Fancy coding generates consciousness.

It is interesting watching Westworld and Humans contemporaneously. Both programmes have had to grapple with how consciousness might arise in AI. In both cases, the answer lay in clever coding by a shadowy computer science genius. But the difference between the two programmes lies in how emotions are portrayed. In Humans, there is a sharp dividing line between conscious “synths” and their unconscious peers. The latter are clearly robotic. The inference is therefore that, in Humans, consciousness ushers in emotions too. In Westworld, however, the “hosts” are all properly lifelike. Even the unconscious majority display virtually no difference in emotional expression and behaviour from conscious “hosts” or the conscious human guests.

Now, we all know that emotions have been coded into all the Westworld ‘hosts’. We presume that the direction of causation flows from their coding to both their behaviour and also to their emotional display. On this analysis, emotions precede consciousness in Westworld. They do not constitute part of consciousness. It may not be highbrow, but it’s all food for thought at the price of a screen in your living room.

Link to Westworld:

Link to Humans:

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