Reply To: Stop Press: AI researchers install a Right Hemisphere

  • Whit Blauvelt

    May 8, 2023 at 3:35 pm


    You say “Actually not just in Indian philosophy but universally among
    contemplatives, ‘Consciousness’ (with a capital ‘C’) is the energy of
    which all ‘things’ in the universe are made of.” Okay. My view is when the word is defined thus, you’ve made “Consciousness” mean nothing — not just “no thing,” but meaningless.

    What we’re concerned with, in discussing AI, should be whether any AI can ever rightly be considered the equivalent of human, a living being. A pile of rocks, per your contemplatives, is “Conscious.” Yet to treat a pile of rocks with the same respect and consideration as you treat another human being would entirely miss the point as to the value of human beings.

    The tree outside my window may in some sense be a conscious being. There’s fascinating recent research on plants leaning towards such a conclusion. The car parked under the tree is not. And the car that will be parked under that tree a decade from now, with an advanced AI in it, also will not be a conscious being.

    If we are to care properly for life, we should distinguish it from what is not alive. The threat of AI is that too many people will mistake it for conscious beings, to the detriment of the real conscious being which deserve our love and compassion.