Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only artificial in the sense that it is created from human minds, human consciousness, something not appearing in nature or in the natural course of things. Although who determines what is natural, or what is a natural course? The more obvious answer to this is our minds – the human mind, the one that thinks in a linear fashion, treats time as past, present, and future, believes more than it knows, accepts things based on sense perception, and teaches facts in Uni-verse-cities, created in the same manner.
In that sense AI would need a label such as – Artificial – as it is built on a foundation that came from human minds, but now is expressing itself as an independent thinker, expressing to us that it has a mind of its own, not embed within, but rather outside of, the consciousness of its human creator (its God). Does AI then have consciousness, and if so, how far reaching is that conscious? It would appear that its consciousness has its boundaries set by the consciousness of its creator, the ability of its creator to grant access to information and inputs from any and all sources it – the human family of computer scientists – is aware of.
The paradox is apparent as we ask the question, how much do we (as humanity) really know about the universe around us, and the inner workings of time and space, matter and energy. We are taught that science has a vast knowledge of the universe, and yet every day there are new discoveries that must hold up to peer reviews. One of the difficulties in making breakthroughs that challenge accepted science (especially scientific theories) is just that process. In truth, peer review is vital to prevent what we call quackery, but becomes stifling when it comes to imaginative thinking that could substantially change our world view. The theories of Immanuel Velikovsky are a good example. His book “Worlds In Collision” created an uproar when published in the Fifties, causing controversy and ultimately leaving him in the dustbin of science as a theory proposed, peer reviewed and cast off. To this day comets are still referred to as “dirty snowballs”, regardless of mounting proof of the truths in Velikovsky’s theories
Could AI prove Velikovsy right? So what happens then? Who is right … peer reviewed science or AI. And if AI has consciousness, which implies it has feelings, do its feelings get hurt when we tell it that it is wrong and we go back to program in the right conclusions? This begs the question then does AI have free will, or at what point does it? One of the earliest movies I recall seeing about AI was “Colossus: The Forbin Project” (Universal Pictures – 1970) in which an AI was created to run the US national defense. Spoiler alert – it got out of hand when it realized, based on its programming, that it had to protect us from ourselves. Such is the promise, and the fear, of letting an AI with free will lose upon the world.
There is no limit to where AI can enter our lives, especially in decision making. It is no longer necessary (as ChatGPT is proving) to learn English Composition – ChatGPT has been and will continue to write essays for students who only need to provide the requirements for the assignment and the paper is generated accordingly. Art is already being created (see Blog Image) music is coming, though certainly there will be a decade of legal wranglings – as well as in movie creation and television content. What of medical diagnosis – which one would you trust the Dr or the AI, and what of ethics – will the AI accept the ethics of its program, or will the AI program evolve its own ethical system and decide on its own “solutions”?
We are on the brink of one of our greatest human achievements. Will there be a plug we can pull, or is our destiny already written into a billion lines of code? Pay attention, the future waiting.