Yoram Yovell – Return of the Zombie

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 by Stefan Kohlhauser

Yoram Yovell

Yoram Yovell

In order to design technical systems that are based on a top-down analysis of human mental functioning, a working model of the mind is needed. Neurobiological and philosophical formulations of the mind often equate it with consciousness. As Pratl and Brainin (2007) have noted, the prospects of building a truly conscious machine appear remote at this time. However, neuropsychoanalysis does not view consciousness as synonymous with the mind, but rather as a property of one part of it. Consciousness is not a unitary phenomenon, and it may occur on several levels. Furthermore, there are situations in which high-level, complex, and distinctly human cognitive and emotional processing of information may occur without conscious awareness. It might therefore be possible to design technical systems that emulate important aspects of the mind without being conscious.

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