The advent of conversational agents with increasingly human-like behaviour throws old philosophical questions into new light. Does it, or could it, ever make sense to speak of AI agents built out of generative language models in terms of consciousness, given that they are “mere” simulacra of human behaviour, and that what they do can be seen as “merely” role play? Drawing on the later writings of Wittgenstein, this paper attempts to tackle this question while avoiding the pitfalls of dualistic thinking.

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