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Attribution of Mind: A psychologist's contribution to the consciousness debate

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Could computers ever be conscious? Will they ever have ideas that one could attribute to them and not to the programmer? Will robots be able to 'feel pain', instead of processing bits from sensors informing about danger? Will they have true emotions? These questions may never be answered, but it makes sense to ask whether humans will ever attribute mind to artifacts. This paper suggests introducing a third level of claims regarding artificial intelligence (AI), which is in between 'weak AI' and 'strong AI', the so-called 'attributed AI'. This level requires more than weak AI ('behave as if', which could be said of any desktop calculator), but is less presumptuous than strong AI ('computers that think', a claim that is hard to prove). Attributed AI can be measured. This paper discusses behavioral paradigms for measurements of attributed AI and presents first experimental data.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut fur Psychologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universit├Ąt zu Kiel, Olshausenstr. 62, 24098 Kiel, Germany.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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