On Consciousness

How might artificial intelligence achieve consciousness?

It has been said: “Machines will become conscious when they start to set their own goals and act according to these goals rather than do what they were programmed to do”. Setting its own goal instead of following a program would be seen as a bug, a flaw. Perhaps in order for a machine to be conscious it must be flawed. Evolution happens because of flaws in DNA. Mathematics requires Gödel.

In order to be conscious, intelligence must be flawed; without flaws it is just a program. Without flaws in nucleic acids, no life more complex than a virus could ever have evolved. Gödel’s theorem states that any self-consistent system of mathematics must be finite. Without the flaw of original sin, we would be God’s robots. Without random errors there could be no life – the Universe would be a lifeless, deterministic machine. Attempts to create a society which is flawless always fail because such a society can never renew itself.


A Return to Empiricism

Chapter 16 of The Fluid Catastrophe by John Reid