October 19, 2021
Humans may not be Earth’s most intelligent species for much longer: the world chess, Go, and Jeopardy! champions are now all AIs. Given the rapid pace of progress in AI, many predict that AI could advance to human-level intelligence within the next several decades. From there, it could quickly outpace human intelligence. What do these developments mean for the future of the mind?
In this talk, Susan Schneider urges that it is inevitable that AI will take intelligence in new directions, but it is up to us to carve out a sensible path forward. As AI technology turns inward, reshaping the brain, as well as outward, potentially creating machine minds, it is crucial to beware. Homo sapiens, as mind designers, will be playing with “tools” they do not understand how to use: the self, the mind, and consciousness. An insufficient grasp of the nature of self, consciousness, and mind could undermine the use of AI and brain enhancement technology, bringing about the demise or suffering of conscious beings. To flourish, we must grasp the philosophical issues lying beneath the algorithms.
At the heart of this is a sober-minded discussion of what AI can truly achieve: Can robots really be conscious? Can we merge with AI, as tech leaders like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil, suggest? Is your mind just a program?
Examining these issues, Susan will discuss the ways we can test for machine consciousness, question whether consciousness is an unavoidable by product of sophisticated intelligence, and consider the overall dangers of creating machine minds.