The reality of machine consciousness- or the suicidal robot

In my search for all things quirky, the headline “Bored robot killed itself” caught my eye in a Sunday heavy weight paper recently. But as ever, a silly story actually illustrated an important reality question.

 

The story An advanced cleaning robot, Irobot Roomba 760, which can clean polish and Hoover, apparently was so bored that it switched itself back on and deliberately burned itself to death on a kitchen hotplate.

Why? The problem was, so the sub text inferred, there was a high degree of engineering sophistication, computer programming and advanced circuitry  needed to allow the robot to do these things. Its very complexity allowed vestigial intelligence to be generated which had then become bored with the lowly tasks it had to do!!!!

 

Could this be possible? Depends of course on the nature of consciousness and what it means in our reality. I did quite a lot about the nature of consciousness at the beginning of this blog ( See A question of consciousness, and also, The reality of us- mind body conundrum parts 1 and 2- published in 2011 and to be found in Aspects of reality category ) I know the artificial intelligence debate, about whether computers can only ever process and look as if they are thinking, or could  actually really ever properly think independently of their programming, is ongoing. Independent thinking is completely different from just following preprogrammed instructions, let alone developing emotions such as boredom. The real question is, what does it take to make that leap? Is consciousness and independent thinking only possible as a bi product of advanced biological brains? Or is it something else inherent in the structure of the universe? Is all matter in some way conscious?  These are serious questions that raise interesting questions themselves about the true nature of our reality.

Aspect of reality

Just because something is thinking differently from you does not mean it is not thinking. Are we really the only intelligent or conscious beings in our reality? Could advanced machines actually have some sort of actual consciousness?

 

 

 

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