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No-Go Theorems on Machine Consciousness
  • Subhash Kak
Subhash Kak
Oklahoma State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Creating machines that are conscious is a long term objective of research in artificial intelligence. This paper look at this idea with new arguments from physics and logic.  Observers have no place in classical physics, and although they play a role in measurement in quantum physics there is no explanation for their emergence within the framework. There is suggestion that consciousness, which is implicitly a property of the observer, is a consequence of the complexity of specific brain structures, but this is problematic because one associates free will with consciousness, which goes counter to causal closure of physics. Considering a nested physical system, we argue that even if the system were assumed to have agency, observers cannot exist within it. Since complex systems can be viewed in nested hierarchies, this constitutes a proof against consciousness as a product of complexity, for then we will have nested system of conscious agents. As the existence of consciousness in cognitive agents cannot be denied, the implication is that consciousness belongs to a dimension that is not physical and machine consciousness is unattainable. These ideas are used to take a fresh look at two well-known paradoxes of quantum theory that are important in quantum information theory.