Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis seeks to answer the following question: “could a machine be capable of consciousness?” I begin to tackle this question by providing a presumed definition of consciousness, employing Bernard Baars’ Global Workspace Theory. Next, I look to various discussions of machine intelligence and whether or not this would be sufficient for categorizing a machine as conscious. And lastly, I explore the notion that the human brain may be a sort of computational system itself and the implications this notion has for the potential that non-human systems may achieve consciousness.
Through these sections, I ultimately conclude that a machine could potentially mimic the cognitive systems of the human brain that produce consciousness (at least insofar as these systems and consciousness itself are defined by Global Workspace Theory). And therefore, a machine could indeed be capable of consciousness.
Cornwell, Emma, "“Alexa, Are You Conscious?”: Exploring the Possibility of Machine Consciousness" (2019). Scripps Senior Theses. 1375.