There is common view of the mind as being like a computer. On this view, the primary role of the mind is to receive and process information. Specifically, the mind takes in various sensory (what we get from our senses), psychological (feelings and moods), and linguistic (using a written and spoken language) information and processes this information into what we understand as our experience. Indeed, current work in artificial intelligence seeks to mimic as closely as possible this human mental processing with the hope that one day computer programs will have something like conscious awareness.
But is this analogy correct?
Consider the following two-part thought experiment:
In the first example, do you think the robot is “conscious” in a way that is more-or-less consistent with human consciousness? If so, why? If not, why? And thinking about the first and second examples together, what is similar or different in the two cases? That is, is the process you are performing to create the outputs (i.e., the translations) similar or different to what the robot is doing in order to have intelligent conversations with you? If they are similar, how so? If something is different, what is it?
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