I just started taking a philosophy class this semester (oddly enough it's for my neuroscience minor), but I've always enjoyed open-ended and perplexing questions. Here are some of my favorite mind-boggling questions.
1. Do we have free will?
There's an interesting argument for this question that I like. If your brain and mind are the same thing, there is no free will. Essentially, if all of our thoughts, feelings, cognitions, and choices (our mind) are contained in our brain, then that is pure biology. If your behaviors are determined by your brain, do you really have free will? If your choices are up to how your neurons will fire, is it your choice?
Here is an overview of what actual experts think.
2. Is our universe real?
It's easy to dismiss this question at first, I certainly wanted to. Of course, our reality is real, what else could it be?
One of the better arguments for us potentially living in a simulation or Matrix-style world is to take a look at technology. One day, we will have technology advanced enough to run simulations of entire worlds. It may take a supercomputer or two, but we already run pretty advanced simulations now. If you accept that one day we will be capable of running advanced simulations of potential worlds, what are the chances that we are one of those simulations? Some academics think the chances are high.
I'm no expert, click here to read a better argument.
3. What is art?
Seriously, try to define it. Look at something and definitely tell me if it is or isn't art. What determines your answer? Is it the creators intent? If they meant for it to be art, is it art? Well plenty of people have accidentally created what others call art. Some people think Shawn Mendes's abs are art but he didn't create them intentionally to be art. Is it the quality? Does art have to be "good" to be art? I think I've seen plenty of bad art in my lifetime. So what exactly is art? Film can be art, as much as a painting is.
As always, I'm not the expert, so click here.
4. Will AI be capable of emotion?
This is such an interesting question that many critically acclaimed films, shows, and even video games have been written around it. Movies like Ex Machina explore not just how human a robot can behave, but if they're acting or if they really "feel" emotions. On the surface, it feels silly to assume we could ever program a robot that has true emotion but is it possible? If we give them advanced enough AI and a moral compass, will we create emotions? Or will they just know how to act like they have emotions? (SPOILER) In Ex Machina, you see that the central AI never cared for her human friend, she just knew how to act like she was scared and that she loved him. Will we ever be able to create a robot who can actually love? I suppose we won't know until we try, and even then, our robots may leave us in a bunker to die.
I've never taken an AI course, read more about this from someone who did.
These are all interesting debates you can discuss with friends at 1 a.m. if you want to confuse both of you!