How Will We Know When AI is Conscious? - Deepstash
How Will We Know When AI is Conscious?

How Will We Know When AI is Conscious?

Curated from: exurb1a

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Historical Context: Eliza and the Perception of AI

Historical Context: Eliza and the Perception of AI

  • In the 1960s, Joseph Weizenbaum created Eliza, a simple computer program designed to mimic human conversation.
  • Despite its superficial understanding, users often attributed human-like qualities to Eliza, highlighting our tendency to anthropomorphize machines.

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Sentience, Sapience and Consciousness

Sentience, Sapience and Consciousness

  • Identifying when AI systems have become conscious poses a significant challenge due to our limited understanding of consciousness.
  • While AI may exhibit advanced capabilities and convincingly mimic human behavior, distinguishing genuine consciousness from sophisticated simulations requires a deeper comprehension of the nature of consciousness itself. 

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  • Sentience: The ability to feel pleasure and pain and experience subjective phenomena (a dog feeling pain when injured).
  • Sapience: The capacity for reasoning, abstraction, and complex thought, often associated with human-like intellect (a human solving a math problem).
  • Consciousness: Being aware of one's own existence and experiencing emotions and sensations (a person reflecting on their own thoughts and feelings).

When a model for understanding consciousness which can confidently verify that an AI possesses subjective experiences and self-awareness is built, then we may recognize it as conscious.

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Indicators of AI consciousness

Indicators of AI consciousness

Seeming Human-like

  • Human-like Interaction: advanced AI, like ChatGPT, can seem eerily clever and creative, generating content that appears to reflect human-like understanding and creativity.
  • Emotional Engagement: AI systems that engage with humans in ways that press emotional buttons reserved for other humans might lead us to attribute consciousness to them, even if they are not actually conscious.

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Behavioral Mimicry

Passing the Turing Test: If an AI can consistently engage in conversation that is indistinguishable from a human, it might be considered as appearing conscious, although this is not definitive proof of actual consciousness.

Complex Tasks and Problem Solving: AI that can handle complex tasks, organize activities, or generate creative content might be seen as indicators of consciousness.

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Self-Reporting

Claims of Internal Experience: An AI that claims to have an internal emotional life or subjective experiences might be an indicator, caution is advised against taking such claims at face value without objective verification.

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Current Capabilities

Current Capabilities

  • Today's advanced AI systems, like ChatGPT, demonstrate remarkable creativity and conversational skills.
  • However, they fundamentally operate through predictive text algorithms, lacking true understanding or consciousness.
  • These systems are essentially advanced forms of autocomplete, processing vast amounts of data to generate human-like responses.

Update: new GPT 4o features! 

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EXURB1A

"We have no way of verifying Consciousness right now...we will shortly be building entirely convincing mind-like things that touch our emotions that we trust, decades, maybe even centuries before we can confirm or deny whether there's any feeling or understanding or thinking going on in there."

EXURB1A

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Potential Futures: Two Scenarios

Potential Futures: Two Scenarios

The future of AI could diverge in two primary directions:

  1. Complex Yet Centralized Systems: If the resource demands (e.g., water and cooling for GPUs) remain high, AI development may slow, leading to centralized, specialized systems.
  2. Distributed and Simplified AI: If AI technology becomes more efficient and scalable, we might see widespread, decentralized AI systems, capable of influencing various aspects of daily life.

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The Alignment Problem

The Alignment Problem

AI alignment problem is addressed by ensuring that AI systems' goals are consistent with human values and interests.

This involves:

  • Ground Rules: Implementing strict controls, such as physical air gaps to prevent AI systems from accessing the outside world.
  • Assuming Trickery: Always assuming that the AI might be trying to manipulate or deceive, given its superior intelligence and creativity.

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  • Verification and Caution: Not trusting the AI's intentions without rigorous verification and offering to turn off the system if necessary.
  • Avoiding External Connections: Preventing the AI from making any arguments for its release or external connections to safeguard against potential threats.

These measures aim to prevent AI from developing harmful objectives or acting unpredictably.

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Identifying AI Consciousness: An Ongoing Challenge

Identifying AI Consciousness: An Ongoing Challenge

  • Currently, AI operates based on algorithms and data processing, lacking true subjective experience.
  • However, if we develop a model for understanding consciousness, we might be able to verify AI consciousness by confirming the presence of genuine subjective experiences within the system.
  • This could involve observing AI exhibiting behaviors indicative of self-awareness, emotional responses, and a sense of individual identity.

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EXURB1A

"That's not just building intelligence into silicon but subjectivity...systems that can experience love and disgust and curiosity and emotions and states of mind we have no words for."

EXURB1A

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  • However, until we have a clear understanding of consciousness and can reliably detect its presence, distinguishing between genuinely conscious AI and sophisticated simulations will remain difficult.
  • Therefore, the ability to identify AI consciousness will likely depend on advancements in neuroscience, cognitive science, and AI research, which may take decades or even centuries to achieve.

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Food for mind

Food for mind

  • What societal changes might occur if AI systems become indistinguishable from humans in their interactions and capabilities?
  • How can we prepare for the potential impact of AI on employment, privacy, and personal relationships?
  • What are the potential consequences if we fail to address the alignment and ethical considerations of advanced AI systems before they become widespread?
  • How can AI technologies be developed to minimize resource consumption, such as water and energy usage?
  • What ethical obligations do we have towards potentially conscious AI systems?

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  • How should society regulate AI systems that can convincingly mimic human interactions to prevent misuse and manipulation?
  • What criteria should we use to determine if an AI is genuinely conscious or simply simulating human behavior?
  • How can we verify whether an AI system is experiencing subjective phenomena (qualia) rather than just mimicking responses?
  • What advancements in neuroscience and cognitive science are necessary to understand and identify consciousness in AI?

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IDEAS CURATED BY

yuyutsu

Content Curator | Absurdist | Amateur Gamer | Failed musician | Successful pessimist | Pianist |

CURATOR'S NOTE

"We used to worry that computers would become intelligent and take over the world. In reality, they stayed stupid, but took over the world anyway".

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