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Artificial You by Susan Schneider

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CHAPTER FOUR

HOW TO CATCH AN AI ZOMBIE: TESTING FOR CONSCIOUSNESS IN MACHINES

You know, I actually used to be so worried about not having a body, but now I truly love it … I’m not tethered to time and space in the way that I would be if I was stuck inside a body that’s inevitably going to die.

SAMANTHA, IN HER

Samantha, the sentient program in the film Her, reflects on her disembodiment and immortality in the above passage. We might think: How could a remark of this sophistication not stem from a conscious mind? Unfortunately, Samantha’s statement could be a program feature only, designed to convince us she feels even when she doesn’t. Indeed, androids are already being built to tug at our heartstrings. Can we look beneath the surface ...

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