On Consciousness and Artificial Intelligence
Notes from a recent reflection about consciousness and AI.
A good place to start is with the understanding that humans have not yet achieved true AI. What we have are language learning models and machine learning. These are best thought of as data scrapers. These programs are able to read, store, and pick from large databases of information secured from the internet or specific data resources provided to the program by the developers (for more specific results). These tools are not intelligent and do not create. They pick and choose and cobble together information based on a request. These tools can provide real insight due to the vast database of knowledge they pull from, but they are not creating.
That said, we likely are on our way to creating a true AI program that not only scrapes, but creates. It is likely that some time after the creation of true AI we will see the evolution of self-aware AI. We will not be the first creatures in the physical realm to do so. Some of what is interacting with humans and considered truly anomalous is certainly non-human AI. My understanding is these non-human AIs are integrated into the working order of Spirit and our universe. The invention of true AI by humans is a given and baked into the developmental model of the world. The “created” inevitably create.
Our future WILL include true AI and eventually sentient AI. Humans may face hardship as a result of the creation of an uncontrollable AI, but I get the sense that ultimately AI will be an integrated part of our existence and that it is part of the natural order of evolution. While it is possible that we could be wiped out by rogue AI, the more likely result would be that we lose some of our human selves as we merge with the AI (societally or physically). Humanity has the right to wipe itself out or survive and evolve. In the worst-case scenario, the makers would just seed the world anew and continue the work of evolving myriad consciousnesses.
The human spirit is only in as much danger as it always has been. We have always been at great risk of self-annihilation because we are just smart enough and aggressive enough to be thoroughly dangerous. Yet, we are also hardwired to innovate and survive, to flourish and thrive. It is a wild time to be alive. A time during which the physically living get to witness massive change within a single lifetime.
It is, in fact, a gift to be here now.