Will artificial intelligence have a conscience?

The season 4 of Westworld It’s imminent: Dolores, Charlotte, and Caleb might surprise us. Will the robot revolution ever end? We’ll find out on its release day, June 26. In the meantime, why don’t you ask a question consciousness ? Surrounding the series, in every season: from the first episode where each host seems to follow a precise script, to the final season in which humans implant their minds in synthetic objects.

Season 4 will be released on June 26 on OCS. © HBO, YouTube

How do we define consciousness?

Intelligence, consciousness, intellect, or even the living: many terms whose definitions do not reach consensus. This is one of the mysteries that has surrounded us for hundreds, even thousands of years: Where does our consciousness come from and how is it defined? Several theories depend on it, but they are mostly distinguished from conscience, and self conscious. One is geared more towards waking and thinking skills, and the other is geared towards distinguishing itself from other living beings around us: it is this self-awareness that bestows free will and moral values ​​or takes into account the world around us. One can quote famous people too Cogito ergo sum “, where I think so am I by mathematician and philosopher Rene Descarteswhich ascribes to thought a form of certainty in existence.

Experiments have shown that in addition to humans, there are other self-aware animals. In particular, the study showed that The elephants Part of it: They didn’t just pass the ‘Test Mirror stain”, and they end up wiping a mark drawn on their heads after looking at themselves in the mirror, but also touching the carpet. An Asian elephant was able to realize that his body was on a carpet, blocking the passage of a stick attached to the same carpet.

Science often works by mimicking nature, that is, by drawing inspiration from living things. So digitizing human consciousness is a logical step in creating an artificial intelligence that is supposed to emulate or exceed our capabilities. Futura-Sciences interviewed Jean-Claude Heudin, Director of the Research Laboratory at IIM (Institute for Internet and Multimedia) in order to understand the difficulties of such an undertaking. © Futura

on the side of the brain, areas of consciousness remain untraceable for the time being. However, researchers have succeeded in mapping the brain for several Different states of consciousness : during the SleepsThe coma Or when the person is awake. And they found differences in the interactions between regions: in conscious people they are more dynamic and complex, while in unconscious people they become simpler, occurring only between regions that are directly related to each other. As for the areas of consciousness, they will be located in brainstem About the awakening area, then in prefrontal cortex. The ultimate goal of finding all of these areas is to map the brain. Using a real map of cognitive functions and their location, researchers can then transplant the same structure into a file artificial intelligence.

Finally, theory A The quantum origin of consciousness : Objective Coordinating Reduction Theory of Consciousness, often called Orch Or Theory. It was proposed by a mathematician for the first time Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hammeroff at the University of Arizona, attribute consciousness to quantum computations in the brain. Controversial because the brain’s hot and humid environment may be too disturbing for quantum effects to survive, it assumes electrical oscillations in microtubules, tiny structures located in nervous cells from the brain. Currently, researchers are conducting underground experiments to find nearly undetectable radiation from these quantum fluctuations.

key in Westworld“Daydream”

But in WestworldFrom Season 1, we learn that the hosts’ consciousness is built thanks to their “daydreams”: they go through and replay events they experienced during the night, while immersed in an artificial sleep. unlike our dreamsDaydreams consist of real memories, not distorted reality, and do not contain contradictory elements. The next day, just like us, the fragments return to them, and little by little they become aware of themselves. But daydreaming is more than that: robots Westworld Or the hosts as they are called in the series, start hearing a voice in their mind. Arnold, one of the founders of the park, who committed suicide in an attempt to prevent its opening to the public, was convinced that his creations were conscious.

The underlying assumption is first that dreams are paramount in establishing awareness, not just memories, that are already implanted in families. In fact, these memories create an identity for the robot, making it more human, but they are not enough to question its existence. On the other hand, the series talks about a pyramid of consciousness, the first level of which is memory, the second, improvisation (the creation that emerges from a predetermined program), and the third level, personal attention, and upstairs is never explained but we presumably find the famous pronoun there. For this, the character of Arnold, co-founder of the park Westworld It is based on the bi-chamber or bi-chambered theory of the mind founded by psychologist Julian Gaines, the idea that in man’s beginnings He mistook his thoughts for divine sounds. Little by little, this double-chamber would have collapsed, at which point man would have developed a true conscience. This hypothesis was disproved, but it caused quite a stir in the 1980s.

Artificial intelligence systems are advancing more and more, will they pass the Turing Test?

But for a robot, or for an AI that follows a program, the question of consciousness arises differently: How do we make sure that if it develops signs of consciousness, it is real, and not just the result of a computer program? This is the place Turing test Its turn comes, and it was created by the mathematician and cryptographer in the year 1950 Alan Turing. We learn it in Season One: The Garden Westworld Authorized to open after passing this test. It consists in evaluating the ability of artificial intelligence to imitate a human being so perfectly that it is impossible to distinguish it from a real person. Currently, No AI actually passed the testbut Google-owned Gato will be the closest.

Another AI from Google recently sparked controversy: an engineer claimed that laMDA AI has reached a level of consciousness similar to ours. Pour cela, il s’est appuyé sur des dialogues qu’il a entretenus avec l’IA : dans l’un d’eux, elle a affirmé avoir peur de sa désactivation, qu’elle considère comme l’équivalent de la mort chez The human. But Google claimed that all these dialogues are just improvisations on well-known topics. And that there is no trace of conscience there, the engineer has been dismissed. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, like Ethics in AI is still under discussion.

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