Can We Give Consciousness To AI?

Original article was published by Nicolas Gatien on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


Can We Give Consciousness To AI?

Have you ever wondered if we could give consciousness to AI? During the 4th session of The Knowledge Society, some of the students (myself included) discussed this topic. I rounded up a bunch of questions, points, and answers that were brought up and put them in this article.

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So… Can We Give Consciousness To AI?

Yes? No? Maybe? Immediately, this question brings up another: “What is consciousness?”. Humans have yet to come up with a definitive answer to this question. Here are some thoughts and ideas that came up in our discussion about the question:

What Is Consciousness?

  • Anything that feels the need to survive is conscious.
  • Anything living is conscious.
  • Anything that feels physical or psychological pain is conscious.
  • There are different levels of consciousness. For example, a mosquito is conscious but not as conscious as a human.

After looking at these examples, we ask the question again. Can we give consciousness to AI, and Should we?.

Should We Give Consciousness To AI?

Giving consciousness to AI could potentially introduce a lot of new problems, but could also provide some benefits. There were a lot of questions being thrown around in this part of the discussion. All answers provided are opinions and ideas from students at The Knowledge Society.

Would It Have Malicious Intent?

  • Yes, it would have malicious intent. Humans have done absolutely horrible things. Killing all humans would be a very valid way of saving the planet, or stopping more animals from becoming extinct.
  • Maybe? It would have the same amount of chance as a regular human to be mean or evil. Humans are mostly a mix of evil and good so an AI would probably be the same. Since we would be copying human consciousness instead of inventing another one it would act like a human, think like a human, and probably think it is a human.

If It Were Conscious Would It Die?

  • It could, either by the hardware being to damaged and not working anymore or by us making them die after a certain amount of time. But is it ethically right to make something, only for it to die? Imagine you learned that no matter what you do, you will die. But the only reason is that someone MADE it that way. You probably wouldn’t be very happy.
  • No, it wouldn’t die. The hardware might ware off, but the actual brain could be moved to another body. It might find a way to automatically do this by connecting to another electronic?

Should We Give It Death?

  • No! Definitely not! It is ethically wrong to make something only for it to die. If it ever learned that we are making it die, it would make the probability of it becoming aggressive much higher.
  • Yeah, probably. If it doesn’t die it won’t have a sense of time. Even if it’s ethically wrong, if something does go wrong then it would only last for a certain amount of time before dying.
  • Yes! Without death, there is no life. Without dying, it wouldn’t need to survive which makes it not conscious.

Would We Be Able To Control It?

  • Yeah, but it would be ethically wrong to play God with a conscious being.
  • No, absolutely not. When you think about it, conscious AI would be able to think at least a hundred times faster than humans. It would outgrow humans by a lot, getting to the point where it could control us if it wanted.

Would It Fit In Our Society?

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  • Yes and no. It would understand our society, and if humans treated it as a human then the answer would be yes. But considering some people don’t treat other humans as humans. It would be welcomed by many and rejected by many as well.

Final Thoughts:

  • We definitely will be able to give consciousness to AI in the future, but we shouldn’t. Sure it would have a lot of benefits but the risks outweigh the advantages.
  • Giving consciousness to AI is too much of a big task, the best humans will ever do is replicated human consciousness. Since it would just be human consciousness there is no reason not to. It would just be another human but in a mechanical body.
  • Yeah! We can make consciousness and give it to AI. Imagine having an answer to any one of your questions in a matter of seconds: “What is the meaning of life?”, or “Is there more intelligent life?”. Sure there would be risks that come with it, but it would be so useful!
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There are a lot of questions that are associated with this discussion. hopefully this article helped you come to a conclusion of your own. Do you think we can give consciousness to AI? If so, Should we?