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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Humans 2.2: The Consciousness Code

Humans 2.2 begins with talk of a "consciousness code" - a good description of what Niska has digitally sent out to the world, a code like a virus, that operates in an inexact, unpredictable way, triggering consciousness in just a relatively small number of androids - as far as we know - and maybe not at the same time.  This also is a good description of the unpredictable power of the overall series.

Episode 2.2 can be seen as various riffs on this consciousness code.  Athena is trying to transplant her AI desktop creation into an android body.  She doesn't say this, but she's probably read Merleau-Ponty and his notion of a "metaphysics of flesh" - that you can't have true human sentience in just a nonliving machine, what's needed is a brain in an physical, living, moving body.  Merleau-Ponty was talking about how human intelligence evolved and exists, but the same presumably would apply to artificial brains or AI - they require bodies.   So Athena's on the right track, but her attempt tonight fails.

Mattie's working on this, too, in a different way.  She has a copy of Niska's code, and she wants to create a human sentient android out of a stock model, by uploading the code in its/his brain.  She looks like she's well on the way.

As in season 1, we also are getting a good display of other androids, almost sentient, or sentient in different ways from our main characters.  The shrink introduced last week is back again, and is as well versed in accents as in therapy.  This android psychologist - a psychologist who is an android, not a human psychologist attempting to understand an android -  is actually a good joking commentary on Rogerian therapy, which, as Joseph Weizenbaum demonstrated decades ago, can be easily mimicked by even a primitive AI program.  It's also a riff, come to think of it, on that old joke - "I went to see a child psychologist, and that kid was useless!"

And the android who was a detective - DI Voss - is back again this year.   She seems as sentient as Niska, Mia, Sam, and the rest - but there's something a little different about her consciousness code too, and it will be fun and provocative to see how it plays out.

And I'll be back here with more musings on all of this next week.

See also Humans 2.1: Westworld meets Nashville

And see also Humans: In Ascending Order ... Humans 1.7: "I Think You're Dead, George"

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