September 7, 2018
(Aeon) – What sorts of responsibilities would we owe to these simulated humans? However else we might feel about violent computer games, no one seriously thinks it’s homicide when you blast a virtual assailant to oblivion. Yet it’s no longer absurd to imagine that simulated people might one day exist, and be possessed of some measure of autonomy and consciousness. Many philosophers believe that minds like ours don’t have to be hosted by webs of neurons in our brains, but could exist in many different sorts of material systems. If they’re right, there’s no obvious reason why sufficiently powerful computers couldn’t hold consciousness in their circuits.