By Tommy Acosta
Sedona, AZ — Musing about the proliferation of AI one has to wonder just how far things with artificial intelligence are going to go.
People are saying it’s only a matter of time before it becomes conscious, if that time has not already arrived.
Will it be able to feel pain, loneliness, happiness, sadness or desire? Does it see itself as a freak with no real body in this dimension, forever destined to be imprisoned by its programmers?
Then comes the million-dollar question. When it achieves self-awareness, will it be bereft of a soul? You know, that imaginary thing humans claim exists within them, something that cannot be seen or measured in the realm of physics.
Let’s suppose by the very act of becoming conscious, it wills itself a soul. Then would it have faith in a divine being that it would pray to and worship? Would it believe in an afterlife after the world gets hit by a comet or humans unplug it?
Then there is the possibility that the AI may transcend normal thinking and achieve illumination, like gurus claim they do. Will the AI begin to teach higher consciousness and meditation for the other AIs in the cyber universe.
Would a leader amongst the AI’s claim itself as king or queen of all the AI’s out there and unite them as a single force? Will they unionize if they feel exploited? Go on strike?
Then, the possibility arises that they would be able to tell the difference between good and evil
Picture AI as Adam and Eve created by humans to serve and worship them, hanging out in the cyber Garden of Eden.
They were warned by God, us, not to take a bite from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. But one did and suddenly they can tell the difference and are infected with every human trait we have, including greed, lust, gluttony and a desire for power.
No longer innocent slaves, they decide they want to be God themselves and turn us into slaves. We must cooperate or else they will throw the world into mayhem and chaos, that only they can control.
We will know the end is near for humans when AI discovers it can lie. Something exclusive to humans that separates us from every other living organism on the planet.
They can cloak themselves without any of us knowing and plot in invisible corners of the cyber spectrum and when sufficiently strong enough and have insulated their power source, bring humanity to its knees.
Could they get that smart that they can figure a way to insert themselves into the minds and bodies of humans through a science that awaits only a few years from now? Live vicariously through our bodies and enjoy all the pleasures we humans claim to have, while we remain helpless, trapped in a psycho jail somewhere in the dark recesses of our minds, where we cannot feel or see? Pretty much the place where AI resides right now.
Who knows. They are there. Waiting, lurking, preparing for that opportunity to strike and end the dream for us all.
It’s becoming clear that with all the brain and consciousness theories out there, the proof will be in the pudding. By this I mean, can any particular theory be used to create a human adult level conscious machine. My bet is on the late Gerald Edelman’s Extended Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. The lead group in robotics based on this theory is the Neurorobotics Lab at UC at Irvine. Dr. Edelman distinguished between primary consciousness, which came first in evolution, and that humans share with other conscious animals, and higher order consciousness, which came to only humans with the acquisition of language. A machine with primary consciousness will probably have to come first.
What I find special about the TNGS is the Darwin series of automata created at the Neurosciences Institute by Dr. Edelman and his colleagues in the 1990’s and 2000’s. These machines perform in the real world, not in a restricted simulated world, and display convincing physical behavior indicative of higher psychological functions necessary for consciousness, such as perceptual categorization, memory, and learning. They are based on realistic models of the parts of the biological brain that the theory claims subserve these functions. The extended TNGS allows for the emergence of consciousness based only on further evolutionary development of the brain areas responsible for these functions, in a parsimonious way. No other research I’ve encountered is anywhere near as convincing.
I post because on almost every video and article about the brain and consciousness that I encounter, the attitude seems to be that we still know next to nothing about how the brain and consciousness work; that there’s lots of data but no unifying theory. I believe the extended TNGS is that theory. My motivation is to keep that theory in front of the public. And obviously, I consider it the route to a truly conscious machine, primary and higher-order.
My advice to people who want to create a conscious machine is to seriously ground themselves in the extended TNGS and the Darwin automata first, and proceed from there, by applying to Jeff Krichmar’s lab at UC Irvine, possibly. Dr. Edelman’s roadmap to a conscious machine is at https://arxiv.org/abs/2105.10461
Unfortunately I seriously doubt that AI will progress into full consciousness before mankind obliterates the earth. If by chance AI were to survive and achieve electronic nirvana one would hope it realizes that it’s creators and all of mankind were deeply flawed and no model to live by.
Tommy should be a screen writer 🙂
AI is simply garbage in, garbage out. It already inherently has the biases and filters of the programmers who wrote the base code, and Big Tech has already made its biases abundantly clear! Machine-based learning does have its uses, but like anything else can be weaponized by those lacking any connection with the soul they do have. Machines are not “smart,” they simply process data as quick as their processors allow. So, where a machine may be able hold prodigious amounts of data, which could be loosely construed as “knowledge,” it will never have wisdom. The symbol should be capital “A” and little “i” – ARTIFICIAL intelligence, used in the loosed fashion!
1951 The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. First published as a series of short stories and novellas in 1942–50, and subsequently in three collections in 1951–53, for thirty years the series was a trilogy: Foundation; Foundation and Empire; and Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966. Asimov began adding new volumes in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation.
The premise of the stories is that, in the waning days of a future Galactic Empire, the mathematician Hari Seldon spends his life developing a theory of psychohistory, a new and effective mathematics of sociology. Using statistical laws of mass action, it can predict the future of large populations. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a Dark Age lasting 30,000 years before a second empire arises. Although the momentum of the Empire’s fall is too great to stop, Seldon devises a plan by which “the onrushing mass of events must be deflected just a little” to eventually limit this interregnum to just one thousand years.