Volume 19, Issue 1, 2021

Artificial Consciousness, Superintelligence and Ethics in Robotics: How To Get There?
Louis Vervoort, School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen, Russian Federation,
Alexey Melnikov, Valiev Institute of Physics and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation,
Munesh Chauhan, School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen, Russian Federation,
Vitaly Nikolaev, School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen, Russian Federation

Can future robots and artificial-intelligence (AI) systems have consciousness and genuinely human intelligence -- or even superhuman intelligence? Is it possible for them to behave ethically? Here we look at these questions from the point of view of philosophy and AI, and argue that these questions are related: their answer hinges on the fulfillment of the same condition. Starting from an analysis of the concept of consciousness, we argue that the key capacity that computers and robots should possess in order to emulate human cognition and (ethical) consciousness is the capacity to learn and apply "coherent webs-of-theories". We conjecture that where classic AI has been, in essence, "data-driven", the greatest leap forward would be "theory-driven" AI. We review prominent work in deep learning and cognitive neuroscience to back up this claim. This paper is an attempt at synthesis between recent work in philosophy, AI and cognitive science.

A Pragmatic Approach to Incompatible Descriptions
Jane McDonnell, Department of Philosophy, Monash University, Australia

If two descriptions are incompatible one might respond "they can't both be right'' or "they must be describing different things''. I argue that, in many interesting cases, incompatible descriptions do not lead to contradictions and the things they describe are perfectly capable of coexisting in the one world. They are different descriptions which have an equal claim to truth, even though they cannot be brought together under one overarching framework. Putnam suggested this pragmatic approach as a way of understanding the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, as he later conceded, his specific formulation contained inconsistencies. This paper focuses on two contemporary interpretations of quantum mechanics -- Consistent Histories and QBism -- which carry on the pragmatic approach in important ways, without the inconsistencies. The shared elements are pragmatism, perspectivalism, a focus on rational reasoning for quantum mechanical systems, and the notion of information. However, neither Consistent Histories nor QBism achieves the equipoise between the subjective and the objective which Putnam sought in his work. I suggest a middle way, using the framework of a monadology to achieve equipoise.

Panpsychism and the First-Person Perspective: The Case for Panpsychist Idealism
Brentyn Ramm, School of Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia

In this paper I argue for a version of panpsychist idealism on first-person experiential grounds. As things always appear in my field of consciousness, there is prima facie } empirical support for idealism. Furthermore, by assuming that all things correspond to a conscious perspective or perspectives (i.e., panpsychism), realism about the world is safeguarded without the need to appeal to God (as per Berkeley's idealism). Panpsychist idealism also has a phenomenological advantage over traditional panpsychist views as it does not commit perceptual experience to massive error by denying that perceived colors are properties of things. Finally, I argue that the subject combination problem for panpsychism has been motivated by the problematic assumption that consciousness is in things. Thinking about subject combination from the first-person perspective is fruitful for reframing the subject combination problem and for seeing how subjects could potentially combine for the idealist.

Last revision: 30 June 2021