Consciousness is the elephant in the room, and most techno-futurists do not see it. NYU Philosopher David Chalmers famously described the “hard problem” of consciousness: “Why does it feel like something inside? Why is all our brain processing — vast neural circuits and computational mechanisms — accompanied by conscious experience? Why do we have this amazing inner movie going on in our minds? I don’t think the hard problem of consciousness can be solved purely in terms of neuroscience…The one mistake we must avoid,” Searle cautioned, “is supposing that if you simulate it, you duplicate it. A deep mistake embedded in our popular culture is that simulation is equivalent to duplication. But of course it isn’t. A perfect simulation of the brain — say, on a computer — would be no more conscious than a perfect simulation of a rainstorm would make us all wet
Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer and host of “Closer to Truth,” a public television series and online resource that features the world's leading thinkers exploring humanity's deepest questions. Kuhn is co-editor with John Leslie, of “The Mystery of Existence: Why Is There Anything at All?” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). This article is based on “Closer to Truth” interviews produced and directed by Peter Getzels and streamed at www.closertotruth.com. Kuhn contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
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