A Robot in a Conscious World?

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Ali Margulius- 0520627
January 30th, 2007
Dr. Woodcock
Philosophy 100-F02
Word Count: 1,180

A Robot In a Conscious World?

Artificial consciousness, which can also be referred to as artificial intelligence (AI), aims to define whether or not engineered artifacts—such as robots, can be synthesized to be a thing of conscious entity. The debate for AI has endured throughout the philosophical community for many years and still remains unanswered. Despite this fact, John Searle and William Lycan are two philosophers that have attempted to resolve this issue by debating the consciousness of robots. While Lycan thinks that there is a definite possibility that robots do attain conscious thought, Searle is more apprehensive to this notion—which is outlined in his thought experiment: The Chinese Room Theory. The example that we are given is a robot named Hal that was created by a women named Susan in her garage; through observing their conversation we are able to observe Susan's struggle in regards to whether she thinks Hal is a conscious being or not. The notions that Hal is a conscious entity endures throughout their conversation and like most debates with reference to AI remain unresolved. Being a conscious entity encompasses more then just being able to respond to a computer program, and due to this fact I think it is nearly impossible for robots, such as Hal, to be a conscious entity.

The problem that we are introduced to in this scenario is that of whether or not Hal is a conscious entity. Throughout the dialogue between Hal and Susan we are able to detect the curiosity that Susan has towards figuring out whether or not Hal is responsive and able to think in a qualitative way. It is difficult to decide whether or not Hal actually does have states of consciousness because if we were to see him walking down the street then physically he would look like a human being, and in addition when he states things like this: "It is certainly possible for that to...
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