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Suppose we were able to figure out the electrical circuitry of a human brain, and then wired a robot brain in the same way.  Would the robot have consciousness?  Would it have a soul?  Or are we and the robot simply material creatures with no transcendental nature?


5 Answers


One must always wonder, if I program a computer with artificial intelligence, do I dare turn the computer off.  If I do turn if off, am I killing someone?

Virginia Korvo

Oh Korvo, I would say your answer is funny, anyway it makes me laugh with delight...

TheOtherTink Korvo

@ Korvo,

Yes, if you turn it off permanently.

But if you just turn it off to make some needed repairs, and then turn it on again, that's a lot like doing a medical procedure under anesthesia.

Virginia Korvo

omg Korvo and O'Tink, we have such important and intellectual discussions here!


Hi, O'Tink,

I think it all depends on what is meant by "figure out" the brain...because the brain, like everything else, is apparently a fractal configuration - extending into infinity. So with our present science, there would be no way to accomplish that!

There have been, of course, great yogis through history who understand the workings of creation, and for whom changing water into wine and even resurrection from the dead is simplicity itself...so what I am saying is that (I think) it matters more WHO is doing this fancy circuitry rather than how it is done...

* * *

However, to find someone to disagree with this assessment, you need go no further that the Robin Williams character in TRANSCENDENTAL MAN!


TheOtherTink Virginia

Virginia, I don't see how a finite brain, fractally configured or otherwise, can possibly extend to infinity, any more than a finite piece of paper containing a fractal diagram can.  The pattern on the paper is evident, but it can neither extend to infinity nor reach the infinitesimal; both are abstractions.

So I see no problem in principle with taking a brain with a finite number of cells and finite connections between them and constructing an electronic brain that does the same, as long as the finite 'wiring diagram' so to speak is understood.  A useful analogy might be to reproduce a fractal diagram from a piece of paper onto a TV monitor.

Virginia Virginia

Ha ha, hi O'Tink yes I kinda gave your Q my all, here...but I am guessing my answer will prove out to be accurate, someday in the future...

You prolly already aware, that is the magic of the fractal equations; you just keep plugging the result back in to the equation, and there is no limit, there is no bottom as to how deep you can go. And then trees, blood vessels, ferns, a shoreline, the human nervous system, on and on, all constructed fractally! (Is that a word?)

Well like you Stephen Hawking says NO! Unlike fractals, matter is prolly not infinitely deep (but he admits no one knows for sure); he implies that, as you go down finer and finer, Planck's constant will turn out to be the lower limit, the essential "grittiness" of the universe, of creation, so to speak; it all ends there. 

However I think the Hon. Dr. Hawking is wrong in that! (sniff)  ;)  <3 

Also, I think our consciousness evolves; you and many others here have a very fine consciousness, so just hold on for a wild & beautiful ride into the future, I suspect! (The implication is that if there is a limit, then yes we can [hypothetically at least] construct that brain wiring, if no limit then we can't, and we got to wait for our consciousness to evolve.) 

So I have placed a hypothetical bet with Dr. Stephen, and ima collect on it maybe 200 years from now! (Or a thousand years...)

TheOtherTink Virginia

Yes, Virginia, but as you can see (for example), this chambered nautilus shell extends neither to the infinite nor to the infinitisimal. (You can easily see both terminations of the pattern.)

And if you wait for the nautilus to grow infinitely large, well, that would take an infinitely long time. :(


Virginia Virginia

BUT, Sister O'Tink...you notice that the chambered nautilus accomplishes all this through a Fibonacci sequence...a fractal if I ever saw one...

In addition, in the immortal Marx Brothers and Richard Pryor and maybe even George Carlin too, as far as the delimits of the chambered nautilus, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

* * *

Seriously however, I am guessing there is nothing special about the boundaries of what we can "see;" that is, our five senses don't detect "reality" so much as they simply detect energy within certain wavelengths...mass and energy being the same thing E = mc^2 and all...thus actually everything extends unbroken back into the infinity out of which it came...

So, just because our five senses don't tell us about 'stuff' outside their spectra, doesn't mean it's not there! (Whatever 'there' means...) :D  Point being, you cannot "build a brain" unless you establish at the same time those infinite fractal-style connections back to the original oneness!

TheOtherTink Virginia

But Virginia, if we construct a robot brain with all the same connections that we observe in the human brain with our physical senses, who is to say that the robot will not then likewise tap into the infinite, if the infinite is indeed there? That was my question in the first place, would the robot have a soul, or would it still be missing the Divine spark?

Heck, if a nautilus shell can do it, why not our robot?  :)

Virginia Virginia

Ha ha, well O'Tink, maybe ima bring you in on our hypothetical bet with the Hon. Dr. Stephen...(Virginia rubbling her hands with $$$ in her eyes)...coz without a deeper wisdom/understanding of elemental forces of life, I think it would be like assembling Frankenstein's monster, it would only work in the movies not in real life!

See you BOTH in 1 or 2 centuries or millennia, to collect on my bet! :P  :ermm:  :blink:  <3

TheOtherTink Virginia

Well, Virginia, it didn't turn out too well in the movie only because Dr. Frankenstein's dumb assistant Fritz dropped the normal brain and substituted the criminal one instead. :O :D

But using a more modern approach, suppose one constructed a human DNA molecule, atom by atom, in a laboratory, and then implanted it in a zygote from which the original DNA had been removed, and then  brought it to term normally.  What then? Would this artificial creature have a soul?


Virginia Virginia

N'Kay, O'Tink, ima give you a ACTUAL ANSWER, then...

I think, if indeed this marvelous creature came to term normally, then YES it would have a soul; but that is because the scientist who constructed that DNA understood how to work comprehensively with the energies of life.

However, someone with that kind of understanding would not be sitting in a lab pasting together the atoms! He or she would do it a quicker, more natural way; again consider Frankenstein monster, science cannot put life back into someone who has died but Yeshua ben Joseph could do it in a snap...

imho... my best guess...:)  <3

TheOtherTink Virginia

But Virginia, the scientist is only putting the atoms together like a bunch of Tinkertoy pieces, a Carbon atom here, some Hydrogen there, etc., no transcendental knowledge required.

But... just as with a Tinkertoy project, the completed structure is greater than the sum of its parts.

And yes, the Eternal Word can call things into existence, living and non-living, as was revealed to Moses. "I am that I am," perhaps better understood as I am that which IS, the very essence of existence.

I think your guess is pretty good.  :) <3

Virginia Virginia

Well...Brother Wolfgang seems to have expressed it a bit more eloquently than I did...(snuffle)

TheOtherTink Virginia

And he died at age 35:'(

What else might he have composed?


It's just a matter of time. They are doing things with AI now that are unbelievable! We've seen glimpses of intelligent AI in movies and knowing our military? We're working hard on it! Very hard! 


TheOtherTink Rooster

@ Rooster:

The Force certainly seems to be with her in ways I bet Luke Skywalker never imagined:O :) :D

Virginia Rooster

Rooster, that first GIF? Reminds me of the Michael Rennie movie, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL? From 1951 or so...I fell in love with science fiction, then! Isaac Asimov and all those others...  

TheOtherTink Rooster

Virginia, "Klaatu barada nikto."  :D

Virginia Rooster

Aw Tink, (sniff) you KNOW... :woot:  :kissing:  8-)

TheOtherTink Rooster

Of course I know, VirginiaI don't watch TCM for nothing.  :D

Besides, a girl never knows when she may have to stop an out-of-control robot.  :O :blush: :) :D

Rooster Rooster

The second one is Robby the robot from Forbidden Planet! :D


Lol - as I see, there have been lots of inspirational comments, and I did not see all of the fictions referred to, such as:


A documentary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendent_Man

Further, regarding Robbie Williams, is the song "Man Machine" ?


On the other hand, I remember having seen several Frankenstein versions, namely with Boris Karloff, but that was long ago.

But regarding robots "with a soul" and the eventuality of "building consciousness", there was in particular one story, which I remember (but I forgot the title, and finding it was long):


Still, I think that "building conscious life" requires the culture of the corresponding, already existing living cells and their structuring into a harmoniously functioning organism (at least, there is some hope that this might be possible, but it might take a long time):




(which was already tested on plants and animals - but there is still a great need for "improvement")

And a new soul needs also "spiritual food", i.e. education.


Artificial intelligent can't have soul.
Have you seen the movie "Bicentennial Man".
Do plants have soul? Its like a plant that can move.
Do you know Sophia the AI robot.

TheOtherTink sophiewilson0191

Hi Sophie,

Perhaps a robot can't have a soul, if we define a soul as something necessarily transcendental, beyond materialism, but why can't it be conscious, if its brain is wired like ours?

No, I didn't see Bicentennial Man, but I did read the Wikipedia summary of its plot, and it seems to make some of the same points that I've made here. And yes, I have heard of Sophie, and it is not hard to imagine a somewhat more sophisticated robot being indistinguishable from a conscious entity. Of course, there is still the riddle of not knowing exactly what internal degree of self-awareness or consciousness such a robot would have, so maybe the consciousness question may not be answerable. Or it may turn out that consciousness is an illusion that (nevertheless) has great survival value.

And as for plants, no I don't think they have souls, but they don't have brains either, so I doubt that they are conscious either.