Controversy of the conscious machine and some daydreams

06 Jul

Before any controversy, it is important to understand that the issue of ethics is present in all serious AI (Artificial Intelligence) teams and since the conference in Sweden, several companies and research centers have signed an agreement not to develop lethal machines in AI.

Jean-Gabriel Ganascia has written an important book on the Myth of the Singularity, the point at which the machine would surpass human intelligence and he himself has an ethics section in his lab, as many teams have, including Google.

A recent controversy arose from an interview with Google engineer Blake Lemoine to the Washington Post and having defined the search giant’s AI machine LaMDA as having sentience, Google immediately dismissed it and through its spokesman Brian Gabriel reported that the Blake’s concerns were not “in line with our AI principles and informed him that the evidence does not support his claims”, but the controversy continued.

The first thing to clarify is that sentience has a big difference from consciousness, which means that “perceiving through the senses [in the case of sensing machines [or having impressions, as consciousness there are several definitions, but we are left with that of phenomenology which states that only whether one can speak of consciousness of something, so it depends on the phenomenon and on the intention.

Also for phenomenology, especially for the ontology of Heidegger, his direct descendant (Heidegger was a student of Husserl), Being is described as the abode of language, but one cannot forget that language for Heidegger has a poetic function, that is, in a broader sense than everyday life.

Returning to the sense of sensors, we now have an evolution of the IoT (Internet of Things), one can think of facial expressions, gestures and attitudes that can identify the sentience of a machine, but the awareness of something also means for Heidegger, to reveal the hidden, that which leads us to a clearing of the object or phenomenon, the verification of its ex-sistence, its Being.

Without appealing to philosophy, returning to everyday life, it is possible for a human behavior that emits and develops like a machine, a robotization of our actions, which is also very common in modernity, a “sameness”, poetic language, art and culture comes to the rescue.

As for the technical aspect, it is desirable to know more in depth, while the social aspect cannot fail to observe important technical aspects and their limits, of course, including ethical ones.

For those who want technical details, I recommend Melanie Mitchell’s interview with Zeeshan Aleem: Did a Google create a sentient program ?, there’s a lot of fantasy and fiction out there.



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