Summary of Consciousness Creep


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Consciousness Creep  summary
Do humans have the tools and understanding to recognize consciousness in machines? What if it’s already happened?


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Have you ever thought your electronic device might have a mind of its own? Science writer George Musser suggests that, far from being paranoid, you might be onto something. He presents the idea that machine consciousness won’t look like a human’s, so people may not recognize it when it happens. In fact, it may already have happened. He adeptly describes the technology behind two options for measuring consciousness and explains the pros and cons of each. Musser goes on to outline the problem of detecting “zombies” – that is, “dumb” machines that are good at looking like they are conscious and adaptive. getAbstract recommends this stimulating read to technophobes and technophiles alike.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why humans need to be able to detect consciousness in machines,
  • What tools are currently available for testing consciousness and
  • What types of limitations these tools have.


Most people assume that if consciousness occurs in a human invention, it will announce itself. A more sinister possibility is that some machines are already self-aware, but no one thinks to test for it, or even knows how. Machine consciousness may not look like human consciousness. In particular, it...
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About the Author

George Musser is an author and a contributing editor for Scientific American.

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