This is the context:

Question: Does that mean these robots are conscious?

Kahneman: I don’t know if they are or not; how would we know? It’s a judgment that we make about another person. I know my own subjectivity; I believe you’re conscious. But my belief about your consciousness, I think, could be simulated by my belief in a robot’s consciousness. And where that goes, I have no idea.

source: The enigma of human consciousness.New York Academy of Sciences.

Can anyone explain the bold part? I can't understand it.

  • You can remove the "I think"... What is the problem that you are having. I suspect that there is no problem with the English, only with the complex ideas being discussed.
    – James K
    Dec 10, 2019 at 22:06
  • @JamesK No. I am okay with the "I think" part and I am kind of familiar with these issues but the problem is I am not a native speaker and this sentence is difficult for me to understand semantically, if I'm using the right word. What does this sentence is saying? like what is the meaning of "simulated" in this context? can you rephrase it in a simpler way? thanks in advance. Dec 10, 2019 at 22:24
  • 1
    You see I know all those words, but I have no idea what the person is trying to say. That is because I don't understand the topic. The difficulty here is not a matter of grammar, its just a hard subject
    – James K
    Dec 11, 2019 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


As I understand it, Kahneman is pointing out that we have no direct contact with anyone else's consciousness.

Instead, we form a belief about another individual's consciousness based on that person's behaviour - his/her actions and reactions, statements and responses.

In the age of artificial intelligence, we could form a similar belief about the level of consciousness of an advanced robot. Numerous science fiction novels and movies have explored this possibility and the complexities that arise from human-robot relationships. T

The Turing Test and variations of it pose this kind of challenge to individuals who are trying to determine whether they are relating to a smart computer or another person on the far side of a keyboard. They have to form a belief about the humanity or otherwise of the correspondent.


  • Thank you very much for your response. but as I said above. my problem is not with the concepts but is about the meaning of that sentence. like my belief about your consciousness could be what? if you rephrase this I would appreciate it. Dec 10, 2019 at 22:49
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    @Daruissoli Paraphrased: What I believe about your consciousness I could similarly believe about a robot's consciousness Dec 10, 2019 at 23:53

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