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In May 2001, the Swartz Foundation sponsored a workshop called 'Can a machine be conscious?' at the Banbury Center in Long Island (http://www. Around twenty psychologists, computer scientists, philosophers, physicists, neuroscientists, engineers, and industrialists spent three days in a mixture of short presentations and long and lively discussions. At the end, Christof Koch, the chair, asked for a show of hands to indicate who would now answer 'Yes' to the question forming the workshop theme. To everyone's astonishment, all hands but one were raised. We had not asked the question at the beginning, and so we did not know if any minds had changed during the workshop, but I think we all realized the significance of this near- unanimous vote: the idea of machine consciousness had progressed from being an interesting philosophical diversion to a real possibility.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Computer Science, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, CO4 3SQ, U.K.., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2003


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