Over at Wired, Emily Reynolds explores the mysteries and ethics of consciousness. Will we ever be able to quantify it?
What about an iPhone? And how much consciousness can we meaningfully ascribe to someone in a coma?
Animals ranging from parrots to elephants continue to challenge our perception of consciousness, long-held as a uniquely human trait. But the reaches of consciousness don’t stop at animals. As artificial intelligence gets smarter, we are faced with moral dilemmas of how machines could one day not just think but also feel.
The ethics of consciousness, not just in humans but also animals and machines, is complex. To try and make sense of it, research is currently underway to develop a method for objectively measuring consciousness — a formula that could explain how aware any living, or artificial, being is.