Eli5 What are sentiments/emotions and why can’t a robot have them?

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Eli5 What are sentiments/emotions and why can’t a robot have them?

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Sentiments/emotions are a byproduct of the patterns of signals running around our brains. We don’t fully understand how brains work so we don’t know how to build a brain with digital circuits, which is what all robots use right now, so (as far as we can tell) they can’t experience sentiments/emotions.

We’re *really* sure that neurons (what our brain has) don’t work like switches (what computers have), we’re not sure if we can get the switches to “fake it” well enough to make a computer conscious or feel emotions. This is an area of active research in artificial intelligence.

I don’t know that robots “can’t have” emotions, it depends on what you define an emotion as for example. You could code a neural network that teaches an AI that pictures of flowers should make it “happy” and pictures of people crying make it “sad”, and extrapolate this to be more general and have more options. The result is you would eventually have a model that you can pass any image and the robot could output an emotional response based on past experience that was trained to the model. The person coding the model has to tell the robot what emotions it can choose from though (happy, sad, mad, etc).

So, I don’t know much about robots, but there is some evidence that consciousness is something separate from the brain. There are things we currently can’t explain with science by viewing the entirety of our being as just neurons firing in our brains. For example:

* Near-death experiences, where the person sees themselves come out of their body, and later can report what was happening in the room while they were technically “dead,” things they logically should have no way of knowing
* “Rallying” phenomenon where someone who is dying suddenly regains abilities they had lost, just before they pass away (specifically, thinking about dementia patients whose brain has lost much of its functioning)
* Past-life memories – there are stories of children recalling past lives where details were able to be confirmed, things they’d have no way of knowing as a child far separated from the time and place of the past life they remembered
* Some rare cases of people functioning normally without normal brain matter (ex: a person who had only a brain stem, but normal intelligence)

Source/further explanation: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPGZSC8odIU](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPGZSC8odIU)

If it’s true then, that the brain might not be what creates consciousness, then creating a robotic “brain” (in essence) likely would not either, unless consciousness was added to it in whatever way our consciousness is connected to our human bodies.

Edited to comply with rule 5.

Because programs take an input, then they do what they are programmed to and spit out an output.

Feeling require some subjective thinking that are poorly understood.

Even modern AI will only do what you tell it to do, more or less.