Consciousness in AI — Answering the Relevant Questions

Consciousness in AI

Consciousness in AI has been mankind’s one of the biggest interests (or fear) ever since its advent. A future where machines will possess human-level intelligence is highly anticipated. The question that remains is — when?

Irrespective of the date, the birth of true artificial intelligence will have a profound effect on mankind. Think of machines engaging with each other like humans. Think of reasoning on topics like politics, religion, or even justice. Imagine them contributing to the world of economics and warcraft.

A future where computers will be as capable as humans has been in people’s minds ever since they heard the term.

Several questions abound. When will AI gain consciousness? Is AI already conscious? Does consciousness in AI matter? What happens when AI really achieves consciousness? Are we asking all the wrong questions?

Artificial intelligence and the excitement around it has only seemed to escalate.

We will answer all the aforementioned questions next, but first, let’s explore what is AI?

AI is the new power of inference, recognition, and choice given to machines after a perfect harnessing of available data.

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Answering your questions on consciousness in AI

But, before we begin, take a look at the following statement:

“From the time the last great artificial intelligence breakthrough was reached in the late 1940s, scientists around the world have looked for ways of harnessing this ‘artificial intelligence’ to improve technology beyond what even the most sophisticated of today’s artificial intelligence programs can achieve.”

“Even now, research is ongoing to better understand what the new AI programs will be able to do while remaining within the bounds of today’s intelligence. Most AI programs currently programmed have been limited primarily to making simple decisions or performing simple operations on relatively small amounts of data.”

These lines came from GPT-2, a language bot developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based institute.

Does consciousness in AI matter

The concept of consciousness brings a number of personhood capabilities into action: rationality, reasoning, communication, personal stance. This gets applied to the default inhabitants of the planet who developed the skills naturally. Humans share these emotions with each other. As long as machines don’t claim sentience or consciousness for each other, they can skip it.

Is AI already conscious

Short answer, “No.” The leap from being an inanimate object to a living creature is big. Consider the example of the science-fiction movie, Matrix. When Neo visits Merovingian to release the keymaker, he learns that there is no cake, but just a bunch of codes/molecules. Get down to it deeper and you will understand that the particles are shared by everything in the universe.

Universal consciousness is, of course, a great concept, but still alive in science fiction so far.

When will AI gain consciousness

Scientists define human-like consciousness on three levels.

The first level represents calculations that occur without self-knowledge.

The second level represents global awareness of information to evaluate and respond to specific situations

The third level represents exploring the unknown.

The day you can code that program into a machine or a computer, AI will gain consciousness.

What happens when AI really achieves consciousness

Artificial Intelligence and its impact on civilization can be immensely great or the entire opposite of it. Great in terms of advancements in medicine, shopping, technology, food processing, and the entire range of industries. Bad in terms of circumstances when it tries to supersede humans and tries to manage independently.

Are we asking all the wrong questions

Consciousness in AI is not limited to these questions and there is a lot to ponder about. We will leave it on you to explore.