If it is possible to simulate consciousness using computer hardware and software, does that mean that computers are able to experience qualia?
closed as too broad by Conifold, virmaior, Swami Vishwananda, user19563, commando Nov 14 '16 at 18:12
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That conscience is a phenomenon, and not a concept (or even a construct, a fiction of sorts), is already a philosophical position. A host of thinkers have distanced themselves from it. I'm actually having trouble remembering one that doesn't, at least partially (help me in the comments if you do).
Another thing entirely is to talk about having experiences. Here, the key difference to be made is if you take computers to be artificial, just because their hardware was assembled, not "grown". That is why many people are uncomfortable with the "artificial" in Artificial Intelligence.
The thing is, you don't have to "solve" the nature vs. artifice problem to assume that experience is possible in non-conventional settings. In fact, what you may be forced to do, when thinking about these things, is to leave the problem open.
No, computers are not able to experience qualia as long as computers are only syntactical machines. Syntax is inadequate to achieve semantic content and a first person subjective ontological status. See Searle's Chinese Room. Also, see Feynman's Computer Heuristics lecture. Lastly, see Searle's argument that in addition to syntax being inadequate for semantics, that physics are inadequate for syntax: "Is the Brain a Digital Computer?"
Could we "simulate", "emulate" or model consciousness? Of course, but a simulation of a stomach won't digest a pizza.