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(Co-sponsored by Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Computer Science)
The Self as Software:
Transcending and Enhancing the Brain
Dr. Susan Schneider
Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science
University of Connecticut
Monday, April 18th, 4:30 pm Driscol 134
Cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind often say that “the mind is the software of the brain” and relatedly, that “the mind is the program the brain runs.” But is the mind really a program? The task of this presentation is to dismantle the software model of the mind and a related view that says that we can survive brain uploading and other forms of radical brain enhancement because our “informational pattern” or “software” survives. (I also respond to popular articles on my view in Big Think, Wired, and Humanity+, all of which offer a software conception.) Computationalism needs a richer conception of the mind. I sketch an alternative to the software conception, and illustrate how it is compatible with computationalism. Along the way, I introduce “the problem of AI consciousness” and explain how the solution to the AI consciousness problem impacts the debate about whether the mind is software, and whether “superintelligent” machines or other kinds of sophisticated AIs can, in principle, be persons, deserving of rights.