08.12.15 – When is AI no longer AI?

Why Do We Create AI

Throughout history, we have strived to create a better life for ourselves by constantly improving our quality of life and finding better ways to efficiently carry out everyday tasks. Our need for more power and having bigger and better things is probably the reason as to why Artificial Intelligence was created in the first place: in order to make our lives easier.

Most artificially intelligent robots are built in a way that makes them look as realistic as possible and are often made in our image, imitating our features and appearance. Why is this? Why do we decide to manufacture them in a way that resembles the human body? Does it make us feel more at ease, therefore increasing their appeal and our eagerness to interact with them? Some might say that it creates a deeper and more intimate experience and that there is a higher chance of us relating to something that looks similar to us rather than interacting with a box full of wires and components.

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When Does AI Stop Being Artificial?

After watching the above video, we discussed the question mentioned: Do you think it is a good idea to give machines intelligence including self-awareness and consciousness? And why?

Groups250x180The class split into two groups:
those who approve of it and those who are against it.

The people who are in favour stated that giving such abilities to machines would improve our quality of life even further making it less burdensome. Furthermore, witnessing and experiencing such technological advancements would be quite exciting.

The rest were not so keen on the idea as they believed that giving them the ability to think for themselves would lead to some sort of uprising resulting in machines surpassing humans. Another point that was raised was the potential threat of machines taking over certain mundane jobs which could lead to the unemployment of many people.


 AI In Video Games

The man in the above-mentioned video refers to neuroscientist Christof Koch who believes that a combination of complex systems interacting could potentially give rise to conciousness. Is this possible? Video games are the perfect example of this since they are ultimately a system made up of information relay points all communicating with each other.

We discussed games such as Alien Isolation, F.E.A.R, and Bioshock Infinite which are all games containing characters, allies and/or enemies, that are considered to act in a way that is extremely logical, clever and tactical.

On the other hand, some games sorely lack having any sort of skillful NPC’s making them vulnerable to criticism, mockery and plain humiliation.

However, a game showcasing advanced artificial intelligence and involving systems that can effectively and efficiently communicate with the different entities needed in order to perform certain tasks does not make it clever. It does not have a mind of its own and is quite simply the result of extremely good coding.


Ethics of Sentience

equalityIf, for the sake of the argument, in future years we are to develop some sort of artificial intelligence that does have consciousness and could feel and empathize like us humans can, will we change our perception of them and treat them as fellow humans deserving of fundamental legal rights such as freedom of thought, movement and expression? Or would we still acknowledge them as mere objects and machines made for one purpose only: that of simplifying our life and giving us pleasure?

In films such as Blade Runner and Ex Machina we see advanced
artificially intelligent androids which clearly display signs of conciousness and awareness but, despite this, are still abused and oppressed rather than treated as equals and accepted as something other than a mere gadget or commodity.

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Thoughts

ProgressSome may agree that what defines us as humans is having certain characteristics and traits such a desire and self-improvement which we strive to achieve and maintain. The reason we are so apprehensive of death is because we have a desire to experience more and gain more knowledge as we go along. We constantly seek new ways to improve and better ourselves and work towards leaving our mark on the world or making some sort of impact.

My opinion is that it is highly unlikely that artificial intelligence could develop a conciousness of its own as I think having a conscious requires more than just a network of systems all working together. Having said that, if and when it does happen, our behaviour towards the “machines” should be civil and courteous; perhaps even treating them as equals and giving them the same amount of respect we would give to any other human.

man-machine

…Unfortunately I doubt I would be still be alive and well to witness such a potential technological breakthrough…
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