The future of the mind: Exploring machine consciousness

What if consciousness is just a blip in the universe, a momentary flowering of experience that is unique to life in early technological civilizations—but eventually vanishes?

  • The hard problem of consciousness, as coined by the philosopher David Chalmers, asks: Why must we be conscious? Given that the brain is an information processing engine, why does it need to feel like anything to be us?
  • The problem of AI consciousness is equally complicated. We know humans are conscious, but when it comes to AI, the question is: Could the AIs that we humans develop be conscious beings? Could it feel like something to be them? And how could we possibly know for sure, short of them telling us?
  • How might superintelligence render consciousness extinct? Over 6 chapters in this video, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider explores the philosophical problems that underlie the development of AI and the nature of conscious minds.
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Androids that offer "digital immortality" begin mass production in Russia

A company claims to make the world's first humanoid android and offers 'digital immortality".

Promobot
  • Promobot, a Russian company, makes the world's first humanoid android.
  • The model Robo-C robot can't walk but has a sophisticated personality AI.
  • The android can be made to look like any human.
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Green jobs now employ 10x more people than fossil fuel

The green market is growing exponentially. But will the U.S. seize the economic opportunity?

Photo credit: aaaaimages / Getty Images
  • The United States green economy now employs 10 times more people than the fossil fuel industry, providing nearly 9.5 million jobs.
  • In the face of a global climate catastrophe, the green economy is destined to keep rising at an exponential rate over the next decade.
  • Rather than seize this golden economic opportunity, the Trump administration has promised to protect coal and mining jobs while eviscerating funds from green energy.
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The power of Moore’s law: Predicting the future

The power to predict the next revolution keeps companies on top.

  • In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore observed that the number of transistors placed in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years, meaning computing power doubles while the size of devices shrink. This is known as Moore's law.
  • IBM was king of the heap in the 1950s, says physicist Michio Kaku, however it failed to read Moore's law as a sign that supercomputers would be replaced by smart phones — handheld devices that contain more computing power than NASA at the time of the Moon landing.
  • Microsoft rose up in IBM's ashes by predicting the age of personal computing, but they too failed to account for an exponential change: the internet. The next revolution is 5G and AI, and companies who are setting themselves up for that future will be the ones who rise to the top.
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Conscious machines: How will we test artificial intelligence for feeling?

A review of the multifaceted questions we'll ask to determine whether robots have a felt quality of experience — an "inner feel."

  • The reason we entertain thought experiments such as reincarnation and an afterlife is because we're sentient beings. These concepts are innate to our experiences as conscious human beings.
  • The ACT test probes A.I. to examines whether it can grasp these questions — i.e., the mind existing separately from the body, or the system without the computer. If so, then there's reason to believe it's a conscious being.
  • For machines to develop consciousness, they will need to have the right architectural features. For instance, for humans we possess a working memory, attention, and brain stems — all of which serve as the neural basis of our conscious experience. If there is a machine analog to these things, then it may suggest that the machines are conscious as well.
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