Let's Make Robots!

Could an artificial lifeform have a soul? A philosophical / logical debate

To begin with, I am not trying to start a religous war here but after reading merser's comment I decided that maybe it's time for a good philosophical debate. Really this debate has 3 parts.

  1. Do souls exist?
  2. If a soul exist, what is it?
  3. Could an artifical lifeform have a soul?

I'm not a religous person so I don't believe in a soul in the traditional sense. If a soul does exist then it would somehow be created by our sentience so how does self awareness persist after the death of the body?

All matter is energy so it would seem that we are a complex energy pattern which, last I knew was theorised to exist in at least 11 dimensions.

Perhaps self awareness allows the energy pattern to adapt when the body dies rather than dissipating. If this were true then I think an artificial life form could just as easily have a soul.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

That's a big 3 part question. And you wrote this on January 1st...right bto the beginning of the new year which not be expected according to the apocalyse hype of last year.

Anyway, I will give you my opinion.

1. Yes a soul exists!

2. That's only to guess but I think it's an energy pattern of any kind which sticks together to keep the stored information intact.

3. No, I thinks a sould can only be with a living thing and not a machine. (Some people say we are also machines but this is not the same how robots are built)

Conclusion: I do not believe in A god but in something behind all these wonders (universe, big bang, bacteria, me, you, trees and worms). I also believe that the soul (or whatever it calls itself) has a huge impact in our universe as we know it. 

Example: 9/11 a guy made a observation. He had a project running with random number generators around the world. At this day in this particular time all these number generators spit out total different numbers than the pattern before. He explained it with the combined mind energy of all the people seeing those terrible pictures which travelled around the world. 

I do not know if this story is true but i would believe it. My way of living is also based on this words:

Mind your thoughts because they become words. Mind your words because they become actions. Mind your actions because they become your character!

Conclusion 2: The soul is an energy which drives and affects the matter!!!



I usually steer clear of these debates, but I'm bored so here we go: 

I'm a religious guy in that I don’t think our existence can be coincidental. Also, regardless of whether he was the son of God or not, I consider Jesus to be the greatest moral leader to have ever lived so I consider my self a Christian. What have I got to lose by following his teachings?

Either way, I think an interesting thought would be to consider at what point a cyborg type “thing” would be considered to have a soul or not. We currently can see people controlling robotic arms with their brains, it will only be a matter of time before we see a full two armed two legged robot controlled by a paraplegic with only a head and torso. What if his organs are also artificial and his brain is the only natural thing left? Is he the same being he was when he was born, or something else? The movie Source Code comes to mind. We could take the thought even farther and do away with the natural brain. What if we could offload some or all of our consciousness to a computer (I’m sure Google has something in the works J)?

I personally don’t think a soul can be created by man, but I’m open to the thought that one day something artificial like a computer can have a soul imparted to it.  

Although I'm not religious I do agree with the 10 commandments which boil down to "don't hurt others!" If only all humans were 10 law safe" in the way Issac Assimov's robots were "3 law safe". If machines do ever become sentient should we give them true "free will" and trust them or should we shackle them mentally with an equivalent of the 3 laws?

being an atheist doesn't mean you don't follow those ten laws :P well, they are not just religious laws, they are universal moral laws.

well only 5 of those "laws" have anything to do with morals and one of those condones slavery.

No such thing as a universal, moral law. Morality is part of society and varies from one culture to another. I often read in the new of people being killed because of things like blasphemy. The killers think they have a universal, moral right, even obligation to kill. To me the killers crime is far more horrendous and vile than anything their victim might have done (no trial for the victim).

So who decides what is right and what is wrong? If there is a nuclear war tomorrow, everyone that presses a button that launces a warhead will do it because they think they are doing the right thing.

I admit, morality issues is not something I want to discuss on LMR because it can cause some nasty fights. Lets just stick with "Robots should not kill people" although I'm sure there are some army officers that will argue against that.

I don't belive in a traditional religious "soul"...besides...i am kinda an atheist, but what i believe is a soul is just consciousness...and that consciousness is just a "stored" energy that adapts when it gains experiences, kinda like chaos, a little thing that bumps creats bigger changes, or maybe as a mass, we can store energy as more mass, and release it as energy or consciousness so to speak. I've heard of many scientific possibilities about consciousness and "soul" as the same thing...like an "out of the body experience" which is accepted and still in research in the medical community, it probably is just subconscious that is awake, or when people are in "near death experience", specially when they are considered as brain-dead but after for a while, they lived to tell what they had experienced, like hearing the doctors confirming that he/she is dead per se.

...."energy is not created nor destroyed".....well, we have energy...we are full of energy, if we die...it won't just be gone like a snap.

oh, and also (as i've herd soem religious things here, specially Hinduism{vishu}) I've heard in some scientific bases and still are baffling in some medical science, about a boy in india who remembered his pass self...yes, reincarnation, (well i don't believe in reincarnation becuse i have a great logical answer to that which i can't explain because i can't seem to release it from my mind{ya, i am seriosu}), but there were soem logical answers to the reincarnation which can support "soul=consciousness=energy"...it states that what if the person dies....since his/her energy can't be destroyed, transfers to another body(mass), thus, making the energy/consciousness/soul, be "reincarnated" to another body

consciousness for a machine is a far way from our current time, it is still impossible at this time....... robots with souls are impossible for our time as well....but until someone can make the first impossibility possible...how more can you create the other one possible?

a Logical conclusion:

The human mind, consciousness, reasoning, etc. are some of the ultimate puzzles in the scientific community...no one can seem to know what they really are, how they really function...what are the components for them to really work....if we do know how they work, then we should had made real conscious robots for now...the soul is also a baffling thing, also unanswered, and also one of the greatest puzzles in religious community until now...well, they are all puzzling, unanswered....because they are the same, consciousness, soul, energy etc. well...sometimes religious things are also answered by science....i.e some miracles, faith healers; placebo effect...etc. what  if the religious "soul" is just the medical "consciousness" and is the scientific "energy"...just written in different terms....still the same. of course we have consciousness, everything came from energy...it is our soul.

As I said above, the facts that the holy books state may be true but the conclusions they derrive are wrong. The fact that the child you mention (I know about it because it was a hit in the News Media particularly one channel India TV (nothing to do with govt and one of the worst channels for news. Guys there are running such stuff day in day out)) had some memory of his past (seriously, I can't think that to be true. Geniuses are made and not born.) can be considered fact. But the conclusion that it was reincarnation is false. See, the human mind is to blame here because what occurs occurs and can be considered fact but the conclusions we draw are truely the biggest mistakes we can make.

To support this, take a very simple example- In our childhood, we are taught that Sun Rises in the east which is a conclusion based on human observation of a compass and early morning rising of the sun but it is a fact that the sun neither rises nor sets anywhere. There our observation is true and based on our earthly location, it may be a fact but our conclusion is wrong.

As to the conclusion you draw, it is a possible explanation but no one can give you a yes or no whether its right or wrong.

Many a times humans (including scientists and observers in general) are thrown into believing something to be true because a set of conditions make it true.

that's why i don't believe in reincarnation...plus the reason in my mind that i can't release :P

Soul to me is like CODE or PROGRAM. It just Simple(robot) vs Complex(human).

But I am more curious about "Memory Card" part. How you store and process huge amount of patterns of thought, emotions etc...