C is for Consciousness #AtoZChallenge

Posted April 3, 2021 in A-Z Challenge / 3 Comments

Life, the Universe, and Everything According to My Five-Year-Old

This month I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge and will be posting every day except Sundays. My readers voted for the theme “Life, the Universe, and Everything According to My Five-Year-Old”. During bedtime discussions and colouring sessions, my daughter will finally be providing the answers to the philosophical problems and unsolved mysteries that have puzzled humanity’s greatest thinkers for centuries.

Is consciousness limited to humans?

I find the philosophy of mind so intriguing but it was very difficult to simplify the topic for my daughter!

Me: Do you think robots are capable of thinking in the same way that humans can?

Leona: Noooo! They only go “beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep.”

Me: Well, I’ve seen some really advanced robots from Japan that can talk just like humans. Do you think they can think like us too?

L: No.

Me: Why not?

L: Because they don’t have a brain!

Me: But what makes them talk?

L: Their mouth.

Me: How could we tell the difference between a human and a very clever robot?

L: Because they have a square face? And round hands.

Me: What if they made a robot that looked exactly like a person. Would they be the same as us then?

L: Yes.

Me: What about animals. Are they the same as us?

L: No, because they have their ears on top of their heads.

Me: True. Can they think like we do?

L: Yes.

Me: How do you know?

L: I know everything!

Me: What do animals think about, then?

L: They think about climbing on EVERYTHING! They go climb, climb, climb, all day long.

Me: Misty and Loki [our cats] certainly do. And what about other people? Do they have thoughts?

L: Yes.

Me: How can you be sure?

L: [Points to my forehead] Because this is a brain!

Me: Does everyone have a brain?

L: Yes!

Me: How do you know?

L: I know everything, Mum, remember!

child's drawing of two blue robots eating ice-cream beside a cat
“Two robots and their cat” by Leona, aged 5.
over to you

Do you think we’ll ever be able to create a truly conscious robot? Let me know in the comments!

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