When Does a Consciousness Test Not Test for Consciousness?
A pigeon looks at its reflection in the mirror. It sees a blue dot on the reflection’s breast. It reaches down and pecks at the dot on its own breast. This is the classic behavior required for passing the “mirror test,” an influential experiment used to test for self-awareness in animals. Chimpanzees became the first […]
How Star Trek May Show the Emergence of Human Consciousness
The Borg capture Captain Jean-Luc Picard and turn him into Locutus, all but erasing his previous identity.CBS Captain Picard: “How do we reason with them, let them know that we are not a threat?” Guinan: “You don’t. At least, I’ve never known anyone who did.” With this brief, ominous exchange, the heroes of Star […]
A Moment When Animals Started to Seem More Like People
Any self-respecting pet owner will confidently claim that their dog or cat (or rabbit, or gerbil) seems sentient, exhibiting a distinct temperament and emotional responses. I know my many beloved pets over the years could feel pain, and fear, as well as love and trust. But are our pets truly conscious creatures? Or are we […]