How would you build a conscious machine? Well to begin with I’d get Life Insurance and then take my brain and put it in a jar and freeze my body. Then hundreds of years later wake me up and transplant me into an IronMan. Yes, I partially got that idea from the movie IronMan and from Futurama. I’m still going to do it though. But more to the point, Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi both have good points of in their articles that they wrote on consciousness and robots.
Strictly speaking, I do not believe we will be able to “evolve” machines into having a conscious self because in the first place we have to give them that consciousness so, actually they are only conscious of what you tell them. So, if you tell them 2+2=5 then to them, that is the answer. But in reality it is 4, but do they know any different? The whole way to go about this is in an adverse way and giving them their own room to evolve naturally and adapt.
Although I have no expertise in this subject or field, it just only makes sense that Robots won’t be anything unless we tell them what they are. No programming or hardwire will take away from the fact that they are just that, unless we have a way to duplicate a human or animal brain and could possibly engineer it. The following are the excerpts from the article written by the duo,
..Consider this sobering lesson: the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans is a tiny creature whose brain has 302 nerve cells. Back in 1986, scientists used electron microscopy to painstakingly map its roughly 6000 chemical synapses and its complete wiring diagram. Yet more than two decades later, there is still no working model of how this minimal nervous system functions.
Now scale that up to a human brain with its 100 billion or so neurons and a couple hundred trillion synapses. Tracing all those synapses one by one is close to impossible, and it is not even clear whether it would be particularly useful, because the brain is astoundingly plastic, and the connection strengths of synapses are in constant flux. Simulating such a gigantic neural network model in the hope of seeing consciousness emerge, with millions of parameters whose values are only vaguely known, will not happen in the foreseeable future.
Which is a slim probability because presented in the above passage, it would take years upon years to just map the brain itself which possibly might not prove to be any help at all. So I’m going to leave you with the same question I started with. How would you build a conscious machine?