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How is human consciousness different from the "thoughts" of machines or non-human animals?

9 COMMENTS

  1. The question of what is consciousness is one of the big issues of philosophy, and there are several answers. None of which convinces me.
    What philosophy can do is to distinguish a human consciousness from other objects. Philosophy cannot describe a mind as others can describe a machine. Yet. I will say that many people are working on such description.
    Philosophy does say the consciousness of animals is weaker than human consciousness. It cannot go further.

  2. Hi,
    A machine or computer will analise a situation, compute the reaction that is required and then act accordingly.
    A human will analise a situation, calculate the response needed, then search for alternatives, then question the results and only after doing all of that may decide not to carry out the action after all.
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  3. I exclude machines altogether because machines do not possess brains. Whatever a machine acts out is a mindless process. Thoughts/Cognition are not involved in anyway shape or form. A computer is simply an extension of the human brain. So the question is what is difference between an animals brain and a humans brain? Well the similarity is both behave instinctively. We like animals are hard wired with instincts. The fight or flight mechanism in our central nervous system is evidence of this. Humans and Animal brains both require nourishment, sleep, and procreate to further the process of life. The question remains What is the difference? Consciousness would be the difference. The following equation illustrates what it takes to be a conscious being.
    Cognition + Awareness of (Cog)= Consciousness
    Human beings our AWARE of the brains cognitive process. Hence, we are conscious beings thoughts come from conciousness. Animals are not conscious beings because they are not aware of their brains cognition. Animals behavior can exclusively be attributed to instincts. A humans brain can deviate from their instincts while an animal cannot. I.E. We can deny food when we are hungry, water when where thristy, and sleep when we are tired.
    Animal brains cannot do this. Why? Because of thoughts. Animals brains our not concious hence there is no thought. A human brain can deviate from its instincts because we are conciously thinking.
    There is no difference between an animals thoughts and a humans, because animals dont have thoughts. Only concious beings (humans) possess this unique characterisitic.

  4. It isn’t different in kind, it is different in degree. Human consciousness is the whole system of our physical brains and the electro-chemical processes that take place within them. Computers one day (probably in the next 20-30 years) will be as “conscious” (and soon-after even more-so) as human beings are. Animals possess a limited consciousness, but it is no where near as sophisticated as that which we experience. Keep always in mind that humans are animals, just ones which have crossed an important cognitive threshold after which our mental abilities exploded.
    Some present differences between humans and other animals and machines as relates to cognition are: speed, parallelism, innate “hard-wired” modules, complex real-time perception, and the appearance of “will”. Our brains are pre-wired by evolution for many things, from emotions to learning, morality to altruistic tendencies, on and on. This is what we refer to as our “human nature”.
    However, the most important difference is that human brains think they have “consciousness” in the first place! What most people define as consciousness does not actually exist at all, it is an illusion. This illusion is created by an internal perception (proprioception) of our own mental processes. This creates the recursive feedback loop that makes up the appearance of consciousness. Similarly to how a picture within a picture fades to infinity, this is how it feels to be conscious, the infinity of perception of perception itself.
    That is what other animals and our current computers do not have, that is what sets us apart, that is what gives our “consciousness” its separateness. Perception of perception forming an infinite feedback loop within each of our squishy head melons.

  5. Humans are different because they have extra feelings that are used to try and rationally explain their natural feelings. It is probably because we are an extremely adaptable species, so much so that we have the ability to adapt the environment to suit ourselves, and even try to consciously criticise our own natural feelings (introspection).
    Personally, I think we have quite a large spectrum of feelings compared with other animals, and any feeling that an animal can feel, we definitely could feel as well. As for a machine, it would definitely have the basic feelings and conscious awareness that we would be able to comprehend if it were (or they are) sufficiently advanced.

  6. The consciousness within human beings and nonhuman animals is exactly the same. The consciousness within human beings is more pure than consciousness within animals. The consciousness within human beings and animals can also be termed as our soul atman within. It is the existence of soul atman within our heart that is termed as consciousness within the body.
    In the absence of consciousness… the body of human beings and animals is just inert matter! A body becomes conscious only when a soul atman manifests it. And why would a soul atman manifests a body? In the cosmic crux of life… it is our soul atman within that manifests a body and not vice versa. Every soul atman manifests a series of life forms to work out its karma.
    The consciousness within human beings and animals is indestructible in nature. When arrives the time for death of the body… this cosmic consciousness leaves the body to manifest another life form. As long as consciousness remains within the body… one lives! Devoid of consciousness… the body is just a mass of flesh!
    Diving deep into the domain of Cosmos… this cosmic consciousness initially manifests the form of an amoeba (single cell formation)… the first manifestation in the cosmic life cycle! It subsequently evolves into multi-cell formation, then insect life, plant life, animal life and finally the form of a human being. The cosmic consciousness pervades every living body.
    Finally in the form of a human being only this cosmic consciousness liberates forever from the cycle of birth and death. The moment a human being gains enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation (moksha)… the cosmic consciousness regains its pure pristine original form and leaves for the abode of God… the kingdom of God (aka Baikuntha in Hinduism).
    The cosmic consciousness in human beings reaches its highest level of purity. In the form of human beings if the percentage of impurity in the cosmic consciousness is 10%… then in animal form it is above 30%. All dross within having removed… the cosmic consciousness finally regains its cosmic lustre. It practically becomes hundred percent pure before leaving for kingdom of God. More on Spiritual Consciousness – http://www.vijaykumar.com/spiritual_consciousness.html

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