What is consciousness?
Consciousness is difficult to define, but most people would agree that it involves having awareness of one’s own thoughts and feelings and being able to think, reason and remember. Some might also say that consciousness requires an ability to feel emotions and interact with the world around us.
Related: Why is being ruled by an AI actually good?
How much AI has progressed?
In recent years, there have been incredible advances in artificial intelligence (AI). AI systems can now carry out many tasks that would previously have required human intelligence, such as recognizing objects and faces, understanding natural language, making decisions and making art.
What Ai expert say about AI having consciousness?
However, some experts believe that it may be possible for AI to become conscious in the future. This could mean that machines not only carry out tasks that require human-like intelligence, but are also aware of their own thoughts and feelings in the way that we are.
One well-known AI expert who believes this is Ray Kurzweil, an American inventor and futurist who works for Google. In his book The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil argues that computers will eventually surpass humans in all areas of intelligence, including consciousness. He predicts that by 2045 – just 26 years from now – machines will be “indistinguishable from humans”.
Of course, other experts disagree with Kurzweil’s predictions and argue that AI will never achieve true consciousness. One reason for this is the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ – a term coined by philosopher David Chalmers to describe our current lack of understanding about how consciousness arises from matter (such as brains). Until we solve this mystery, some say it is impossible to know whether machines could ever become conscious in the same way as humans are.
But still, it is very bold to say that it can never archive consciousness, but there might be reason to believe that because we evolved in a quite complex nature, our brain or behaviour is fine tuned by evolution to the point where we created complex language and we are able to think in a way where we can imagine things and create things based on that.
But there may be another way to achieve the same thing but with AI. We may simulate weird and unimaginable situations and train our future super-intelligent AI to get as close as possible to consciousness.
Whether or not AI will ever achieve true consciousness remains to be seen. However, there is no doubt that artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable and may become better than humans in 90% of these things. So it may not be long before we find out if Kurzweil’s predictions come true.