One of my summer indulgences has been watching a sci-fi television series called Humans. It is set in the not so distant future in which people have human looking robotic servants called Synths. I might be open to having a robot that takes care of household chores. There are already those round Roombas that scurry about picking up dust bunnies from under your bed. So how far off can it be that we will simply text instructions to our labor saving robots that do all those menial tasks we really would rather avoid? Perhaps I’m thinking back fondly to all those episodes of the Jetsons in which Rosie the Robot kept George and Jane’s home running smoothly in spite of the misadventures they found themselves in.
There’s just one problem.
In the TV program, some of the Synths have developed conscious awareness due to the clever programming of their inventor. Having a sentient robot of course can freak people out. And at the same time we are all fascinated by the possibility of machines becoming self-aware. And yes right now in various corners of the world, computer geeks are indeed working on creating artificial intelligence. Apparently they have already generated a Super Mario that has become aware of himself and his environment, at least to a certain extent.
In the sci-fi world or the real one, the pursuit of an intelligent machine is indeed fascinating. But perhaps we should be more fascinated by developing our own conscious awareness.
It’s safe to say that most, if not all, of our problems come from a lack of awareness. We live crazy busy lives and one of the ways we cope with the overwhelming pace and commitments is to go on auto-pilot.
When we do that, choices become unconscious. We revert to what is most comfortable or habitual. We react to situations rather than responding. Our emotions get the better of us. As a result our actions don’t always line up with what is most important to us. And then we repeat the process all over again.
Conscious awareness, or wakefulness, allows us to be purposeful in our actions. It allows us to have greater clarity about who we are and the world around us. It allows us to make conscious and intentional choices rather than knee-jerk reactions to whatever is happening.
Imagine not thinking, “I can’t believe I just said (or did) that.”
Imagine not being impulsive or at the mercy of your thoughts and emotions.
So what does it take to create conscious awareness?
You have to pause.
You have to slow down long enough and often enough to be able to bring your awareness to the present moment. You have to create space for reflection so you become better acquainted with your motivation and intentions.
You have to pay attention.
You have to take the time to observe what is happening within you and around you. You have to notice the cause and effect of your choices and actions. You have to build your mind-body connection so that the chattering in your head isn’t always running the show.
You have to practice.
That’s the most important part. I’m guessing when machines become self-aware, they will stay that way. We humans have to continually re-awaken ourselves. But if we are pausing and paying attention, we will catch our selves sliding into auto-pilot more easily, and bring ourselves back to a state of wakefulness more quickly.
It’s a little ironic that while science is trying to create a more human like machine, humans on auto-pilot are a lot like robots. The good news is you already have the ability to be self-aware. All you have to do is pause and pay attention and practice. And practice some more.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, share, like, tweet and/or pin this article.