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The universe is competitive and only the adaptable make an impact – our window of opportunity to become that is now, because we have an in-tact global infrastructure, global economy and global science to direct at the problems of our choosing.
I personally believe that consciousness is not a binary thing, but a measure. It is like asking if something is hot. Hot relative to what? How hot? There should be measurable degrees of consciousness, at least in relative terms. I believe that consciousness is a property of a certain arrangement of a thinking entity, which is able to be aware to some degree of its own place in its model of the world and the experiences therein. I do think that such consciousness is entirely emergent from the mechanisms that generate thought. If the necessary functions of mind are present then so is consciousness. Does this require molecular-level acquisition and reimplementation? At this stage, I don’t know.
Let us consider the emulation of one computing platform (a Macintosh) on another platform (a PC). Do we care if we can reproduce and emulate all of the aspects of the Mac platform, such as its precise pattern of electrical consumption, the manner and rate at which a specific Macbook heats up portions of its environment? We really don’t. All we care about is whether the programs that we run on the Mac are also producing the same results when run on a Mac emulator on the PC. In the same sense, there are many levels at which the precise emulation of a brain is quite irrelevant to our intentions.
Do you currently feel it when a bunch of your neurons die or when your neural pathways change? The gradual process is something we are very much accustomed to. You are not the same person that you were when you were 5 years old, but there is a sense of continuity that you are satisfied with. Our minds have a way of making sense out of any situation that they are confronted with, as for example in dreams. Assuming that a gradual process were sufficiently gradual and did not in effect seem like a series of traumatic brain injuries, I don’t think that you would feel at all strange.
Every age indulges in predicting the future – but few go back to check if those predictions come true… The Singularity predicts technology will radically transform human life – but how far will that go? Will technology save the human race from itself, or just go the way of the personal jet pack, colonies on the moon, and cities under the sea?
Now that we’re all connected, what happens?
The mobile has spread faster than any other technology in human history – in half a generation being connected and being human have become synonymous.
Being hyperconnected to five billion people has changed the way we think and behave in unexpected and powerful ways.
Each of us are smarter now, because we can refer to everything everyone else knows quickly and easily.
16 years ago, hardly anyone was connected; 16 years from now, being connected will be synonymous with being human. That’s not a prediction – that’s where we are.
Regrettably, induction is peripheral to traditional AI, and the machine learning community in large is not interested in A(G)I. It is the field of reinforcement learning at the intersection of AI and machine learning that has AGI ambitions and takes learning seriously.
The human mind is one of the great mysteries in the Universe, and arguably the most interesting phenomenon to study.
The grand goal of AI is to develop systems that exhibit general intelligence on a human-level or beyond. If achieved, this would have a far greater impact on human society than all previous inventions together, likely resulting in a post-human civilization that only faintly resembles current humanity.
Indeed it has even become an acceptable attitude that general intelligence is in principle unamenable to a formal definition. In my opinion, claiming something to be impossible without strong evidence sounds close to an unscientific position; and there are no convincing arguments against the feasibility of AGI.
Reasoning is arguably the most prominent trait of human intelligence. Interestingly deductive reasoning and logic are not part of the AIXI architecture. The fundamental assumption is that there is no sure knowledge of the world, all inference is tentative and inductive, and that logic and deduction constitute an idealized limit applicable in situations where uncertainties are extremely small, i.e. probabilities are extremely close to 1 or 0. What would be very interesting to show is that logic is an emergent phenomenon, i.e. that AIXI learns to reason logically if/since this helps collect reward.
The dream of creating artificial devices which reach or outperform human intelligence is an old one. What makes this challenge so interesting? A solution would have enormous implications on our society, and there are reasons to believe that the AI problem can be solved in my expected lifetime. So, it’s worth sticking to it for a lifetime, even if it takes 30 years or so to reap the benefits.
I’m certainly a believer in computer programs as a vehicle for testing philosophical theories of method, so I’m involved in dong that, with a Bayesian flavor of course.
The biggest change in AI that has changed in the last 20 years, is that people have given up trying to define the problems that they wish to solve. They have realized that the problems could often be so complex that we may not know a solution, yet we can still develop systems, or evolved systems that can function in a complex environment.
Neural Nets have, endemic to their operation, a type of evolutionary paradigm. But you can then go to a meta-paradigm, which is to change the structure of the network, and to change the types of neurons and the interconnections between them in the same way that nature will specialize – our brains contain a myriad of sub-brains, each one architecturally adept at solving a certain class of problem.
Bright stars are rising in the east. China is flourishing! With its long history, rich culture and huge economy China is poised ready to change the world. Now think: what if China decided to focus a moderately significant amount of it’s vast resources to the development of radically transformative technologies? It is no surprise that many believe China will lead the way in Robotics and Biotechnology in the not too distant future.
Consider the progress of some of the beneficial technologies that save lives, that enable us to stay informed, that entertain us, and keep us in touch with those we care about. As the efficacy of these technologies continues to evolve, we have the power to shape their outcome. The human species is at a unique stage in history – Scientific and technological progress is moving fast and continues to accelerate.