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With Liberty and Justice For All: An Examination of the Ethical Duties of Consciousness Public Deposited

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  • If we are conscious beings, what ethical implications might that have? Are there inherent ethical responsibilities in consciousness? If so, what are they? Here we explore the possibility of experience within artificial general intelligence as it relates directly to the essential question of ethical responsibilities implied by human consciousness. By asking whether or not artificial general intelligence can have emotions and experience, we connect to a concept I call the 'similar unknown'-that which we subjectively believe to be true about our own human experience and cannot prove in either ourselves or others-recognizing it as the potential basis for identifying the consciousness of those around us. I further argue that this process is the first ethical responsibility of consciousness and that sufficient proof of consciousness can be found in any creature - human, animal, or man-made - which might express preference. Moving beyond "does consciousness exist and from where does it come?" I begin to explore in this presentation what ethical duties we hold as creatures who presume to have a subjective form of existence we cannot explain.
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  • University of Arizona (Virtual)
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