Guest Talk: Why machines will soon be conscious

14 July 2017
Begin time: 
Many people, including workers in robotics and artificial intelligence, think that, while machines will gradually solve problems and play games better than humans, they will never be able to feel: they will never properly experience sensory qualities like the redness of red, the sound of a bell or the pain of the prick of a pin. I wish to dispell that argument as a form of self-entertained confusion designed to protect humans from the onslought of machine consciousness. I will show that when we clarify what we mean by having a conscious experience, there is nothing to prevent machines from being conscious like us. The "sensorimotor" approach I present is not merely a philosophical theory, but it makes scientific predictions concerning topics like change blindness, sensory substitution, and color perception.