It is widely accepted that a rock is not conscious. The same can be said for a tree, single cell amoebae, or a cell phone. Many people believe these claims, but there is really no way to prove any of them. The question of whether or not something can be considered conscious has been present throughout the history of Epistemology and Philosophy. As technology has advanced through the years, the issue of consciousness has started to be applied to computers. If a computer was developed that showed signs of intelligent life, what is to say that such a computer is not conscious? And if this computer is not conscious, is it possible that a computer could be developed that would be considered conscious? .
The reason for the persistent appearance of the question of consciousness is because there is no way to prove that something is conscious. This is what is known as the problem with other minds. In regards to the consciousness of other objects, or people, any statement you make is little more than an assumption made from your own subjective experiences. In truth, all knowledge regarding reality and the things within it is unverifiable because the only thing you have only ever experienced is what your personal mind has told you. Upon realizing this truth, the only way to begin discussing the issue of consciousness is by identifying what criteria constitutes something as a conscious being. .
The very first identifiable requirement of consciousness is having some type of cognitive structure. In humans and animals, this structure is the brain. The next requirement is the exhibiting of nonverbal and non-vocal behavior. This refers to the complex way in which animals and people react to their surroundings, and any changes or events that occur there within. The third criterion for consciousness is the use of language and the ability to communicate. The fourth and final listed criterion of consciousness is the ability to learn, be creative, and problem solve.