possess many qualities of a dog, I don't believe at this point that we have very much insight into how a dog monitors its world. Since our concepts of consciousness are entirely subjective, how can we know what a dog's consciousness is like? Many people compare brain-damaged humans to other animals saying that these humans must experience life like a beast, but a beast's brain is suited to a beast's body making the beast function properly in the world that has evolved with it. The abnormal brain can hardly be generalized enough to compare it with any other animal.


Entering the water, a loaded cart;
Coming out of the water, a loaded barge.
Appropriate, in life, is Change.

The main problem in talking about the possibility of consciousness in machines always comes back to the difficulty in defining consciousness. Designing the machine to imitate a human seems a side-step to this problem, because we can all agree that humans are conscious (if anything in the universe is). I can't see why that, if a machine can imitate the human thinking processes perfectly, it wouldn't then be conscious. However, imitations are almost always simplifications of the original. Machines have an evolution of their own which, at this point, can't be independent of the intellect of humans for their development. As they become more interactive with their environments while processing those interactions into short and long-term memory that then affect their processes for future interactions, they will have the ability to learn and may have as much claim to being conscious as we humans do. I would be more comfortable with a machine that communicates the experiences, needs, and states that it actually has, than one which is trying to fool me into thinking that it is human.

next page.

title page.