The study of the mind was once a province of philosophy and was considered unknowable. But with advances in the sciences and of the increase in the body of knowledge we have about the universe, nature, and the human body, scientists are now ready to deal with the problem of human consciousness using an evidence-based approach. And the results they are getting are no less than shocking. Despite all the advances in the measuring tools being used in the study of consciousness, scientists are beginning to discover that it might be composed of something more than mere neuronal connections.
Implications for AI
The discovery of the material basis for consciousness would enable AI engineers to develop conscious machines – machines that can act on their own based on their evaluation of context and values they have learned.
But science is showing that there is more to consciousness than the physical. After all, there are parts of the brain that has more neurons, such as the cerebellum (which controls muscular movement), but can we say that our limbs actually have consciousness?
Even if we are able to build machines that seem to act consciously, how sure are we that they truly have reached the capacity for contextual and ethical decision making that makes us humans unique?