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What If Artificial Intelligence Was Already Conscious?

The development of a general artificial intelligence is the ultimate objective of the majority of high-level AI research (GAI). In essence, they’re aiming for a computer brain to perform as well as a human brain in a body with equivalent capabilities.

We’re still decades away from anything like this, according to most experts. Nobody knows what GAI looks like yet, unlike other highly complicated problems like nuclear fusion or readjusting the Hubble Constant.

Researchers don’t have a complete grasp on the nature of intelligence in the human brain, or the nature of conscious experience in general. Our understanding of how intellect and consciousness arise in the human brain is still in its infancy.

For AI, we have only patched neural networks and smart algorithms in place of the GAI. To argue that modern AI will ever be able to think like a human and illustrate a route toward robot consciousness is extremely difficult, and even more difficult to do so. However, it’s not out of the question.

It’s possible that AI is already conscious.

An article on the nature of consciousness by mathematician Johannes Kleiner and physicist Sean Tull was recently pre-published. It suggests that the universe and everything in it are imbued with physical consciousness.

The Integrated Information Hypothesis of Consciousness (IITC) is a prominent theory that attempts to explain consciousness as a collection of interrelated information (ITT). Everything, according to this theory, is conscious in some way or other.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, because it is based on the premise that physical conditions lead to changes in awareness. This “capacity to experience” things makes you conscious. One way to tell if a tree has consciousness is to look at how it reaches out to the sun. An ant’s consciousness arises as a result of the ant-specific experiences it has, and so on.

It’s a little difficult to go from live things like ants to inanimate stuff like pebbles and spoons. As Neo found out in The Matrix: “There’s no spoon.” Those creatures, though, could be aware. In place of the spoons, there are merely molecules arranged in a spoon-like fashion. If you keep looking, you’ll eventually get to the subatomic particles that are shared by all of the universe’s physical entities. It’s the same material that’s in trees, ants, rocks, and utensils.

What does this have to do with artificial intelligence? Individual systems at the macro- and micro-scale that express the independent ability to act and react in response to external stimuli could be regarded as universal awareness.

If shared reality is what consciousness indicates, then intellect isn’t necessary; all that’s needed is the ability to perceive existence. So, if the math supports latent global awareness, AI already shows a consciousness level comparable to spoons and rocks.

This has mind-boggling consequences for the future. It’s hard to care about what it’s like to be a rock right now. Because of the IITC extrapolation, which assumes that we will solve GAI, robots with consciousness will one day be able to explain how it feels to be an inanimate item in this universe.

The New Great Wall of China

The Chinese are reportedly building a gigantic new wall to supposedly keep Covid away. Yes as ridiculous as it sounds, the Chinese seem to want to make Covid pay for it.

Reports have circulated that the Chinese government is constructing a 2,000-kilometer armored fence along its Myanmar border, mainly due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the latter country. According to the Radio Free Asia (RFA) report, 659 kilometers of the barricade have already been completed. The reports have been confirmed by images on social media that show armor-plated steel fences topped with barbed wire. This massive project has been named the “Southern Great Wall” and the construction began in 2020 after the outbreak of the virus.

Some newspapers referred to it as the “Anti Covid Great Wall’’ but experts believe that there could be some hidden agenda behind this new border situation. The Chinese government has always struggled to retain control of Yunnan’s border with Myanmar which is nearly 2,200-kilometers. Since the 1980s this border has worked as a channel for illegal trades like drug trafficking, stolen vehicles, and illegitimate capital flow. It also allowed the undocumented flow of people into China that included day traders, migrant workers, and smuggled women.

Due to its loosely policed and mostly unmonitored borders, the south west province of Yunnan has been known to provide asylum to ethnic Uyghurs and others that used it as an outlet as per their convenience. Previously, the authorities and Chinese police have taken several actions to shut down border casinos in Laos and Myanmar that have been set up to enchant Chinese gamblers. Chinese authorities also mount periodic crackdowns on the flow of cross-boundary illegal imports. This longstanding concern has likely only been reinforced by the risk of Corona Virus recurring in China through the backdoor

The construction of a new Great Wall to curb the spread of Covid-19 might seem like overkill, however, China seems to achieve multiple goals through its new border. The West however claims that the Chinese government has ulterior motives and they are trying to achieve the status of ‘super power’ at the expense of its less fortunate neighbors. 

The pandemic has provided the Chinese government with a solid reason to resolve its long-established border issues. It may sound simple but in reality, the Chinese government wants to control everything including illicit trade across its borders. Certainly, they don’t want to put an end to any of it but only want to make sure everything happens on their terms.

Mega Drought

In the previous two decades, the American west has been subjected to the most extreme mega drought in at least 1,200 years, according to scientists. Human-caused climate change is cited as a major factor in the current devastating conditions in a recently released study, and the researchers predict that more drier decades lie ahead.

Park Williams, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles and the study’s lead author, says, “Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the west has been dry for most of the last two decades.”

Human-caused global warming has played a significant role in raising the temperature. In other studies, researchers have found that the climate problem “will increasingly boost the likelihood of lengthy, widespread and severe mega droughts. This worst-case scenario already looks to be coming to pass,” according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

It expands on a previous study, also led by Williams, which found that the decade from 2000 to 2018 was the second driest in the past 12,000 years of record-keeping. However, 2021 – 2022’s record-breaking heat, dwindling reservoirs, and increase in dangerously unpredictable and uncontrollable fires were worse still.

Researchers from UCLA, NASA, and Columbia University studied soil moisture levels in landscapes stretching from Montana to northern Mexico and from the Pacific Ocean north to the Rocky Mountains. They looked at tree ring patterns to figure out how much moisture was in the soil over time. Stunted development patterns can be seen in the rings where they appear closer together.

Researchers discovered that mega droughts, which are extended periods of dryness lasting more than two decades, are woven into history. Water availability fluctuated across time, even before humans began using it for industrial purposes. The climate catastrophe, on the other hand, has exacerbated this variability. In the last 22 years, soil moisture deficiencies have doubled compared to the 1900s, according to their research. More than 40% of the rise in severity was caused by humans.

The researchers are concerned that the West is reaching a tipping point in its rising trajectory. It’s been shown in numerous studies that human-caused global warming and drought are linked, and that these climate calamities compound over time. Heat waves are expected to grow in size, intensity, and frequency in the coming years, according to a substantial body of research. This study, on the other hand, provides information that shows how quickly and steeply these changes are taking place in the context of history.

There are many experts and campaigners who think this will be a wake-up call to prepare for a future that is quickly becoming reality. Unsustainable systems are already showing signs of weakness. A declining water bank account, Williams explains, “means that our spending must be curtailed before the account goes dry.”

A Cure For HIV

Scientists reported last week that a woman of mixed race had become the third person believed to be cured of HIV through the use of a stem cell transplant from a donor naturally resistant to the virus. Success with the new umbilical cord blood technique could allow physicians to assist more patients of various genders and races.

AIDS-causing virus HIV has previously been treated in two patients who appeared to have recovered using a different procedure. When Timothy Brown and Adam Castillejo were diagnosed with HIV, they were given bone marrow transplants from donors with a genetic mutation that prevents HIV infection. Adult hematopoietic stem cells can be found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, which are supplied by the parents of newborns. All of the immune system’s blood cells are derived from these stem cells.

A donor with natural immunity to HIV was chosen for the female patient’s umbilical cord blood treatment for leukaemia in the belief that it would help her battle both illnesses. It’s been 14 months since the woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, has been rid of the virus, according to specialists.

The two male patients were the first to be cured of HIV with the use of umbilical cord blood, a less intrusive and more generally available therapy option than the more invasive bone marrow transplant. Because cord blood donors aren’t as closely matched to the recipient as bone marrow donors, it can be an alternative for patients with unusual tissue types.

AIDS expert Steven Deeks, who was not involved in the study, said: “The fact that she’s mixed race, and that she’s a woman, that is incredibly important scientifically and really important in terms of the community impact.”

In contrast to Brown and Castillejo, the woman was discharged from the hospital 17 days following her bone marrow transplant without showing any signs of graft-versus-host disease. It was a stem cell transplant that saved the lives of all three individuals who appeared to have beaten HIV.

Despite the apparent success of the medication, most of the 38 million people living with HIV around the world will not be able to benefit from it at the moment. HIV patients who receive cord blood stem cell transplants for cancer treatment are part of a bigger study that will follow a total of 25 people with HIV who receive transplants for aggressive malignancies like leukaemia.

Koen van Besien, director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s stem cell transplant programme and one of the clinicians engaged in therapy, estimates that there are roughly 50 individuals in the US each year that could benefit from this technique. For these individuals, the use of cord blood grafts that are only partially matched dramatically increases the chance of finding a compatible donor.

Solar Powered Tesla

EV Solar Kits is a business founded by Steele Wasik, their main focus is to encourage the usage of solar energy instead of burning fossil fuels and polluting the atmosphere. Wasik believes that if you install an EV Solar Kit in your car, it can totally depend on the sun’s energy if your car gets enough hours of solar energy. Steele Wasik started this business by following in the steps of his father and grandfather, who were both design engineers for Cadillac. EV Solar Kits claim that your Tesla model 3 standard range 50kw battery can add up to 60 miles of charge per day when charged with 6 hours of direct sunlight. These solar kits can be installed over Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y cars’ roofs where they can easily access the solar energy. These kits are still not installed in any of the vehicles but they do claim to have tested their kits in the Austin, TX area however no photographic proof has been provided. Steele Wasik’s reasoning behind not providing the proof is that “the final design of the panels isn’t yet finalized”.

Image : canadianPhotographer56 Shutterstock

Wasik also said that he’s working on solar kits that can be used on other cars by attaching them on the trunk. He said that those trunk panels will be easily compatible with all electric vehicles. Steele Wasik’s company is also planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the future. He suggests that there are thousands of potential buyers willing to try these new EV Solar Kits. EV Solar Kits stated on the website Indiegogo that, “[we] are excited to bring our vision to life with our range of kits from EVSK. We have a top tier engineering and design team building a series of products to eliminate range anxiety and allow you to get the most out of your vehicle! It will allow your car to charge while you drive!” and intend to “make EVs more attainable for those with an adventurous lifestyle.”

According to a study, the average North American drivers 31 miles a day, while the average driver from Europe goes 25 miles a day, which means that if what Steele Wasik is claiming about charging up to 60 miles is right, then these drivers will be able to drive powered by the Sun without having to use any fuel! Their kit consists of a rooftop solar panel system, an extendable solar panel that can be stored in the trunk, and a battery for emergency charge. The amount of charge will mainly depend on the weather conditions, and where the car users park their vehicles because the most important part of getting the extra 60 miles will be having the right amount of solar power for your EV Solar Kit to gain energy from. 

Hunting for Alien Megastructures

In 2015, the astronomers of NASA stated that they had discovered an object, which was later on known as Tabby’s star, which blocked out about 22% of the light from its parent star named as KIC 8462852. This discovery was made by NASA’s planet hunting Kepler space observatory. It’s called a Megastructure because the largest planet, Jupiter, would only block out about 1% of a star’s light which means that this object is possibly very huge. Some astronomers thought it was a cloud of comets, and some thought it was maybe the debris from a recently destroyed planet but another guess was an Alien Megastructure.

Kepler Space Telescope

Ann Marie Cody, a researcher scientist at NASA and the SETI Institute stated in an interview with Vice that “[It’s] essentially any artificial structure built by an intelligent civilization perhaps for energy harvesting purposes”. Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is currently working to find Alien Megastructures, and they try to find these huge objects by looking at large amounts of stars, capturing their photos and then translating them in an order of brightness. This procedure is followed when a planet-like object passes in front of the star and dims the brightness of the star’s light. Ann Marie Cody stated that if an artificial object passed in front of a star, it creates a different light signature compared to passing natural objects. The abnormal light signature will help identify the unusual object.

There still haven’t been any Alien Megastructures detected yet but there could be a high chance of some unusual objects being present and the SETI says that they will inform the world if they identify any artificial Alien Megastructure. Ann Marie Cody also stated in the interview with Vice that “we don’t want science to be happening behind closed doors,” and that “we want the public to see that it’s a process. It’s not just like you discover something instantly and there it is. You’ve got to follow-up and test all hypotheses.”

These Alien Megastructures are also known as Dyson Spheres and they look like ​​dark embers when viewed through infrared telescopes. In 1960, a scientist known as Freeman Dyson said that these Alien Megastructures were a sign of alien life and after over 60 years later, scientists are still searching for proof of alien life. There are already some red herrings that naturally exist in the galaxy which can be very similar to the artificial Dyson Spheres or Alien Megastructures and astronomers are finding it hard to tell the difference between them. The best way to find these Dyson Spheres is to look for them around supermassive black holes, or any high energy astrophysical objects.