Consciousness and artificial intelligence


Artificial Super Intelligence: Could the technological singularity occur without computers ever becoming conscious? QUORA

Artificial Super Intelligence ,Artificial Intelligence, The Technological Singularity, Consciousness

David Eager, Zen seeker, metaphysical tweaker
In fact the technological singularity of non-self conscious computers has already come and gone. Already computers can store, retrieve, compute, and to some degree analyse data far more comprehensively and much more rapidly than is possible for the human mind. To date they do all this without any kind of self awareness. So, that part of the singularity has long been achieved. Most futurists believe, however, that the real singularity will only be achieved when computers become self aware. That is to say, when they become conscious of themselves. In that sense the answer to your question is no. Technological singularity cannot occur unless and until computers become self aware, that is, conscious of themselves.

Alberto Martin,
Computers can never become independently, or dependently, conscious. Consciousness is an altogether different order of magnitude.

David Eager
While I would heartily agree that true consciousness is most certainly an infinitely different order of magnitude I would argue that simple self awareness is not the consciousness of which we speak and that it may yet be possible to impart simple self awareness to a computer. All it really needs for that is an ego, the greatest barrier to true consciousness known to man.

A M
You put the finger on the spot: the ego is a real conundrum at the root of all sorts of interpretations from psychology, philosophy (metaphysics), and theology. True, a school of thought within advaita Vedanta considers the ego (jiva) as reflected Consciousness – and there are good arguments for this positions – while another maintains that Consciousness is one and undivided: thoughts, volitions, desires arising seemingly in your individual mind do so in fact in Consciousness. Everything arises, abides, and disappears in Consciousness, the only reality according to advaita Vedanta. I tend to agree with this last view – when there is sufficient comprehension, mind is reducible to, not different from, Consciousness. The corollary is that there is only one Subject, rather than a multiplicity of subjects. Thus, if there is only Consciousness, computers, etc. are all phenomena ‘within’ it. Metaphysical intuition alone – another name for mystical or unitary vision – and not reason is alone capable of such com-prehension.

David Eager
I’m with you all the way Alberto, and particularly as regards the Vedas which I consider the original source of all mankind’s knowledge. I see the universe as a hologram, each particle containing all the information of the whole, and tend to use the term cosmic consciousness, that which is being and within which all is transformative phenomena, to differentiate it from lesser awarenesses that so distract most of mankind. Muchas gracias por su respuesta de mi comentario.

A M
Thanks. We are in full agreement then. I have been reading one of the two books on the VEDAS I have: ‘Why Read Rig Veda?’, by R.L. Kashyap; the other one is ‘The Vedas’, by Sri Chandrasekharendra, which I have yet to start reading (sometime, hopefully). Do you recommend any other sources? Lesser awareness would correspond to reflected consciousness of advaita, which clearly is related to, or caused by, a belief in (one) being a separate consciousness, a separate individual.

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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2 Responses to Consciousness and artificial intelligence

  1. Hariod Brawn says:

    The thing that always gets missed in these discussions about uploading human minds, AI and the technological singularity, is the fact of feeling. Of course, feeling is apprehended as a manifestation of consciousness, yet to simulate human feeling in simulated consciousness, one would need to also simulate virtually the entire human organism, and then create I/O ports to the external world. Roger Penrose seems one of the few who have addressed this insurmountable(?) problem in The Emperor’s New Mind.

    • Yes, much of what is written on AI is not only inpractical or unpredictable, but pure phantasy, lucubrations of feverish minds looking for excitement (to counter some personal lack?). There are those who think that physical immortality is a future possibility for humanity – by sequential replacement of wasted or diseased organs.True what you say about feeling, equivalent to what is being described as qualia: too intimate and direct (non transferable) to be explained by physicalist theorizing.

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