Artificial Consciousness/Computer Science

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Computing Science

And How it relates to Consciousness

Computer Science is the study of how to design Algorythms that facilitate the implementation of functions on a Computer System. Many computer programs simulate or emulate other systems. Computing Science is most important to Artificial Consciousness because of the lessons learned in designing synthetic languages for the computer.

One of the early thinkers in Computer Science was Alan Turing, who is best known for his Turing Test. His main contribution was the idea of tape based automata that could do "Truth preserving functions", and an early theory of Mind called the Computational Theory of Mind [1](CTM) It was based on this theory that he suggested the Turing Test which we can blame for the preponderance of Chatbots on the Internet.

It is partly because of Turings work, that up until recently it was assumed that any sufficiently intelligent machine would also be conscious. The reason for this is simple, Turing made no distinction in his test, between intelligence and consciousness. If we accept Turings test for Intelligence then we have to accept the precept that Intelligence is necessary and sufficient to explain consciousness. There would thereafter be no reason to study consciousness separately from intelligence.

An Early but obscure Theory of Psychology was the Production System Theory, on which all modern computer architectures are baaed. In this theory Short Term and Long Term memory serve a central processing Unit, and Short term memory consists of registers called clumps that reference Lists of Long Term Memory contents. Scientists in Psychology and Neuroscience have long held that this is a poor model for brain design, and that computers and brains do not work the same way. In short Production System Theory has been replaced with Cognitive Science, and there is no longer a direct link between the psychological theory of cognition and the architecture of the computer.

Despite the fact that scientists do not accept the computer as a model of the brain, they do tend to accept it as a research tool, and many simulations of parts of the nervous system are done every day, in an attempt to prove theories about how the nervous system might work. Once we understand the nature of consciousness we will, hopefully, be able to simulate or emulate it on a computer system, or we will be able to design a new system perhaps based on computer technology that works in a completely new way following the successful model. We will probably not however call the device a computer.

Topics of use to the Learner from Computer Science include:

  • Heuristic Algorythms
  • MetaHeuristic Techniques
  • Advanced Languages and their Design
  • Virtual Machines
  • Neural Simulation Techniques
  • Cognitive Architectures

--Graeme E. Smith 18:17, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

See Also


  1. Jerry A. Fodor The Mind doesn't work that way: The scope and limits of Computational Psychology (2001) MIT Press ISBN 0262561468, ISBN 9780262561464