Could a computer have a mind?

##Could a computer have a mind?

But when ? In this decade ? In next century ? Or computers already might have a mind but we humans have failed to realize it ? As we are only trying to answer about the possibility of computer owing a mind without any time bound, I definitely think that computer will have a mind. To provide proofs for my argument about computer having a mind, first we need to get a clear picture of what computer and mind are.

A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Since a sequence of operations can be readily changed, the computer can solve more than one kind of problem. Its easy to define computer, its associated functions and its limitation. However, to define mind and to understand it is some how tricky. A mind is the set of cognitive faculties that enables consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory—a characteristic of humans, but which also may apply to other life forms. All the components making up a mind like consciousness, perception, thoughts and memory is still under active research. All philosophers, neuroscientist, biologist and boffins have their own definition for those mind components. Moreover, they have their own view regarding inter-connective actions between components to form a functional mind but they all agree on the building blocks of mind. In contract, a computer composes of a CPU, input and output device. We can count the components which make a computer functional. In addition, all people agree on a single definition of computer.

Computer as a single term can mean a single computer entity (Mobile, PC, Notebook etc ) or collection of computer entity (Super Computer , Servers, Internet, IoT etc). Only specifying computer can confuse the readers. So, we assume computer to be a single entity like a laptop or a desktop PC for this essay. It would be difficult to provide intuitive explanation about a machine owing a mind if we all have different view on what a mind is. So, in order to make this essay more coherent, I will describe each component of mind and explain the possibility of computers having that component.


Cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” It encompasses processes such as knowledge, attention, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language, etc. Human cognition is conscious and unconscious, concrete or abstract, as well as intuitive (like knowledge of a language) and conceptual (like a model of a language). Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and generate new knowledge. Based on the above definition of cognition, we can say that a computer can cognition too. At the moment, computers are able to acquire knowledge and understand the surrounding. Lets take an example of Google’s Driverless cars. Those cars are fitted with a computer which understands the surrounding, use previous experience to drive safely, stores visual and sensory information as memory, judge and evaluate its speed, compute time to travel from a source to destination and many more. Recently, AlphaGo a computer was able to beat a grandmaster of go game. This historical victory suggest that a computer can possess most of the functionalities of human cognition. Thus, computer could have a mind some day.


Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind. The above definition of consciousness is vague and difficult to visualize. In simple terms, consciousness is to know about own self and the activities going through itself. So, definitely a computer can know about itself and its underlying processes. A computer can be aware of an external object, can recognize objects plugged into them and have executive control of the computational unit. Thus, computers can attain a smaller part of consciousness in near future.


Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. Based on this definition, computer are already ahead than humans in representing and understanding environment through sensory inputs. Now, computer can classify dogs, cats and other objects in a photo better than any human. Also using computer, human have achieved higher accuracy in analyzing sensory information. Thus, computer will leave humans far behind in this race of perception.

We will be discussing about the roles of other components in next essay. At last, I think Computer will have a mind in near future.

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