The Question of Algorithmic Personhood and Being (Or: On the Tenuous Nature of Human Status and Humanity Tests in Virtual Spaces—Why All Souls are ‘Necessarily’ Equal When Considered as Energy)

MDPI: J 3 (4):452-475 (2021)
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What separates the unique nature of human consciousness and that of an entity that can only perceive the world via strict logic-based structures? Rather than assume that there is some potential way in which logic-only existence is non-feasible, our species would be better served by assuming that such sentient existence is feasible. Under this assumption, artificial intelligence systems (AIS), which are creations that run solely upon logic to process data, even with self-learning architectures, should therefore not face the opposition they have to gaining some legal duties and protections insofar as they are sophisticated enough to display consciousness akin to humans. Should our species enable AIS to gain a digital body to inhabit (if we have not already done so), it is more pressing than ever that solid arguments be made as to how humanity can accept AIS as being cognizant of the same degree as we ourselves claim to be. By accepting the notion that AIS can and will be able to fool our senses into believing in their claim to possessing a will or ego, we may yet have a chance to address them as equals before some unforgivable travesty occurs betwixt ourselves and these super-computing beings.

Author's Profile

Tyler Jaynes
University of Utah


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