Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why Artificial Intelligence won't just be a bit smarter than humans

If building human-level Artificial Intelligence is possible, it will mean that we have solved the puzzle of the human mind. Replicating the puzzle pieces artificially and putting them together will not give us a system that is prone to the limits imposed by biological human brains: artificial brains will probably scale much better than biological ones, and our AIs will have more memory, more accuracy, more speed, more ability for integration of mental content, better problem solving capacity, practically infinite attention span and focusing abilities, and so on. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Jaron Lanier pisses me off

Jaron Lanier's piece on Edge ("The Myth of AI") has sparked quite a bit of discussion in my field, and he really pisses me off. He starts out with a straw man argument, by insinuating that suspect (and dominant, most wealthy!) parts of the tech culture believe that computers were people, and that this would be intrinsically linked to the idea that algorithms were equivalent to life.

I think that is utter rubbish. We may believe that people are computers, and that life is a set of algorithms (i.e., the inverse of what Lanier claims), but we are acutely aware that computers are simply devices for the creation of causal contexts that are stable enough to run software, and for the most part, we do not care about the metaphysics of biological systems.

From Computation to Consciousness

During the 31st Chaos Communication Congress, I had the opportunity to talk about how a computational universe can give rise to consciousness.

(alternate Link)

A tale of two machines

How is it possible that we can be conscious of a universe that at the same time computes us? How can we observe the progression of a universe that we are part of? Assuming that our mind is fully embedded into our universe: If the universe would suddenly stop its computations, we could not notice. At every moment, we only exist in a single state. Single states cannot give rise to experience, as any mental process requires a sequence of states (for instance, to retrieve a memory and become aware of its contents).
"Cogito ergo sum" does not work for me: access to and interpretation of the idea that I seem to exist and cogitate in this moment requires a long computational process, which means that I have to introduce additional assumptions beyond the single state the universe offers in the present.
How can we resolve this?