The Emergence of Self-Conscious Systems: From Symbolic AI to Embodied Robotics

Klaus Mainzer

Since hundred millions of years, the natural evolution on Earth has developed nervous systems with increasing complexity. They work according to algorithms of neurochemistry and equip organisms with self-adapting, self-controlling, and self-conscious features. But the laws of evolution could also admit completely different forms of life on different material basis - and perhaps they have emerged elsewhere in the universe. Therefore, humans and animals are only special cases of intelligent systems which have emerged on Earth under more or less random conditions. They are neither goals nor in the center of evolution. Traditional AI had tried to imitate the human mind by symbolic programming with only modest success. In a technical evolution of embodied robotics, artificial forms of life and self-conscious systems could emerge with new self-organizing features. But, like in natural evolution, self-organization does not automatically lead to desired results. Therefore, controlled emergence is a challenge of future technology. A new moral responsibility is demanded in order to handle human-robotic interaction which is evolving in a technical co-evolution.

Subjects: 17. Robotics

Submitted: Jun 1, 2006

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