Plant Consciousness Commentary: Minds of Machines, the Great AI Consciousness Conundrum

Minds of Machines: The great AI consciousness conundrum

There are so many things to say about this article in the MIT Technology Review. What started off as commentary around how much easier it is for scientists to discuss the possibility of designing AI consciousness, than to finally recognize that all their same definitions already define the consciousness of plants, evolved into more.

One of the many concepts that express just how frustrating this conversation can be:

“Fail to identify a conscious AI, and you might unintentionally subjugate, or even torture, a being whose interests ought to matter.” <– you mean the way we subjugate and torture plants today in nurseries, farms, and gardens around the world?

But what happens when we don’t even have the vocabulary to understand what consciousness would mean in another species? At least these philosophers and scientists are considering this possibility, which is very different than the neurobiologists we’ve reviewed in the past.

If there is one thing that I hope everyone takes away from this article, it is that, “You need to know why structures contribute to consciousness, in a way that’s rigorous and general enough to be applicable to any system, human or otherwise.” This means that we can’t just say, “the brain does XX, and since plants don’t have brains, they can’t be conscious.” We need to understand the underpinnings of consciousness first from an experience perspective.

There is so much more to say, go watch now, you won’t regret it!

Topics Covered about Consciousness in AI and in plants

  • Not recognizing consciousness could lead to suffering
  • Locked-in syndrome and anesthesia in plants
  • Why do specific biological structures create conscious action
  • Could Conscious AI be the evolution of humanity?

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Episodes related to AI Consciousness and Plant Consciousness

View the paper here

Huckins, Grace. (October 16,2023). Minds of machines: The great AI consciousness conundrum. MIT Technology Review. Accessed October 27, 2023.

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