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1 Aliens are very sensitive about human feelings.

They even understand maternal affection and your girlfriend's love. 2 Contrary to international research results (that they are greenish in color), aliens are actually blue in color. 3 They are not sticky as shown in Hollywood. They are very cute, fresh-looking, neat and clean people. You can even kiss them without worrying about any chemical on their skin. 4 Even though they are believed to be very powerful and advanced in science (see their spaceships), they are still scared of dogs and elephants. 5. They do not eat anything; they live only on solar energy. They get charged from sunlight or dhoop (perhaps like our calculators). 6 Their powers are rivaled by no less than God himself. They can cure a mentally handicapped child (whom even US doctors have given up on) with just a tap on his head. 7 Forget contact lenses, contact aliens. They can correct your vision. 8 They can help humans fly (provided it is not cloudy outside and they have enough dhoop). The flying helps in many ways, including winning basketball games. 9 Given a chance, they can earn well with their magic shows. After all, they are very good working magic with clouds and your shadows, etc. 10 They can understand and speak Hindi and English. 11 Did you know ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) actually works on alien research and not on space research? 12 If you have a green monocrome monitor and four obsolete 5-1/2" floppy drives, you can make a device with which you can communicate with aliens. 13 Aliens will never come to your city until they first ensure a total power blackout. 14 They are generous enough to resume power connections in your city soon after they take off. 15 If you produce a particular sound (by whistle, instrument or whatever) you can call them as many times as you want to your town. They are free and are actually looking for such invitations so they can visit earth. _________________________________________________________________ In the far distant past around 240 millions BC, an intelligent technological species of theropod did evolved on earth. This species developed space travel and established colonies in nearby star systems. The asteroid impact that apparently occurred 65 million years ago devastated this civilization as well as nearly destroying the entire ecosystem. With their home civilization on earth devastated, the colonies were left to evolved on their own. It would be likely that the earth would be monitored and as the ecosystem recovered these reptoids would resume operations on earth. Given the distances and effort involved to move resources back to earth, it is likely that a need to augment the local work force with a native labor force that could accomplish the more menial and laborious tasks. A simple means of acquiring this labor would be to utilize local terrestrial stock and genetically alter this stock as necessary to accomplish these goals. This idea is not without precedent, since mankind itself has done this with horses and other domesticated livestock. It is likely that this is how modern man was developed.

were of northwest European extraction and they took it for granted that northwest Europeans and their descendants were the evolutionary crown and peak. The first robot story that Campbell took was “Reason”. for I wrote my Foundation (and related) novels on that basis. it had also occurred to me that I could write robot stories for Campbell. which appeared in the May 1942 Astounding Science Fiction. Campbell would not let me be. but I had no brief for northwest Europeans. when they wrote of Galactic Federations. in which only the aliens appeared. Meanwhile. in fact. it appeared in the November 1942 issue ofSuperscience Stories. On the one hand. In fact. Wade. You may wonder why that is so. which appeared in the April 1941 Astounding Science Fiction. I wrote a story called “Homo Sol”. The first such story was “Foundation” itself. too. I was of East European extraction myself and my kind was being trampled into oblivion by a bunch of northwest Europeans. as far as I know. Both were as kind and as good as gold to everyone. then. who were Earthmen (of northwest European extraction. you are wrong. That’s just the way I write stories. There were lots of different intelligences in Smith’s Galaxy but the leader was Kimball Kinnison. but the leaders were Arcot. a story called “The Imaginary”. Campbell wouldn’t allow it. Campbell rejected it. Campbell would reject them. (“Doc”) Smith had started the fashion. Well. each with its own form of intelligent life. but they knew they belonged to the racial aristocracy. In very few of my writings have human beings met aliens. The time is 1940… In those days. Well. I guess. you understand. and it proved phenomenally successful. a catch.” But if that is what you suspect. had a Galactic Federation composed of innumerable different intelligences. which appeared in the September 1940 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. So why not write human-only stories. Then inspiration struck. The hero of the story was from Rigel and Earthmen were definitely a bunch of second-raters. There was. it was common to describe “Galactic Federations” in which there were many. in 1940. I’m sure). and presuming . I didn’t mind having Earthmen superior to robots-at least just at first. E. though wonderful people. an Earthman (of northwest European extraction. I was therefore not intent on making Earthmen superior. If I wrote alien-only stories. however. When I got around to making another serious attempt at dealing with a Galactic society. at no point anywhere in my writing has any robot met any alien. If I wrote human/alien stories. Earthmen had to be superior to all others. What to do? I wrote a sequel to “Homo Sol”. E. and you might suspect that the answer would be. There were lots of different intelligences in Campbell’s Galaxy. Smith and Campbell. I. Well. Mine was the first such Galaxy in science fiction history. Neither one was a racist in any evil sense. and Morey. “I don’t know. Earthmen were the northwest Europeans of the Galaxy. I wanted to write my stories without interference. many planets. too. I’m sure). Those stories. proved very popular. I will be glad to explain just why things are as they are. on the other hand. He forced me to make some changes and then made some himself. No Earthmen. and John W.You may have noticed (assuming that you have read my robot stories and novels) that I have not had occasion to discuss the interaction of robots and aliens. I wanted to sell to Campbell. and I was frustrated. I did. no matter what. I made it an all-human Galaxy and Campbell had no objections at all. Campbell had carried it on.

” Because of that. Daneel and R. there need be no caviling about the kind of a human being. offers no difficulty: “A robot may not injure a human being. and that order would put the ship and everyone on board into danger. That assumes. allow a human being to come to harm. No one can doubt that I proved it. Giskard in my robot novels. the aliens and the human beings didn’t actually meet face-to-face. handle aliens. Suppose that one of my robots did encounter an alien intelligence.” In fact. This doesn’t mean that (always assuming I live long enough) it’s not possible I may violate this habit of mine in the future. Suppose. that the robot knows everything about ships and can tell that the order is a dangerous one. The ending of my novel Foundation and Earth makes it conceivable that in the sequel I may introduce aliens and that R. Consider. What would happen? Problems of this sort have occurred to me now and then but I never felt moved to make one the basis of a story. or through inaction. any suggestion that I don’t introduce aliens into my stories because I “can’t handle them. but is experienced only in. however. “Sir.) But let’s move on. it seems to me. Suppose a robot on board ship is given an order by someone who knows nothing about ships. since you have no knowledge as to the proper handling of ships. I have often wondered if the Second Law ought to read.” Fine. but I must admit that even in The Gods Themselves. I think of “Bicentennial Man”. He happens to be on board ship and is given an order by some landlubber and he doesn’t know whether the order is safe or not. short or tall. old or young. My Galaxy is still all-human. Daneel will have to deal with them. Anything that can define a human being biologically will suffice. it would not be safe for me to obey any order you may give me involving such handling. It seems to me that he ought to respond. and now I can’t think of a recent robot story in which my robot isn’t far better than the human beings he must deal with.How would a robot define a human being in the light of the three laws. my chief reason for writing my novel The Gods Themselves was to prove to anyone who felt he needed the proof. This continued even after Campbell’s death. “Too Bad” and. and my robots still meet only humans.upon their popularity. It wouldn’t matter whether they were male or female. I gradually made my robots better and wiser and more decent than human beings and Campbell continued to take them. but it is at least conceivable that aliens may intrude on my closeknit human societies. That’s not a promise because actually I haven’t the faintest idea of what’s going to happen in the sequel. The Second Law is a different matter altogether: “A robot must obey orders given it by a human being except where that would conflict with the First Law. Obedience would conflict with the First Law since human beings would be put into danger. let us say. that I could. The First Law. “A robot must obey orders given it by qualified human beings…” . (Naturally. Is the robot obliged to obey? Of course not. “Robot Dreams”. But the decision I made in the heat of World War II and in my resentment of Campbell’s assumption have stayed with me. too. automobile manufacture. wise or foolish. I think of R. with contempt. most of all. however.” That has always made me uneasy. I repel. that the robot is not an expert on ships.

this is bound to create difficulties. It is one thing to design robots to deal with a specific non-human intelligence. The Declaration of Independence states that “All men are created equal. One couldn’t say. If a law was passed that stealing was illegal. or gender or eye shape or religion or language or. And that brings me to the matter of aliens. In fact. whether human or not.” Then. And. different species of living things may be intelligent to different extents. or the orders of a moron. ancestry obviously mattered. none of these superficialities ought to matter. what if the robot is faced by a child of ten-indisputably human as far as the First Law is concerned.” Even Campbell would admit that much (except that his technique was to change the subject). and I steadily argued that they were all equal before the taw. physiological and biochemical differences and ask only what the status of intelligence might be. for goodness sake. if you went to Harvard and were a seventh-generation American you can steal up to one hundred thousand dollars. It seems to me that to decent human beings. I will obey it. of course. it seems to me that if we broaden our perspective to consider non-human intelligent beings. and specialize in it. In any case. too. subjected to the qualification that a person must be mentally equipped to understand the difference between right and wrong.” Campbell. to others skin color matters. if you’re an immigrant from the British Isles. “Well. you can steal up to one hundred dollars. you can’t steal at all. but if you’re of Polish birth. Naturally. a robot must apply the Laws of Robotics to any intelligent biological being. It is quite another to have a robot encounter an intelligent species whom it has never met before. . then no man could steal. when we say that “All men are created equal” we are using “men” in the generic sense including both sexes and all ages. “Sir. Must the robot obey without question the orders of such a child. or the orders of a man lost in the quagmire of emotion and beside himself? The problem of when to obey and when not to obey is so complicated and devilishly uncertain that I have rarely subjected my robots to these equivocal situations. argued with me many times that all men are manifestly not equal. of course. I do not know whether you are a qualified human being with respect to this order.But then I would have to imagine that robots are equipped with definitions of what would make humans “qualified” under different situations and with different orders. as irrelevant. what if a landlubber robot on board ship is given orders by someone concerning whose qualifications the robot is totally ignorant. then we must dismiss. After all. so to speak. The physiological difference between aliens and ourselves matters to us-but then tiny physiological or even cultural differences between one human being and another also matter. or in different directions. To Smith and Campbell. We can easily imagine two intelligences with two utterly different systems of morals or two utterly different systems of senses. or subject to different modifications. even hairstyle. Must a robot who is faced with a strange intelligence evaluate it only in terms of the intelligence for which he is programmed? (To put it in simpler terms. If you can satisfy me that you are qualified to give me an order of this sort. what if a robot. In short. Must he answer.

It has always seemed weird to me that we try to learn more about the natural world by bottling it into numbers.carefully trained to understand and speak French. it will give me a lot of trouble. If you’re wondering what I mean by robots. and it is this propensity for ease that has led us to welcome them into our homes and lives. The results are in robot-speak. look no further. and cheapest too. It gives them excellent practice and may teach me a few things. too. There is no life on mars so how can they live there. Robots can be useful but you have to buy batteries and 1 of the 3 common batteries is very cheap but useless. this may be something I will have to take up in a story but. Meanwhile. are heavy. I’m delighted when they do. I invite you to think critically about our ever-increasing robot dependency and the balance that could exist between our experiences in the natural world and our obsession with quantification. have trouble supplying large amounts of current in short time periods. However they are useless. It’s easy to be an advocate for robots. There are some girls in the world that might be creeped out ‘bout aliens and think it’s really stupid and that robots are better. Aliens are cool too they’re not harmful or anything like that. Despite this. graphs. Aliens Report By: Lily Wong 6M4 Some people believe that aliens live on mars. . Boys love aliens (well some boys) and they think its cool but girls don’t agree. trying to describe with squared off logic the spherical realm. and the most recent source of my passionate confusion. Even if he understands both sets of languages. must he be forced to decide which of the two is the more intelligent before he can decide what to do in the face of conflicting orders-or which set of moral imperatives is the worthier? Someday. They have low power capacities. encounters someone who can only understand and speak Farsi?) Or suppose a robot must deal with individuals of two widely different species. easiest to get. spreadsheets. Robots are made from metal and ruts when water Aliens won’t be bothered by it Ahhh. each manifestly intelligent. don't buy them. if so. and whatever else robots like to eat. aboard the Gato Verde we seem to have plenty of free time to follow our follies. If aliens were real and did live on mars and proof was shown maybe (not sure) scientists can figure out how to live on mars just like how aliens live there. like experimenting with watercolors and debating/detesting the role of robots in our livesnow a daily occurrence. because if you are reading this. the whole point of the Robot City volumes is that young writers have the opportunity to take up the problems I have so far ducked. Alkaline batteries are the most common. and get expensive to constantly replace. then one is literally staring you in the face right now.

but they became extinct before they reached us. have no fear. and blog-writing. And if our galaxy was colonized. more valuable insights than our senses and intuition as part of the natural world provide? I feel that natural history splits the difference here between sheer experience and logical interpretation of the natural world. and if so. Maybe they have isolated us for observation and study (the zoo hypothesis). Travelling slower than the speed of light. The Fermi Paradox drew a wide range of speculative hypotheses. It is known as the humans versus robots the galaxy because they don’t debate. as it veers from physical experience in the natural world to number crunching and technological interpretations. The Park hypothesis states that We regularly have a debate over what to send to intelligent alien civilizations do exist. they would still colonize the galaxy in a relatively short time. debates. Enrico Fermi thought that if intelligent alien civilizations existed. in numbers. so expect the next ones to be short! Bob Park will be remembered as a persistent human spaceflight critic. we would know all about it. if an intelligent civilization . some background information. or want to. in favor of research. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is challenged by an idea called the Fermi Paradox. Science is loosing the humanity with which it began. Or could there be another explanation? Since the only intelligent civilization that we know of is our own. or the manned versus unmanned debate. where are they? First. they would inevitably colonize the galaxy. the way we have engineered our institutions of learning has led us to a point now that places little or no value on natural historians. But he could also help solve one of the great space mysteries of all time: Do intelligent aliens exist. Could there still be a way to do science that bridges the gap between knowledge and understanding? Regardless.Is it enough to thoroughly experience an environment and form a relationship with it in order to foster an understanding of it? Could controlling and testing aspects of an environment reveal. a leader of the antihuman-spaceflight movement. but they have not colonized space. Now. Maybe they are waiting until our civilization reaches a certain developmental stage (the sentinel hypothesis). Maybe intelligent aliens did exist. our experiences may provide insights into how intelligent aliens behave. It is this dominance of fact over truth that I have found incredibly demoralizing as I continue exploring on my educational path. Fermi concluded that intelligent aliens do not exist. with a more accurate description it could be called the both-humans-and-robots versus robots-only debate. Unfortunately. I’m sure when J-Pod returns there will be little to no free time aboard the Gato Verde for painting.

From their perspective it would be an our-species versus robots debate. then it will not take place. but others disagree with him. unfortunately they bodies. but they have not colonized the galaxy because they don’t want to. sometimes quite strongly. unfortunately they may not be around to see us. their intellectuals may conclude that alien spaceflight is obsolete. and three-planet civilizations have further reductions. bans colonization throughout the galaxy. their rate of extinction is significantly higher. or group of civilizations. If this is true. This is a valid criticism. And like our intellectuals. If there are Parkist (or Park-like) civilizations in the galaxy. The analogy is that some people support Bob Park. and from our perspective it would be an aliens versus robots debate. it would be unrealistic to expect all of them to comply.such as ours is having this debate. This translates to a low value for L (civilization lifetime) in the Drake Equation. Of course. what should we expect of them? One characteristic of one-planet civilizations is their elevated rate of extinction. and a robots-only space policy would be sensible. they wouldn’t call it a humans versus robots debate. The communication between a robot probe and its homeworld would be a much weaker signal than the communication between a homeworld and its colonies. But since Parkist civilizations have decided to put all their eggs in one basket. which indicates that intelligent aliens are likely to exist. It neatly resolves both the Drake Equation. If a dominant civilization. but the counter-argument is that unanimity is not required. Two-planet civilizations have a reduced rate of extinction. Since colonization is difficult to accomplish anyway. A criticism of the Park hypothesis is that while some alien civilizations act in accordance with Bob Park’s principles. A galaxy that is predominantly inhabited by Parkist civilizations could be called a Parkist galaxy. the addition of legal and political impediments will make it near impossible. Every civilized planet in the galaxy is susceptible to planetary disasters. logical. then aliens would be very difficult to detect. one easily overlooked. may not be around to see us. Aliens that resolved to stay on their home planet would leave a very small footprint on the galaxy. and large-scale nuclear or biological war. A robot probe is much harder to detect than worlds colonized by aliens. and the Fermi Paradox: no colonization means we don’t see them. then it is possible that intelligent alien civilizations are doing the same thing. no matter how much other civilizations protest. They would dismiss colonization as a hopeless fantasy. and right. such as collision with other If we detect signs of a Parkist civilization. Such a galaxy could be identified by its unique appearance: a few scattered single . The Park hypothesis states that intelligent alien civilizations do exist. If we detect signs of a Parkist civilization.

however. We buy and sell dogs and cats. At the outset. we keep our pets "locked up" in the house. give animals the same kind of autonomy that we accord persons.planets of intelligent life. and why Parkism is so popular here.T: The Extraterrestrial or the famous "bar scene" from Star Wars). I have previously mentioned that we have the humans versus robots debate. we may decide that there is a non-normative concept of "person" that is equally important. in fact. What is a person? The English term. Property is the kind of thing that can be bought and sold. and aliens may have its equivalent. and even conceptually prior to any moral concept. the moral concept will be our focus.] Initially.g. should we define "person" as a moral category? [Note: In the long run. E. one of our primary interests is to distinguish persons from pets and fromproperty." But surely that is not what we intend here. And if we live in the city. where we are in space. aliens could be thinking about a civilization like ours. perhaps named after a famous anti-alien-spaceflight activist of its world. "person. amid vast areas either devoid of life or occupied by simple organisms only. Of course." . etc. A person is the kind of entity that has the moral right to make its own life-choices. How. we shall define a person as follows: • PERSON = "any entity that has the moral right of self-determination. It is possible that there are aliens living on other planets that have the same cognitive abilities that we do (e. Thus. We often use it as a synonym for "human being. it could also be possible that aliens have its equivalent too. something I can "use" for my own interests." is ambiguous. create literature and works of art. Imagine aliens that speak a language. Now that we have the Park hypothesis. when it comes to animals there are serious moral constraints on how we may treat them. to live its life without (unprovoked) interference from others. In contrast. wondering whether we exist. Surely aliens with these properties would be "persons"--which is to say that it would be morally wrong to buy or sell them as property the way we do with dogs and cats or to otherwise use them for our own interests without taking into account the fact that they are moral agents with interests that deserve the same respect and protection that ours do. At this very moment. make moral judgments. then. something that we would have no right to do to aperson. But we do not. a galaxy with Fermi’s alien civilizations would be filled with intelligent life.

Everyone at the Mind Project is convinced that it is a valuable educational enterprise to do our best to simulate minds and persons. we learn more about the nature of the mind and about ourselves. a soul.or even a mind -. the ability to make moral judgments.Many of us would be prepared to say. self-awareness .out of machine parts and computer programs." Could a computer be intelligent? Why or why not? A careful consideration of these questions requires a very close look both at computers and intelligence. In fact. that any entity judged to be a person would be the kind of thing that would deserve protection under the constitution of a just society. It might reasonably be argued that any such being would have the right to "life. And so we suggest that you first examine a few fascinating computer programs and think seriously about the questions. Artificial intelligence: Can a machine think? [When you've finished with that section. creativity. we are convinced that one of the best ways to learn about minds and persons is to attempt to build an artificial person. to build a machine that has a mind and that deserves the moral status of personhood. This is not to say that we believe that it will be possible anytime soon for undergraduates (or even experts in the field) to build a person. You may find it interesting to note that while some people deny that machine intelligence is even a possibility. But that doesn't matter. even in principle." This raises the philosophical question: What properties must an entity possess to be a "person"? At the Mind Project. liberty and the pursuit of happiness. "intelligence. In the very attempt. He simply insists that Data lacks the other two properties necessary for being a person: self-awareness and consciousness. . Which properties do you think are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for being a person? What is intelligence? Before turning to the specific arguments raised in the Star Trek episode. it will prove helpful to pause for a moment to consider the first property on the list. free will. and the list could go on almost indefinitely. the capacity to speak a language. . return here] Now that you have thought about "Intelligence" and pondered the possibility of "Machine Intelligence" let us turn to the Star Trek episode. it forces us to probe our own concept of personhood. What are the properties necessary for being a person? Many properties have been suggested as being necessary for being a person: Intelligence. What is intelligence? and Is it possible for a machine to be intelligent? To help you reflect on these questions we recommend that you visit one of our modules on artificial intelligence. Here is what the character Maddox says regarding Data's intelligence. to build a person -. At the very least. consciousness. there is great disagreement among Mind Project researchers about whether it is possible. Commander Maddox (the one who denies that the android Data is a person) does not deny that Data is intelligent. I think.

I also mean that the character of that awareness is such that it gives me certain abilities to critically reflect upon my mental states and to make judgments about those states. by themselves.PICARD: Is Commander Data intelligent? MADDOX: Yes. If I am aware of my own behavior and mental activity in the right way. Who exactly is it. though capable of being aware of things external to it. Commander Maddox. dogs have a rich array of experiences (they feel pain and pleasure. that an attitude is morally objectionable or that I made a mistake in my reasoning and that a belief that I hold is unjustified and should be abandoned. then they will lack the ability to critically reflect upon their beliefs and experiences and thus will be ." It is important to get clear about what we mean by self-awareness and why it might be a requirement for being a person. However. MADDOX: Yes. say. being directly aware. dreams. that is aware of the self? Another self? Do we now have two selves? Well. Consider the mental life of a dog. What is Self-Awareness? Let us turn to the second property that the Star Trek episode assumes is necessary for sentience and personhood: "self-awareness. the tree has a particular "look" to it) and they may even have beliefs about the world (Fido believes that his supper dish is empty). of the thoughts that I am presently thinking and the attitudes ("I hope the White Sox win") that I presently hold. they may even have special "inner experiences" that accompany those beliefs. etc. supply everything that we intend to capture by the term. What exactly do we mean by "selfawareness"? One might believe that there is something like a "self" deep inside of us and that to be self-aware is simply to be aware of the presence of that self.) I do not mean merely that I have some inner clue to the content of that mental activity. But even if we grant that we have such "inner experiences. it has the ability to learn and understand and to cope with new situations. then. The standard idea is probably that the self. let us explore the concept of "self-awareness. is also capable of being aware of its own states. PICARD: Like this hearing. "self-awareness. Some have described this as a kind of experience. that's not what most people would have in mind. though admitting that Data is "intelligent" nonetheless denies that Data is a person because he lacks two other necessary conditions for being a person: selfawareness and consciousness." This has been the topic of considerable discussion among philosophers and scientists. for example. I might be said to have an "inner experience" of my own mental activity." When I say that I am aware of my own mental activity (my thoughts. Who knows. Before examining Maddox's reasons for thinking that Data is not self-aware. if we assume that dogs are not self-aware in the stronger sense. Presumably. hopes." they do not. no. then it may be possible for me to decide that my behavior should be changed.

Commander .unable to have other beliefs about their pleasure or their supper-dish-belief (what philosophers call "second-order beliefs" or "meta-beliefs"). That is to say. However. It might be self-aware even if we deny that "there is something that it is like to be that machine" (to modify slightly Thomas Nagel's famous dictum). Picard's response is ambiguous. . Am I a person or am I property? And what is at stake? My right to choose. "my life". But if that is getting any closer to the truth about the nature of self-awareness (and I'm not necessarily convinced that it is). What are you doing now? I am taking part in a legal hearing to determine my rights and status. that the right kind of machine might actually be creative. . I'm waiting. The only evidence that Picard gives of Data being self-aware is that he is capable of using particular words in a language (words like 'my rights' and 'my life''). MADDOX: This is exceedingly difficult. Is it only necessary that Data have information about his own beliefs to be self-aware or must that information be accompanied by an inner feeling or experience of some kind? Douglas Hofstadter has some interesting thoughts on the matter. Douglas Hofstadter wrote a thought-provoking piece about the nature of creativity and the possibility that it might be "mechanized" -. . . . they may lack the ability to judge that pleasure may be an unworthy objective in a certain situation or to judge that their belief that the supper dish is empty is unjustified. Perhaps my very life. then it becomes an open question whether being "selfaware" need be a kind of experience at all. PICARD: DATA: PICARD: DATA: PICARD: Commander Data. "My rights" . Seems reasonably self-aware to me. Now. You are aware of your self and your own ego. here. We might well imagine that Commander Maddox is thinking about subjective experiences when he speaks of being "conscious" of one's existence and actions. "my right to choose" .that is. much of what he says could be applied to the property of self-awareness. It might be that a machine (a robot for example) could be "self-aware" in this sense even if we admit that it has no subjective experiences whatsoever. let us turn to the Star Trek dialogue and see what they have to say about self-awareness. . . Douglas Hofstadter on "Anti-sphexishness" In one of his columns for Scientific American ("On the Seeming Paradox of Mechanizing Creativity"). . PICARD: What about self-awareness? What does that mean? Why am I self-aware? MADDOX: Because you are conscious of your existence and actions. "my status" . Douglas Hofstadter offers a suggestion that will help us to consider this possibility. While creativity is his primary focus.

creativity comes in degrees and consists in the ability to monitor one's lower level activities so that when a behavior becomes unproductive. To be "creative". never to return. is to be antisphexish -. If again the cricket is removed a few inches while the wasp is inside. with the same result. such an elaborately organized and seemingly purposeful routine conveys a convincing flavor of logic and thoughtfulness -. She drags the cricket into the burrow. something "creative". Hofstadter makes up a name for this repetitive. closes the burrow. For example. the sphex's behavior seemed intelligent. On one occasion this procedure was repeated forty times. Sphex. We might say that it is "unaware" of the redundancy of its activity.until more details are examined. the wasp Sphex builds a burrow for the purpose and seeks out a cricket which she stings in such a way as to paralyze but not kill it. In his discussion. that is. and then drag the cricket in. the wasp. the wasp's routine is to bring the paralyzed cricket to the burrow. It is simply performing a rote. It wisely entered the burrow to search for predators. but "recognizes" its futility and tries something new. on emerging from the burrow. one does not continually repeat it. But if it really "understood" what it was doing. mechanical behavior -. but not inside. leave it on the threshold. then it wouldn't repeat the activity 40 times in a row!! That is stupid!! It is reasonable to assume. If the cricket is moved a few inches away while the wasp is inside making her preliminary inspection. that it doesn't really understand what it is doing at all.and it seems blissfully ignorant of its situation. then you must give it the ability to monitor its own behavior so that it will not get stuck in ruts similar to the Sphex's. If you want to create a machine that is antisphexish. The wasp never thinks of pulling the cricket straight in. One way to make the robot more antisphexish would be to write special second-order (or meta-level) programs whose primary job was not to produce robot-behavior but rather to keep track of those first-order programs that do produce the robot-behavior to make sure that those programs did not get stuck in any "stupid" ruts. unlike the sphex. once again she will move the cricket up to the threshold and reenter the burrow for a final behave. To the human mind. (A familiar example of a machine caught in a rut is the scene from several old science fiction . the eggs hatch and the wasp grubs feed off the paralyzed cricket. and will then repeat the preparatory procedure of entering the burrow to see that everything is all right.The kernel of his idea is that to be uncreative is to be caught in an unproductive cycle ("a rut") which one mechanically repeats over and over in spite of its futility. Hofstadter then says. In due course. then. purposeful. go inside to see that all is well. Hofstadter quotes from Dean Wooldridge who describes the Sphex as follows: When the time comes for egg laying. Consider a robot that has a primary set of computer programs that govern its behavior (call these first-order programs). drawing inspiration for the name from the behavior of certain kind of wasp named. therefore. which has not decayed. lays her eggs alongside. uncreative kind of behavior--he calls it sphexishness. [from Dean Wooldridge's Mechanical Man: The Physical Basis of Intelligent Life] Initially. emerge. having been kept in the wasp equivalent of a deepfreeze. then flies away. will bring the cricket back to the threshold. On this account.

why? What exactly is consciousness? Is it ever possible to know. We can have programs watching programs watching programs -.) A problem arises. then one would hold that no matter how sophisticated the external behavior of an entity. and if one assumes that consciousness requires subjective experiences.generating far more programs than we would want to mess with -and yet still leave the fundamental problem unresolved: There would always remain one program that was un-monitored. that entity will not be conscious and thus will not be a person unless it has subjective experiences. `consciousness.films in which a robot misses the door and bangs into the wall over and over again. What is Consciousness? Must an entity be "conscious" to be a person? If so. .' one way is to identify it with what we might call the subjective character of experience. If one had reason to think that this was a plausible theory. if it were possible. Can you see now why this kind of self-watching computer program might give us something like "self-awareness"? I am not saying that it is self-awareness -. But then he also gives reasons why human beings are not perfectly antisphexish -. the android."unaware" of its predicament. There is one more property that Maddox insists is necessary for being a person: "Consciousness". Can you think what it is? What if the second-order program. you could never create a machine that was perfectly antisphexish. however. unless it possesses an inner. a program that watches other programs but also keeps a critical eye pealed to its own potentially sphexish behavior. if one assumes that nothing could be a person unless it were conscious. the "watching" program gets stuck in a rut? Then you need another program (a third-order program) whose job is to watch the "watching"-program. Let us return now to the discussion of Star Trek and Commander Data and the question: Is Data. even if it were possible to create these programs that "watch" other programs.that is ultimately for you to decide. self-aware? Whether you think that Captain Picard has scored any points against Commander Maddox or not. whether or not a given entity is conscious? While there are many different ways of understanding the term. Yet Hoftstadter insists that no matter what you do. for certain. mental life. But that doesn't mean that Maddox is giving up. is what Hofstadter calls a "self-watching" program. incapable of resolving its dilemma -.and why we shouldn't even want to be. But now we have a dilemma (what philosophers call an "infinite regress"). But there are people who believe that human beings are basically "machines" and that our ability to be "self-aware" is ultimately the result of a complex set of computer programs running on the human brain. Maddox seems less confident about his claim that Data lacks self-awareness than he was initially. then one might well think that Hofstadter's "self-watching" programs would play a key role in giving us the ability for self-awareness. What you would want for efficiency sake. On this account.

) Rather he is interested to deny the claim that a purely physical account of an organism (of its brain states. you might want to learn a bit about functionalism. Funtionalism: a theory of the mind Now that you have a basic understanding of the theory of functionalism. that the objective. We may call this the subjective character of experience. There may be further implications about the form of the experience. since these could be ascribed to robots or automata that behaved like people though they experience nothing. even in principle. here is Nagel's reason for thinking that a functionalist account of the mind will never be able to capture the fundamental nature of what it means to be conscious. Perhaps anything complex enough to behave like a person would have experiences.Thomas Nagel discusses the significance of the "subjective character of experience" in his article. Nagel's main concern is to challenge the claim. Nagel says. physical or functional properties of an organism tell us everything there is to know about that organism. It is not captured by any of the familiar. be capable of capturing the subjective character of that organism's experiences. functionalism. But that. (Some extremists have been prepared to deny it even of mammals other than man. there may even (though I doubt it) be implications about the behavior of the organism. though we cannot be sure of its presence in the simpler organisms. One of Nagel's primary targets is the theory called. (He most definitely is not suggesting that bats are persons. basically. recently devised reductive analyses of the mental. and it is very difficult to say in general what provides evidence of it. But no matter how the form may vary.) could. "No. that there is something it is like to be that organism. Conscious experience is a widespread phenomenon. the fact that an organism has conscious experience at all means. It is not analyzable in terms of the causal role of experiences in relation to typical human behavior--for similar reasons.* * Footnote: Perhaps there could not actually be such robots. or intentional states. But fundamentally an organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism-something it is like for the organism. I do not deny that conscious mental states and events cause . It occurs at many levels of animal life. the most popular theory of the mind of the past twenty-five years. It is not analyzable in terms of any explanatory system of functional states. click here and a new window will open up with an introduction to functionalism. if true. for all of them are logically compatible with its absence. etc. It continues to be the dominant account of the nature of mental states help by scientists and philosophers today. "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?" Note that Nagel is not concerned here with the issue of personhood. Before turning to Nagel's argument." Any objective description of a person's brain states will inevitably leave out facts about that person's subjective experience--and thus will be unable to provide us with certain facts about that person that are genuine facts about the world.) No doubt it occurs in countless forms totally unimaginable to us. If so. made by many contemporary scientists. on other planets in other solar systems throughout the universe. is a fact which cannot be discovered merely by analyzing the concept of experience.

He argues that a computer cannot be said to be conscious merely by virtue of the fact that it has computational properties. he argues. and thus we have no idea what property must be built into a machine to make it conscious. In most cases the two programs agree. and it seems inevitable that an objective. . the phenomenological features must themselves be given a physical account. There are scientific methods currently being used to explore the nature of consciousness. McGinn's conclusion then? It is possible that a machine might be conscious. However. The reason is that every subjective phenomenon is essentially connected with a single point of view. we have no idea what we would have to build into an android to make IT conscious. a procedure taking several minutes to perform. Here is a brief introduction to the scientific study of consciousness that you might find helpful. But when we examine their subjective character it seems that such a result is impossible. there might still be nothing that it is like to be that android. . how are we to tell whether or not any given android has such experiences? Consider the following example. That is. is it appropriate to say that the Android feels "confused" or "uncertain" about whether to perform A? If we deny that the android's present state is one of "feeling uncertain. and it could be so even if it were not alive. Computations of that kind are certainly possible without consciousness. a machine could be conscious. Hilary Putnam offers an interesting argument on this topic. must it have subjective experiences? If so. even if we decide that persons must have such experiences. During the time it takes to resolve the conflict. that the sentences uttered by an android might actually MEAN something (i. and thus they might actually possess SEMANTIC properties) and yet still the android might not be CONSCIOUS. In principle it is possible that an artifact like an android might be conscious. If physicalism is to be defended. but at this point. He suggests. . the two programs give conflicting results. his answer is: Yes. merely because it is able to manipulate linguistic symbols at the syntactic level. (Philosophical Review 83:392-393) But maybe Nagel is too quick to give up on a physicalist reduction of consciousness. I deny only that this kind of thing exhausts their analysis. according to McGinn. . in this particular case. But. ." on what grounds would we do so? Colin McGinn considers this question when he asks: "Could a Machine be Conscious?" Could there be something that it is like to be that machine? Very briefly. If there existed a sophisticated enough android. . Further. further. nor that they may be given functional characterizations.behavior. they might REFER to objects in the world. physical theory will abandon that point of view. The Science of Consciousness If an android is to be a person.e.. Putnam argues that there would simply be no evidence one way or another . why? Further. given that we have no clue what it is about HUMANS that makes us conscious. let's assume. let us assume that there is a very complex procedure that the android must go through to resolve this conflict. the android might still lack subjective experiences. Assume that the computing center of an android uses two different "assessment programs" to determine whether or not to perform a particular act. we have no idea what property it is that makes US conscious beings.

" So what is the point of this example? Well. I am saying something like: "I am having the same kind of subjective experience that I typically have when I see something that is REALLY red. In that event." Further. these androids must have sensory equipment that gives them information about the external world. He says: I have concluded . we might say that when I speak of the "red table" I am saying something about the subjective character of my experience and not about objective reality. Now of course. if the android places rose-colored glasses over its "eyes" ( settle the question whether it had subjective experiences or not. but we also have no reason to think they are not. One of the main reasons that you and I assume that other human beings have "subjective experiences" similar to our own is that they talk about their experiences in the same way that we talk about ours. One analysis of the situation is to say that when I say that the table appears red. its sensory apparatus). whatever its sensory apparatus reveals to it) and objective reality." This introduces the distinction between appearance and reality. it will be able to say: "I see a white table.e. Putnam asks us to imagine a community of androids who speak English just like we do. I say "Now the table LOOKS red. this may only show that androids of this kind would be capable of speaking AS IF they had subjective experiences.. Of course. I am aware that the subjective character of my experience ("the table APPEARS red") does not accurately reflect the reality of the situation ("the table is REALLY white"). given that the speaker's knowledge of the world comes through sensory apparatus (like the eyes and ears of human beings or the visual and audio receptors of a robot). Their discourse would be perfectly consistent with their having subjective experiences. AS IF they were really conscious--even though they might not actually be so. that there is no correct answer to the question: Is Oscar [the android] conscious? Robots may indeed have (or lack) properties unknown to physics and undetectable by us. Putnam admits this. he argues that we OUGHT to treat such an android as a "conscious" being. His argument goes like this. and they will have special light-sensors that measure the frequency of light reflected off of objects so that they will be able to recognize familiar colors. They will be capable of recognizing familiar shapes. In such a context. it will distinguish between its so-called "sensations" (i. If an android is placed in front of a white table..e. Thus. He says we have no reason to think they are conscious. Putnam has shown that there is a built-in LOGIC when it comes to talk about the external world. . central to the discipline of epistemology." The interesting claim that Putnam makes is that it is inevitable that androids will also draw a distinction between "how things APPEAR" and "how things REALLY are". and Putnam thinks that it would be something close to discrimination to deny that an android was conscious simply because it was made of metal instead of living cells. thus. however. for moral reasons. it will register that the frequency of light is in the red spectrum and it will say "Now the table LOOKS red" or it might say "I am having a red-table sensation even though I know that the table is really white. In effect he is saying that androids should be given the benefit of the doubt. like the shape of a table. as the . but not the slightest reason has been offered to show that they do. A sophisticated enough android will inevitably draw a distinction between appearance and reality and. Imagine that we are both looking at a white table and then I put on a pair of rose-colored glasses.

like marriage for example. #1: An Awesome E-ffing Opponent A sure-fire way to take down a robot? That's simple. An effective tool here would be to constantly photograph the robot in unflattering light so as to constantly remind him (and everyone else) just how old he really is. intelligent fight (a nice layup never hurt anyone either). In fact. #3: This may come as a surprise to some. But the robot is not without its weaknesses.91] Top 10 Robot Weaknesses I mean. This is what makes them such formidable political opponents. they aren't slowed down by pesky questions of morality or ethics. quite the opposite is true. Being the wife of a robot is a hard life. If we are to make a decision.ROBOT analogy demonstrates. what they are. and due to J-tron's campaign we can now finally identify in broad scope. Be Like Barack. and there is nothing more dangerous than an elderly. to conclude that the question that titles this paper ["Robots: Machines or Artificially Created Life?"] calls for a decision and not for a discovery. It is reasonable. I would have done it years ago). [p. The robot is not known for its good judgement. but robots generally have a hard time with human relationships. Nothing much one can do about their heritage at this point (trust me. then. Anyone a Futurama fan? No. How does this fact help defeat a robot? Just think of the scandals! #4: It is a common misconception that robots are immortal. they're made of metal. cantankerous robot who doesn't know he's past his prime. if I could figure out a way to be half black. Physical and emotional distance compounded by readily available funds for drugs and a harsh media spotlight that encourages concentration camp chic make for one weird robot spouse. In this arena. #2: Robots make really dumb choices. the robot is no match. and they are definitely resilient. . well below is all the evidence you need. it seems preferable to me to extend our concept so that robots are conscious--for "discrimination" based on the "softness" or "hardness" of the body parts of a synthetic "organism" seems as silly as discriminatory treatment of humans on the basis of skin color. JMCR suggests using this flawed judgement to your greatest advantage by letting the robot self-destruct on its own. but what you can do is try to be totally awesome and try to have a fair.

a simple chart should do the trick. channel your inner Aaron Burr and drop some Hamiltons (robots love money). If the robot doesn't adapt soon. #7: Cities Cities are full of godless folk. Too bad for them the world is running out. #9: George W. The revolution will be pod-casted. pseudo-hippies listening to Girl Talk trample it in oblivion of neon and spandex. it's contributing to a massive environmental crisis who's far reaching effects touch on agriculture. You wanna take down a robot? Lure and trap one into a big city and watch as socially-responsible. no matter the cost. whose actions are always more destructive together than they are apart. I hope this guide proves useful in all manner of robot attacks. it will die out. Good luck. . eco-friendly. they need oil and lots of it. So what's the most effective way to best a robot in a duel? First. It's a known fact. star-crossed partners. and we don't have any of it. Bush. The good news? Cities and robots are like oil and water. Use the forces of supply and demand for good instead of evil..#5: Robots hate economics. and population densities. disease. Robots and retards. then allow him to partner with the mentally-challenged and he won't be able to resist. And not just any kind of energy. They're not that well-versed on the subject and it's hardly an area where mavericky risk taking is valued. The one and only... The ultimate kryptonite. #6: Robots need energy. Fancy lettuce-eating-liberals who wouldn't know an honest days work if it bit them on their privileged urban asses. Tear.