I recently watched the film Ex Machina, which explores questions surrounding the nature of consciousness. I will comment briefly on some of the philosophical issues it raises, but I won’t describe the entire plot. Nonetheless, if you’re worried about “spoilers”, now’s the time to stop reading, and I hope you’ll come back here after you see the film.
The premise of the film is that there is a robot (Ava), and its creator (Nathan) wants to know whether it is conscious or not, but doesn’t know how to test this proposition. He invites a young programmer (Caleb) who is somewhat knowledgeable about such questions to participate in an experiment. It isn’t, we are told, the classic Turing Test, Continue reading “Can a computer be conscious?”