Imagine that a computer generating a small universe similar to our own. Same table of elements, same physics, ect. Starting from the very beginning, with the creation of all the atoms in the universe. I know that through random chance the atoms would then create molecules, and bio-molecules, and so on. Eventually the small universe would contain self-replicating RNA molecules through entirely random chance. Then all that neat chemistry and physics happens in between to eventually lead to the creation of a replicating cell through random chance. This leads to the creation of a multi-cellular organism, and then more advanced organisms from there and so on. After however much time the computer goes through we could eventually reach something similar to the mammals we have today including humans. My question is, are these humans self-aware?

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    $\begingroup$ We can't even tell whether we live in such a universe! $\endgroup$ – domotorp Oct 24 '16 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a philosophy question and would fit better at a site dedicated to to philosophy than here. Research in computer science doesn't try to answer such questions... $\endgroup$ – usul Oct 24 '16 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ The question of whether Machines Can Think... is about as relevant as the question of whether Submarines Can Swim -- E. W. Dijkstra $\endgroup$ – chi Oct 25 '16 at 12:39

Self-awareness is probably not particularly difficult.

All organisms model their environment somehow; without these models (including food sources, predators, etc.) they don't survive. Some models are more detailed than others. Self-awareness just means having a model of your environment that is so detailed that it includes yourself.

Lots of people want to mystify this, for reasons that escape me.


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