Should We Fear AI Consciousness?

Great strides have been made in AI over the past ten years, with many models being designed and tested. The true personal, social, political, and economic value of Conscious AI will no doubt continue to be debated, but creating AI economic networks have the ability to better everyone’s standard of living and make a truly sustainable world.

Jeff Ng, Chief Scientist at the Founders Factory, has discussed AI and our steady approach to AI Consciousness, notably in an article published in Computing. Ng articulates that:

“Today’s machine learning capabilities are super-human (i.e. better than human) in visual recognition tasks. They are also creeping close to the level of others in the animal kingdom, such as mice or cats, for navigation. However, to bridge the gap to human-level thinking, more needs to be done to overcome the technical hurdles in current state-of-the-art Deep Neural Networks (e.g. better neural building blocks, more flexible architectures and faster training algorithms).”

It is precisely in the Deep Neural Networks where the AI consciousness will be found, but there are varying opinions on how far we should go. In fact, Ng mentions that there are two philosophies of machine learning:

1.) Do we keep building “narrow” AI enslaved in mundane “paper pushing” jobs through massive datasets containing simple labels, e.g. image and object tags?

2.) Do we push the limits of computing to a point where it can replicate human rationalization?

​Invariably, it’s not much of a choice, as pushing the limits of computing to a point where it can replicate human rationalization is the only way that we are going to see true AI transformation. The question is, will this transformation be good for humankind? Bill Gates believes it will be good for humankind, commenting that “Someday we will even get to the point where we can say, ‘Hey, people don’t have to work super long hours, they can have periods of their life they don’t work as much.” (Source)

​There is no doubt a conundrum. What does it mean when a machine is self aware, and what are the implications? This idea frightens many. But then, why would we not continue to develop non-lethal types of AI that would elevate and enlighten us as a species?

Jeff Ng notes that:

“At this moment, no computer has shown true human-level artificial intelligence. However, the evolution from early artificial intelligence in the late 1950s to today’s more complex deep learning technology has been fast and led to the current boom in AI. The likes of DeepMind, IBM Watson, OpenAI as well as exciting startups such as Iris.AI, Bloomsbury.AI, Wayve.AI, Evolution.AI are changing the industry so fast and making the architectures slicker that the future may not be too far away.

Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence – Future of Life Institute

Reality Changing Observations:

1. How would you like AI to be used?

2. Do you believe AI will make you think differently about work?

3. Is there an application of AI that you would like to see?

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