Westworld and the dangers of artificial people

It's strange that I've never posted about Westworld. Looking back, it might have been because the first season finished in late 2016 during a period of high distraction (at least for me), the second season happened during my "blogging winter" in 2018 (another period of distraction), and the third, while mildly entertaining, was nothing to … Continue reading Westworld and the dangers of artificial people

The specificity problem

Picture of a lancelet

Henry Shevlin has an interesting paper from 2021 in Mind & Language that just went open access: Non-human consciousness and the specificity problem: A modest theoretical proposal. Shevlin discusses the problem of applying cognitive theories of consciousness, developed within the context of human psychology, to non-human systems, such as animals or artificial systems. For example, … Continue reading The specificity problem

Consciousness, illusions, and definitions

Strawberries

I've discussed many times that the word "consciousness" has a variety of meanings. But most commonly, the various meanings can be grouped into two broad categories. One refers to some combination of functionality, typically the information processing that happens in the brain enabling an organism to take in, assess, and use information about itself and … Continue reading Consciousness, illusions, and definitions

Attention and consciousness

I noted in the post on Susan Blackmore's views that often consciousness get associated with the results of one of three processes: perception, attention, or introspection. Interestingly, while everyone and their brother has a book out on consciousness, attention receives far less... attention. At least in the popular press. The science of attention has a … Continue reading Attention and consciousness

Susan Blackmore’s illusionism

Susan Blackmore's Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction may have been the first book I read on consciousness many years ago. Recent conversations rekindled my interest in her views. I'm pretty sure her discussion of consciousness as an illusion was the first time I had encountered that idea. Strong illusionists such as Keith Frankish and Daniel … Continue reading Susan Blackmore’s illusionism