Consciousness essay

WilliamLycan tackles the question of machines and computers being consciousor have the same thinking capacity as human. The argument arises fromthe fact that these computers are in some way intelligent. Computerscarry out their functions in a way that is related to human beings,for instance, they register, store, manage and use the information togive out the desired results to the user. However, these machineshave limited abilities to gather information they are also notself-driven, and they do not have well-defined goals and objectives.Furthermore, machines do not have an internal sense of correctness,proportion or relevance. These factors make many scholars concludethat computers are not conscious in any way (Lycan 123-130).

Inan illustration using the Turing test, a person is put in a room, anda machine is put in another room. Both a person and a machine areexpected to respond using a teletype on the comments that are beingmade by a human judge who is speaking from the third room for a givenperiod. The machine will pass the test just in case the judge will beunable to differentiate the answers from the devices and the otherperson. This test gives the contemporary perspective on what it isfor something to be intelligent.

WilliamLycan based on three questions to support his arguments of acomputer’s similarity to human beings. The questions werequestions on whether computers could carry out particular tasks thata person can perform. The second issue was that in a case where acomputer can accomplish similar tasks that a human can perform, canthey (computers) do these missions in a similar way like peopleinvolved in the process? In a case of the first question, we must bepatient enough to see if computers can perform given tasks. In thesecond question, there is an examination of human cognitivepsychology then using the same to compare it to the computers’function. The third argument is whether computers’ abilities toperform advanced human-like tasks just the same way as humans wouldperform them shows that computers can think, can be creative, and areconscious or they have a free will (Lycan 123-130).

ColinMcGinn argues that while discovering the relationship between thebrain and consciousness is an important step, it cannot givesufficient explanation of the phenomenological aspects of consciousexperience. He states that knowledge does not insert itself properlyinto the ordinary world. is the hidden structure thatinaccessible systematically from either the first person point ofview or introspection and the third person perspective. In a casewhere science has to give details on consciousness, it would have tocome up with an intermediate level from where it can describe thehidden structure. So far science itself cannot achieve this step.McGinn carefully gives a detailed explanation of various propertiesthat scientific concepts must have if at all they are to give out astatement of consciousness. In some cases, Mcginn ignores to takenote of the limitations of the guessing capacity leaving some peopleto think that the blind sight might be able to recognize anewspaper’s headline or a friend held in a blind area (McGinn,1-12)..

ColinMcGinn’s general viewpoint is that there is a possibility for someproblems that can exceed human being’s cognitive competence.Furthermore, other specifics arise from his explanations. Forinstance, that an individual’s troubles over space andconsciousness result from some deep-seated features of how onepresents space to him or herself. Human beings are cognitivelyspeaking as well as physically spatial beings par excellence. Hestates that without the spatial resource an individual cannot be ableto frame the conception of multiple occurrences of a single property.Therefore, it means that every notion of a proposition presumes theidea of a spatial separation. He concludes by saying that it isimportant to note the possibility that what we as human beings tendto think completely transparent should have an impact on ourcapabilities of comprehension (McGinn, 1-12).

Fromthe arguments of the two scholars, I think in future computers mightbe able to reason like human beings. Cognitive computing hasattracted a lot of researchers who are experts in artificialintelligence. Machines will have an ability to learn from the bigdata that they process at a given unit of time. Such machines willhave brain-like models that process the data. Some advanced computingindustries are already experimenting on cognitive computing by comingup with neural synaptic chips. Further analysis is being done onhuman consciousness to make a machine have feelings like sorrow,empathy, and joy. From the Corelets technology, researchers can beable to build software that has the capabilities of predicting theweather conditions they can also create lenses that can enable theblind person to have reasonable visual and even more sophisticatedvoice recognition systems.


Colin,McGinn. &quot and Space.&quot (2004). Print.

Lycan,William. &quotMachine .&quot The Canon and Its Critics(2000): 97-102. Print.