Week 3 – Does Language Imply Conscious Thought?

Before I begin working on my paper, I would like to discuss my initial feelings on language implying consciousness. This will be brief compared to my paper, nor will it be as heavy in content or arguments compared to the paper. This also isn’t going to directly parallel my paper.


What am I meaning right now when I say conscious thought? The short answer is free will. Humans can choose our actions freely. A machine’s actions are predetermined based on how it is programmed. Even in a neural network with the ability to learn and evolve its thought processes, somewhere within it’s silicon “brain” it has a path that leads to its decision. It doesn’t have the ability to choose for itself.

Now let’s assume we have an AI system “smart” enough to create it’s own sentences that are both grammatically correct and hold understandable¬†semantic meaning to humans or even other AI systems. Does this prove the machine has intelligence? Simply the correct usage of language isn’t enough proof. Even the most primitive systems can be programmed to look for keywords, match it with “knowledge” in its memory, and stick the knowledge into a grammatically ordered sentence. If language usage can prove the existence of consciousness, it would depend on the content of the language outputted. That is what I would like to examine in my paper. I want to analyze what semantics could hold pure mechanical meaning to the system and what semantics would not be able to be explained away as a technological charade.

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