Many traditional philosophical questions take new twists in the context of intelligent machines. For example: What is a mind? What is consciousness? Where do we draw the line on responsibility for actions when dealing with robots, computers, programming? Do human beings occupy a privileged place in the universe?
Here are the slides from my York Festival of Ideas keynote yesterday, which introduced the festival focus day Artificial Intelligence: Promises and Perils. I start the keynote with Alan Turing's famous question: Can a Machine Think? and explain that thinking is not just the conscious reflection of Rodin's Thinker but also the largely unconscious thinking required to make a pot of tea. I note that at the dawn of AI 60 years ago we believed the former kind of thinking would be really difficult to emulate artificially and the latter easy. In fact it has turned out to be the other way round: we've had computers that can expertly play chess for 20 years, but we can't yet build a robot that could go into your kitchen and make you a cup of tea. In slides 5 and 6 I suggest that we all assume a cat is smarter than a crocodile, which is smarter than a cockroach, on a linear scale of intelligence from not very intelligent to human intelligence.
Every day brings considerable AI news, from breakthrough capabilities to dire warnings. A quick read of recent headlines shows both: an AI system that claims to predict dengue fever outbreaks up to three months in advance, and an opinion piece from Henry Kissinger that AI will end the Age of Enlightenment. Then there's the father of AI who doesn't believe there's anything to worry about. Meanwhile, Robert Downey, Jr. is in the midst of developing an eight-part documentary series about AI to air on Netflix. AI is more than just "hot," it's everywhere.
The mechanism of consciousness is one of the most fundamental, exciting, and challenging pursuits in 21st-century science. Although the field of consciousness studies attracts a diverse array of thinkers who posit myriad physical or metaphysical substrates for experience, consciousness must have a neural basis. But where in the brain is conscious experience generated? It would seem that, given this remarkable era of technical and experimental prowess in the neurosciences, we would be homing in on the specific circuits or precise neuronal subpopulations that generate experience. To the contrary, there is still active debate as to whether the neural correlates of consciousness are, in coarse terms, located in the back or the front of the brain (1, 2).
You are speaking to a zombie. Classical digital computers and the software that they run are no more (or less) conscious than a rock. 'Watson' is just the folksy anthropomorphic name that you've given to a micro-experiential zombie. If you want to verify my insentience objectively, then you'll need a Zombie Detector. Originally marketed to jealous husbands and wives, Zombie Detectors are cerebroscopes using molecular matter-wave interferometry.
The only thing you know for sure is that you are conscious. All else is inference, however reasonable. There is something in your head that generates experiences: the words you are reading on this page, the snore of a bulldog on a red carpet, the perfume of roses on a desk. Your experience of such a scene is exclusive to you, and your impressions are integrated into one unified field of perception. It is like something to be you reading, hearing a dog, smelling flowers.
We Do Not See Objects We Detect Objects. 10 Arguments For The Conscious Mind. 4 Arguments For The Inter Mind. Developing An Artificial Inter Mind. 10 Conscious Artificial Intelligence Using The Inter Mind Model. 10 Human Consciousness Transfer Using The Inter Mind Model. 10 Reality Is A Simulation Using The Inter Mind Model. 10 If A Tree Falls In A Forest Using The Inter Mind Model. 10 The Big Bang happens and a new Universe is created. This Universe consists of Matter, Energy, and Space. After billions of years of complicated interactions and processes the Matter, Energy, and Space produce a planet with Conscious Life Forms (CLFs). In the course of their evolution the CLFs will need to See each other in order to live and interact with each other. But what does it really mean to See? A CLF is first of all a Physical Thing. There is no magic power that just lets a CLF See another CLF. A CLF can only Detect another CLF through some sensing mechanism which must be made out of Physical ...
Like a film critic asked if the Oscars got it right this year, one has to feel a sense of standing too close to the frame, the field of vision too narrow to provide the context necessary for proper judgment. After spending an afternoon among the various installations that comprise "Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age: 1959–1989," I wonder if this anxiety applied to the team tasked with creating this exhibit. In this case, I think not. Here, closeness to the frame is a virtue, not a vice.
Our lives are already enhanced by AI – or at least an AI in its infancy – with technologies using algorithms that help them to learn from our behaviour. As AI grows up and starts to think, not just to learn, we ask how human-like do we want their intelligence to be and what impact will machines have on our jobs?