Nonconscious Cognitive Suffering: Considering Suffering Risks of Embodied Artificial Intelligence

Steven Umbrello, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Strong arguments have been formulated that the computational limits of disembodied artificial intelligence (AI) will, sooner or later, be a problem that needs to be addressed. Similarly, convincing cases for how embodied forms of AI can exceed these limits makes for worthwhile research avenues. This paper discusses how embodied cognition brings with it other forms of information integration and decision-making consequences that typically involve discussions of machine cognition and similarly, machine consciousness. N. Katherine Hayles’s novel conception of nonconscious cognition in her analysis of the human cognition-consciousness connection is discussed in relation to how nonconscious cognition can be envisioned and exacerbated in embodied AI. Similarly, this paper offers a way of understanding the concept of suffering in a way that is different than the conventional sense of attributing it to either a purely physical state or a conscious state, instead of grounding at least a type of suffering in this form of cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Applied ethics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Embodiment
  • Nonconscious cognition
  • S-risks

Cite this