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DIGITAL PEOPLE

calls primary consciousness, the lower-level, nonlinguistic awareness of its immediate world through sensory information. The chunk of lamprey brain that operates the robotic body is even less of an indi- vidual being; nevertheless, in responding to sensory input and react- ing by moving its artificial body, it shows primary awareness.

Now remove any living element and consider a completely artifi- cial being. Does it possess consciousness? For the three smart robots we have examined,ASIMO, QRIO, and Kismet, there is no evidence for subjective experience, which is essential for higher consciousness and is implied in Gardners intrapersonal intelligence. But although the digital creatures are unaware of a self, they show low-level con- sciousness like that manifested by the lamprey cyborg.Through their senses, they know the world and respond to it.

They also have something else, internal body awareness through kinesthetic intelligence. As Hans Moravec points out, that kind of knowledge could easily be enhanced by designing a unit that regis- ters, for instance, the power level of its own batteries and the operat- ing temperature of its motors. Physical self-knowledge combined with knowledge of the world does not constitute consciousness of self, but if the unit uses information about its internal states to plan its actions, then it is displaying a salient characteristic of higher consciousnessnamely, projection into the futurerather than responding only to the present moment. This state of consciousness is a more elevated one than that evinced by the lamprey cyborg.

There is another way that self-knowledge begins to touch on higher consciousness in artificial beings.According to theories of emo- tion, an event that elicits emotion triggers activity in the autonomic nervous systemthe involuntary part of our nerve network that con- trols the glands, the heart, and moreto physiologically prepare the body to adapt to the stimulus. A person might experience nervous- ness by sensing the physiological reaction of butterflies in the stom- ach,along with a sense of fear.This might seem irrelevant to a robot like Kismet,which lacks any physiology. However,as Cynthia Breazeal points out, Kismets complex programming includes something roughly equivalenta quantity that specifies its level of arousal,

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