• Question: could robots develop a mind of their own

    Asked by urbanboss786 on 28 May 2012. This question was also asked by daisym, dyland, rebecca1, ells8, ez3t1524.
    • Photo: Jemma Ransom

      Jemma Ransom answered on 28 May 2012:

      Hi @urbanboss786,

      this is an interesting one, and something that scientists, philosophers, and electricians do not agree on.

      I think that yes it will be possible for robots to develop a mind of their own, and this is why. I believe that the mind is a physical thing, it is a result of us having a brain, something often called an ’emergent property’. I don’t believe there is a soul, and so the only thing that could result in human consciousness is the phsyical workings of the brain. If we were to replicate a human brain down to the last atom in a lab therefore, the human mind would also be replicated under this theory. So eventually when we get really really good at building robots, yes they could have a mind and consiousness.

      But not everyone agrees on this, what do you think? Maybe we could discuss it at a live chat?


    • Photo: Sam Carr

      Sam Carr answered on 31 May 2012:

      I have a huge interest in this question. There is an idea known as the “singularity”…google it. It is the point in the future when computer intelligence finally surpasses that of what the human brain possesses. If you look at a graph of how “capable” computers are (in terms of things like their memory, their speed, the tasks they can do) ever since the first one was invented you will note one thing. They are getting better and better and better. Another thing is that they are getting better and better at a much faster rate now. So…if that pattern continues (and it has done every year so far) there will come a time when computers can do SO MUCH that they will in many ways be able to do many things far more effectively than the human brain. Does tha make them “conscious”? That’s a different question…and I’m not sure…