Robot systems and Consciousness

The development of robots which can function almost like humans represents the epitome of advancement of human technology. Various kinds of robots have been developed to substitute humans in functionality especially in tasks that involve risky endeavours. Space exploration has been made possible thanks to the technology of robots which can be sent to space and collect information to a very high degree of precision. The ability of these systems to put together information at a level of a human being is dependent on their programmed characteristic of tracking and recording information about their environment. This is always aided by a form of internal program contained in a microchip on which the information about its environment is transmitted, analyzed and appropriate action taken. In actual fact, these human beings functions more or less like human beings human beings in the way he responds to the mechanisms of information that is transmitted to his brain his brain. Some proponents have argued that, robots have a certain level of consciousness just like human beings in the way they have the capacity to respond accordingly to changes and causes of these changes on the environment they are exposed to. In one view, this consciousness is configured through a program which cannot be equated to that of a human being by essence. In an open argument, there is no way an abstract form of an object can attain equivalent consciousness to that of a living being.

However according to David Chalmers view, there is no significant differentiation that exists between a living thing and a complete simulation of the same being made  of plastics, metals, electric cables, metals and chips which functions completely the same. On the other hand, Armstrong equated the functionality of the brain in relation to the mind. This is based on the casual theory of the mind where the effects of a given form are as a result of given causes hence eliminating the independence of a mind in configuring events in the environment However, this argument falls short of the basic concept of consciousness as implied in the living being in contrast to the constituent of a robot.

First consciousness entails all forms of personal awareness of thoughts, feelings, memories, sense and the overall changes in the environment. The ability to configure such elements independently is only possible in the brain of a human. Consciousness is inherent to living things which have a brain. The constitution of brain is based on immaterial structures of cells and nerves that transmit information from all parts of a living organism. Therefore, we can draw a very close correlation of consciousness and life therefore eliminating the notion of robots having consciousness equitable to living things. The inorganic composition of robots excludes them from having the capacity to exude consciousness. In addition, robots are manufactured articles and a legitimate consciousness can only be exhibited by a thing born of life. It is therefore to construct a chip as complex as human mind so as to exhibit consciousness. Therefore, basing our argument on this basic understanding of consciousness, it is unimaginable as to how under any level of technology we can instil consciousness on an object like a robot which has no life. The response of a robot is based on the instituted program within its system. Therefore all forms of robots lack the reasoning and the judgemental aspect of a living being which the basic foundation of consciousness. This has not prevented other views on the approach of consciousness in respect to the constitution of the brain and its environment.

A more recent approach in consciousness stands in opposition of the mind-brain behaviour in consciousness and the ideal situation of consciousness on a foundation of living beings. This view is based on the cognitive aspect of the mind where there exists a more expounded believe in neuronal control of the mind than the mind controlling the neurons. This new idea places the mind in having a higher control over the contents of brain in defining its consciousness. The functioning of the brain is therefore determined by the set of messages delivered to it by neurons. Similarly, the same can be achieved in the systems of robots by instituting similar mechanisms using electrochemical means to control the course of action in a robot just like what happens in humans (Jeol, 10_. In humans, the action taken is determined largely at superior levels controlled by the consciousness of mental events being transmitted to the brain. In this case, mind is seen as a system of consciousness that controls the brain. According to this argument, there is a complete separation between the brain (living part) and the consciousness. On the other hand, robots can have a system similar to that of the mind hence acquire the conscious nature of the mind but lack the complete simulation of a brain which is controlled by the events of the mind.

By applying this argument, the mind of a person can function equitably to the set functions of an abstract object like a robot provided that the abstract object has the required setoff programs to execute its functions. The brain of a person is therefore controlled by the mental effects of a mind. There is a mutual interaction between the mental and neural which is recognizable and can be simulated in the system of a robot.

In conclusion, consciousness is based more on the interaction and reaction as a response to the environment. The complexity of constructing abstract objects with similar intelligence response to feelings and can pass in the Turing test eliminates the possibility of having the robot with the consciousness equivalent to that of a man. However, current approaches in defining conscious mind as a separate entity from the living brain leads to a completely new view of consciousness. If the latter happens, chances are there that one day it will be possible to construct a robot with organic components which will exhibit various levels of consciousness.


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