Do You Mind? User Perceptions of Machine Consciousness
Paper in proceeding, 2023

The prospect of machine consciousness cultivates controversy across media, academia, and industry. Assessing whether non-experts perceive technologies as conscious, and exploring the consequences of this perception, are yet unaddressed challenges in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). To address them, we surveyed 100 people, exploring their conceptualisations of consciousness and if and how they perceive consciousness in currently available interactive technologies. We show that many people already perceive a degree of consciousness in GPT-3, a voice chat bot, and a robot vacuum cleaner. Within participant responses we identified dynamic tensions between denial and speculation, thinking and feeling, interaction and experience, control and independence, and rigidity and spontaneity. These tensions can inform future research into perceptions of machine consciousness and the challenges it represents for HCI. With both empirical and theoretical contributions, this paper emphasises the importance of HCI in an era of machine consciousness, real, perceived or denied.


Technology Consciousness

Machine Consciousness


Ava Elizabeth Scott

University College London (UCL)

Daniel Neumann

University of St Gallen

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Jasmin Niess

University of Oslo

University of St Gallen

Paweł W. Woźniak

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Interaction Design and Software Engineering

Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

9781450394215 (ISBN)

2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2023
Hamburg, Germany,

PAPACUI: Proficiency Awareness in Physical ACtivity User Interfaces

Swedish Research Council (VR) (2022-03196), 2023-01-01 -- 2026-12-31.

Subject Categories


Computer Science



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