God new evidence

GOD: new evidence


Are robots people?

(Beyond Ourselves #02)

What's in the series?      Previous: Consciousness and the Turing Test      Next: Computers made of meat?

Are robots people?  Are they conscious? A robot is just an advanced computer, and most of us probably would not say that a computer is conscious. But consciousness is a real problem for people who think we are just atoms and molecules:

We would probably say that a robot cannot make free choices – it is completely controlled by its programming. So can people really make free choices? Or are we programmed by our genes and our environment?

If we knew all there is to know about what is going on in someone’s brain, could we predict what they would do?  And if we could, would they still be free – or would they be controlled by their hardware and software, just like a robot?

If we are just atoms and molecules, there is no place left for free will – for making genuine choices. But all of us live as if we do have free will.  So there is a contradiction between how we live, and what we believe.

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Peter S Williams

‘The Universe we live in seems to be a very unlikely place... Are we just lucky? Or is there some deep significance to the fact that we live in a Universe just right for us?’
- New Scientist magazine