sciousness is a process requiring both memory and the selective plac- ing of attention. But for decades after, psychology was dominated by the objective study of behavior—that is, measuring responses to stimuli—rather than the examination of inner states, and insights like James’s were not translated into programs of scientific research. Now, however,with new techniques to simulate the brain, and examine it as it thinks, we might be able to understand consciousness on a scientific basis.
The makers of artificial beings are typically neither cognitive sci- entists nor philosophers, but aspects of the old mind–body query ap- pear in what they do. One issue of immediate practical importance is the actual link between mind and body. Not that the linkage is always necessary: A body alone, or a brain alone, is enough for some pur- poses. The designers of programmed animatronic entertainment ro- bots need only bodies that can be fully controlled without any built-in intelligence; researchers in AI would be delighted to produce a brain that shows a high level of intelligence without bodily attachments. But a fully functional artificial creature needs both brain and body, connected so that the brain controls the body and the body informs the brain, and bionic humans need linkages between their brains and artificial limbs or other devices.
THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS
Connecting the mental to the physical adds a layer of complexity.The engineering of such connections is the first mind–body problem for artificial beings, and in a way, the least troubling—not that the solu- tions are easy, but at least there can be agreement about the need to design appropriate interfaces between artificial brain and artificial body, or between a human brain and a mechatronic system (as defined earlier, a device that combines mechanical and electronic elements) such as a prosthetic limb.The human–mechatronic interfaces are the more difficult and involve medical considerations as well,but although there are practical and ethical issues, they do not seem to represent deep philosophical divides.