Ethics of Consciousness
So we’re at the point in science and technology where we’re able to grow human brains. In an Austrian laboratory, a team of scientists grew three-dimensional models of embryonic human brains. These “cerebral organoids” are made from stem cells which, over a few weeks, arranged themselves into pea-sized balls of white tissue which recapitulate some of the complex features of a growing brain, including distinct layers and regions.
They have likened the development stage akin to ~9weeks gestation of a human fetus and theoretically these brains won’t develop the spark of consciousness but nonetheless we’re on the verge of the possibility. [http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37262/title/Lab-Grown-Model-Brains/]
This begs the question, what are the ethics of consciousness? If a brain became conscious would it warrant human rights? Would it still be expendable tissue mass?
Not for this thread but still interesting to think about, to what degree would a soul and a consciousness be interlinked? Can one exist without the other?
@francina, Great post! Great topic! Serious substance here for a banquet of discussion!
I don’t believe there are ethics of consciousness. Consciousness manifested as humans created this “artificial” brain/mind. So as with everything, Consciousness itself created this. If we are consciousness, and we created this, then there is no conflict with consciousness.
There are obviously a great many questions and ethics to be considered in the realm of humanity though. There is great potential for great impact on all existence here. The ethical questions are what are we humans going to do with this. (History is not in our favour).
Rights are an illusionary construct. They don’t exist. Rights aren’t rights if they can be taken away. At best we have, privileges. An artificial brain has all the privileges an artificial brain has. Humans are not artificial brains in laboratories. So the two groups are totally seperate as are their perceived “rights”.
“Souls” I believe are just self-aware sections of consciousness. They exist to manifest into something that can in turn become aware of consciousness itself.
This is my first response to this post. Open to further discussion. And interested in other perspectives!
@zencowboy, i typed out a whole reply then realized i sounded ridiculous so i’m going to wait until tomorrow morning before actually replying hahaha.
Shower-time is the best time for thinking. It’s simply a law of the universe.
If someone else has a shower before i make it to my aforementioned shower feel free to jump in and reply to any of the above speculation!
The only way to develop artificial consciousness would (most likely) be the development of a pineal gland (the third eye) of which is where consciousness is thought to be. The pineal gland is actually not part of the brain because it forms from the mouth before birth and is also separated from the rest of the brain by the blood-brain barrier. Just the development of that would me hard enough, but they would also have to get the pineal gland to produce endogenous DMT which is said to “power the soul”.
@francina, If you do believe in a soul then you wouldn’t believe its possible to artificially create one. But if you don’t it would be EXTREMELY difficult to artificially create consciousness.
In my opinion we shouldn’t be trying to artificially create a (human) consciousness until we know what consciousness is (if that day ever comes)
Many people that have taken Iboga state that their “guide” has shown them that there are three human “forms”
1. The Animal- Wants sex, food, and sleep as well as any other physical need.
2. Our Minds- Logic, language, and account for many types of learned knowledge or thought.
3. Our Souls- The pure essence of us! (Creativity, Love, and many other unexplained things)
Through my research on DMT, Iboga, and the Pineal gland I have learned many things about human consciousness. Although most of which are unproven researchers are beginning to discover the “soul” because of such drugs.
@francina, I highly suggest researching these things if you havent yet, i’m sure they will interest you!
ॐ P.L.U.R. to all , Alex Rook
Ha! Okay. Though our first response to anything is often our intuition. Whereas our mind uses emotions to second guess and doubt our initial response. That being said I’ve a sense this isn’t the case here. Still, if you have your initial response. I’d be interested to read it.
I completely agree with you about shower time too. A “law of the Universe” it is. I find my intuition really opens up and some of the most profound epiphanies strike me in those moments. I look forward to your post-shower response.
@francina, Link is broken. Anyway… Descartes would be proud.
Living humans have been experimented on throughout history, so I guess a lab brain is a more humane way of doing it. Without all those prisoners treated like hamsters, we wouldn’t have the knowledge to reach this level.
@liammcfeely, my thoughts exactly! I read this really good book when i was a kid called Unwind by Neal Shusterman about the ethics of organ transplants/abortion issues in the USA. In the book they had a war over the issue, pro-life vs pro-choice activists who, in turn, signed a Bill Of Life which decreed that abortion is illegal, up until the ages of 13-18 where you could retroactively abort your child if the kid didn’t live up to your expectations… the kids to be ‘unwound’ were then harvested for organ donation and every single part of them (99.7% actually, taking into account useless organs like the appendix) had to be used in other people. It touched on topics such as the soul and morality of these issues and is definitely worth a read when you next have a day free.
That book is probably half the reason i’m thinking about this now haha.
@motorik, I totally agree. Being able to watch the development of this is undoubtedly a more humane and ethical way to learn more about the way our minds work. The potential for this is enormous, and paves the way for further lab-grown humanoids but i’m still pretty interested in what would happen if we even accidentally created the spark for life.
@francina, So I read a different article on it. Supposedly it will develop like a human brain, but will not be exactly built like the ones we have. That would be pretty cool to see what kind of consciousness it perceives, if ever it happens. On a similar note, they’re doing the same thing in Europe, but on a super computer.