A Case for AI Consciousness: Language Agents and Global Workspace Theory

Abstract

It is generally assumed that existing artificial systems are not phenomenally conscious, and that the construction of phenomenally conscious artificial systems would require significant technological progress if it is possible at all. We challenge this assumption by arguing that if Global Workspace Theory (GWT) — a leading scientific theory of phenomenal consciousness — is correct, then instances of one widely implemented AI architecture, the artificial language agent, might easily be made phenomenally conscious if they are not already. Along the way, we articulate an explicit methodology for thinking about how to apply scientific theories of consciousness to artificial systems and employ this methodology to arrive at a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for phenomenal consciousness according to GWT.

Author Profiles

Simon Goldstein
University of Hong Kong
Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini
Rutgers University - Newark

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2024-07-06

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