#25 — Human Consciousness and AI: What Does the Future Hold? with Susan Schneider and Rachel St. Clair
In this episode, we examine Human Consciousness and AI, and particularly the popular idea that AI will become conscious at some point.
Because conscious brains are the product of enormous periods of evolution and environmental conditions that keep changing in basic ways, the popular idea that machine consciousness is just around the corner is questioned by Bernard Baars. But very important ethical and practical questions are already emerging today.
Social media has trouble distinguishing between human messages and bots, and we are already seeing AI being used in armed drones in a major European war in the Ukraine. All kinds of important ethical and practical questions are already facing the world. In some ways, this is like the early days of nuclear weapons - people around the world are wondering what the new technologies will bring. What does the future hold?
AI technology is developing faster than most of us expected. The worldwide web has triggered a great information explosion that continues in wave after wave. Historically, information explosions are often very disruptive, as in the rise of the printing press, of radio and television, and now the spread of intelligent computers. Human beings need time to adjust to fast changes.
So today, we will discuss the future of Artificial Intelligence in relation to human consciousness, including major ethical questions raised by philosophers and others. We also discuss some of the latest promising, and positive, scientific advances in AI.
Our special guest is Dr. Susan Schneider, Founding Director of the Center for the Future Mind at Florida Atlantic University, where she also holds the William F. Dietrich Distinguished Professorship. She is co-director of the MPCR Lab at FAU’s new Gruber Sandbox, a large facility which builds AI systems drawing from neuroscience research and philosophical developments.
Susan recently completed a three year project with NASA on the future of intelligence. She now works with the United States Congress on AI policy. Susan is also an author, and her current book “Artificial You'' discusses the philosophical implications of AI, and, in particular, the enterprise of “mind design.”
Also joining us today is postdoctoral fellow Rachel St. Clair, the founder and CEO of Simuli Inc., whose passion and goal is to help build beneficial AGI.
0:00 - Intro
3:07 - How Our Understanding of AI is Changing Rapidly
10:47 - Urgent Ethical Questions about AI-controlled Weapons
16:20 - Dan Dennett's Position on Treating Humanoid AI as Counterfeits
19:50 - Can Computers Emulate Biological Brains?
30:58 - Science and Philosophy Use the Same Words with Very Different Meanings.
36:23 - Scientifically, the Cortex is the Organ of Consciousness.
46:34 - Is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) possible? How Do We Build AGI Safely?
52:44 - Does "Conscious" AGI Need a Global Workspace Architecture?
01:03:53 - Beyond Mind-Body Debates
01:13:38 - Advances in Artificial Intelligence
01:19:42 - Some Risks of Augmenting Human Abilities
01:23:20 - Thought Manipulation, Invasive Surveillance and Mass Deception
01:27:10 - Closing Statements
— Website and Social Media —
— Susan Schneider —
Center for the Future Mind: https://www.fau.edu/future-mind/
Susan's Latest Book "Artificial You": https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691180144/artificial-you
Florida Atlantic University Profile: https://www.fau.edu/artsandletters/philosophy/susan-schneider/index/
Center for the Future Mind Twitter: https://twitter.com/CenFutureMind
— Rachel St. Clair —
Rachel's Startup Simuli, Inc.: https://www.simuli.ai/
MPCR Lab Profile: https://mpcrlab.com/people/Rachel-St-Clair/
Producer: Nat Geld