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.