In sci-fi and popular culture, there is much talk about when “AI becomes self-aware/conscious” and then bad things will happen to humanity. Aside from being somewhat an overplayed theme, it raises several profound questions. What is consciousness? What is self-awareness? What is sentience? There are no easy answers that could withstand scrutiny.

For me, this is one of the most fascinating aspects of AI – where it bridges the worlds of science, philosophy, and even theology. KurzGesagt has a fascinating video exploring the evolutionary origins of consciousness and how empathy relates to sense of self.

For this Philosophy Friday, I think this talk by John Searle, the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.

In this “Talk at Google” he focuses on the philosophy of mind and the potential for consciousness in artificial intelligence.  John is widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and social philosophy. Searle has received the Jean Nicod Prize, the National Humanities Medal, and the Mind & Brain Prize for his work. Among his notable concepts is the “Chinese room” argument against “strong” artificial intelligence.

As we create more and more sophisticated AIs, we often wonder if we will ever create an artificial consciousness. That begs the question: what is consciousness?  Michael S. A. Graziano explores the question that has confounded scientists and philosophers for centuries.