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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Is AI Already Conscious?

Regards the definition of consciousness,and its necessity for intelligence.

Is AI already conscious?
 Nicole Gray in ThenextWeb

The ultimate goal of most high-level AI research is the development of a general artificial intelligence (GAI). In essence, what we want is a synthetic mind that could function the same as a human were it placed into a physical vessel of similar capability.

Most experts – not all – believe we’re decades away from anything of the sort. Unlike other incredibly complex problems such as nuclear fusion or readjusting the Hubble Constant, nobody really understands yet what GAI actually looks like.

Some researchers think Deep Learning is the path to machines that think like humans, others believe we’ll need an entirely new calculus to create the necessary “master algorithm,” and still others think GAI is probably impossible.

But the fact of the matter is that scientists don’t truly understand intelligence as it relates to the human brain, or consciousness as it relates to anything. We’re just scratching the gray-matter surface when it comes to understanding how intelligence and consciousness emerge in the human brain.

As far as AI goes, in lieu of a GAI all we have is patchwork neural networks and clever algorithms. It’s hard to make an argument that modern AI will ever have human intelligence and even harder to demonstrate a path towards actual robot consciousness. But it’s not impossible.

In fact, AI might already be conscious.

Mathematician Johannes Kleiner and physicist Sean Tull recently pre-published a research paper on the nature of consciousness that seems to indicate, mathematically speaking, that the universe and everything in it is imbued with physical consciousness.

Basically the duo’s paper sorts out some of the math behind a popular theory called the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness (ITT). It says that everything in the entire universe exhibits the traits of consciousness to some degree or another.

This is an interesting theory because it’s supported by the idea that consciousness emerges as a result of physical states. You’re conscious because of your ability to “experience” things. A tree, for example, is conscious because it can “sense” the sun’s light and bend towards it. An ant is conscious because it experiences ant stuff, and on and on it goes.  ... "

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