Deluded computers

Letter to New Scientist 9 August 2003 p 28

In his article on computers and consciousness, Igor Aleksander was quite wrong to say that “Susan Blackmore … implies that constructing a machine that is conscious like us would be impossible”.

I do indeed claim that consciousness is an illusion. This is because it feels to us humans as though there is a continuous flow of experiences happening to an inner self when in fact there is no such inner self. Computers have no inner self either, but if ever they start thinking they do they will become deluded like us, and hence conscious like us. And that day is surely not far off.

We humans can sometimes wake up from our delusion, through intellectual insight or through practices like meditation. Maybe future computers will teach us a thing or two about waking up from illusion.

Bristol, UK