AI News, Klaus Rohde

Klaus Rohde

Much recent attention has been given to studies of the brain and questions of artificial intelligence and consciousness.

economic, applications, he asked the audience if they would not be interested in knowing whether there are duplicates of themselves in other universes, and whether they would not like to become immortal by having their consciousness imprinted in silicon molecules, thus preserving it for eternity (my phrase)?

However, he discusses not consciousness which, according to him, is located in (not clearly defined) ‘souls’, but the physical correlates of it, namely intelligence and neural networks, as well as artificial intelligence, the history and importance of symbolic languages, etc.

…………This question of realizing that there isn’t this distinction between intelligence and mere computation leads you to imagine the future of civilization ends up being the box of trillion souls, and then what is the purpose of that?’ Both these scientists take it apparently for granted that human consciousness is equivalent to intelligence, and that it can be digitalized.

To answer this question, we have look into ourselves and ask ‘what do we know about our consciousness and the physical world in which we live?’ As pointed out by various great minds in history (John Locke, David Hume, Bishop Berkeley, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer), our perception of the ‘objective’ world is at best incomplete.

Schopenhauer argued convincingly that the phenomenal (objective) world can indeed be perceived only with the categories of our mind (space, time and causality), but that we also have access to the thing-in-itself because we are not only objects of perception but the subjects who do the perceiving as well.

There can hardly be any doubt that other humans, apes and other mammals are conscious (unless one wants to take an extreme solipsistic position), we (at least I) are convinced that other vertebrates are conscious, but the degree of certainty decreases the further along the evolutionary chain we go.

And we are immortal anyway, not in the sense that – once we are dead – we would remember all our pleasant and not so pleasant experiences of our present life, but in the sense that consciousness survives in one form or another, unknown to us!

Concerning Wolfram’s proposition that consciousnesses are located in souls, as far as we know all physiological processes in the nervous system are continuous in the sense that they do not ‘produce’ consciousness which is separate from these nervous processes, like physiological processes in the kidney produce urine.

And beware, once robots are self-reproducing with the consequence that they will be exposed to mutations, they might very well ignore ‘commands’ that they should not be harmful to humans (the first law of robotics????) and do what they consider good for their own kind, with intelligences vastly greater than we possess (possibly based on minds running like quantum computers)!

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On the Singularity, emotions, and computer consciousness

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined as long ago as 1956 to describe ‘the science and engineering of making intelligent machines’.

Some people believe in ‘the Singularity’: a point at which AI will surpass human intelligence and ‘the robots will take over’.

Current AI can perform a host of tasks with an extraordinary level of success, often far beyond what unaided humans can do.

They wanted to build systems that could use vision, language, learning, creativity, and motor control—all functioning across the board (i.e.

It’s also a ‘program’, in the sense that part of it has actually been implemented, and can be used for solving various sorts of problem.

But ‘phenomenal’ consciousness, or experience—the taste of sugar, the smell of perfume, the terror on seeing a tiger or a forest fire, etc—is seemingly different.

If we don’t even understand just what phenomenal consciousness is, nor how it’s possible for it to arise in human minds, we’re in no position to assert or to deny its possibility in computers.

In addition, they are information-processing mechanisms that have evolved in multi-motive creatures to schedule actions in the pursuit of various (and sometimes conflicting) goals.

And as phenomenal consciousness isn’t understood by philosophers, never mind scientists (see above), no-one knows whether an AI system could have emotions in that sense.

Most AI models of emotion that exist today are theoretically shallow, because their builders don’t appreciate the functional complexities involved.

A program called MINDER simulates a nursemaid looking after several babies, each of whom is an autonomous agent acting in largely unpredictable ways.

(A real nursemaid, of course, also has to clean them, cuddle them, speak to them, and so on.) But these goals can conflict: she only has two hands, and can’t be in two places at once.

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