By Charles Tart
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Extra resources for Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential
Although we don't want to attribute real consciousness to our crane/ sorter, let's pretend that its computer brain is conscious for the sake of discussion. " At ordinary levels of discussion, the answer to what is its consciousness is straightforward: it is the pattern of electrical impulses operating in a particular set of circuits, its computer brain. The specific functioning of the computer brain at any instant is a matter of where electrical impulses are, what circuits they are activating, at that instant.
If we ever wanted to change our product line to something in smaller boxes, they would be able to get turned along the belt, reintroducing our problem. If we wanted to make a product that needed larger boxes, they wouldn't fit on the belt. For these cases we would have to rebuild our conveyor belt, which might be a costly process. The two directions we can take for solving the problem of turned boxes represent two general directions that people have followed in trying to increase efficiency and reduce errors.
RIGIDITY VERSUS INTELLIGENCE There is a second way of dealing with the problem of turned boxes that does not require increasing the mechanical intelligence of our crane. W e could design the belt so it was exactly the width of the boxes, with a raised track along the side. Then boxes would have to stay squarely aligned on the belt, or they wouldn't be carried along it to the crane. We pay a price for this kind of solution, though. If we ever wanted to change our product line to something in smaller boxes, they would be able to get turned along the belt, reintroducing our problem.