ADMONITION TO AI INTELLIGENTSIA ASKING THEMSELVES IF MACHINES CAN THINK
Comments in Medium to Barry Gander’s The Soul In The Silicon: Can Machines Think?
Since AI machines are extensions of our minds like hammers are of our bodies, it is as conceivable from the point of view of evolution for machines to think as it would be for hammers to digest the nails they’re hammering. AI does to our thoughts what hammers do to nails; it helps us think in ways that we couldn’t without it.
As conscious individuals, our thoughts are the product of our minds. They are as different from our brain activities as matter characteristics are from the protons, neutrons, and electrons composing them. Or, for that matter, as water, citric acid, and DNA are from the atoms composing them, all these material substances have emergent properties not present in any of their elements.
Indeed, platinum, gold, and mercury are as different from each other as Peter, Paul, and Mary are. The former is because they have one set of different composites, i.e., elements: 78, 79, and 80, and the latter because of the different thoughts they produce in their minds
“A solution to the hard problem would involve an account of the relation between physical processes and consciousness, explaining on the basis of natural principles how and why it is that physical processes are associated with states of experience.” David Chalmers
That solves the mind/body problem since the mind is an emergent property of the brain’s “physical processes,” as platinum, gold, and mercury are emergent properties of the particles composing them. Therefore, as there is no particle/gold problem since it is accepted that gold has different properties than its components, there is no mind/body problem since the mind’s main characteristic is to create, at a higher level of organization, “qualia” (appearances) from the “quantum processes” of our brains, which are themselves part of the noumena (thing-in-themselves).
Because it took our species billions of years and millions of “evolutionary emergence” to acquire the capacity to think, never in a billion years will machines be able to think since they will never be part of the same evolutionary process as we have been, them being a simple extension of one element of this process.
The belief that machines will eventually think is the ultimate hubris.
Even though AI is one of humanity’s most significant realizations, it will never think because to think, it will have to become conscious of living in “space” and “time,” and no machine will ever acquire this consciousness since it took evolution billions of years to make such a regrettable move with humanity.
AI is, up till now, the most significant human accomplishment as the alphabet, writing reeds, the printing press, and computers have been for communication.
Here, I don’t say “writing, printing, or computing” since these are done by “thinking” self-conscious individuals, which AI cannot be because it is an electronic instrument functioning at a lower level of consciousness — consciousness being the main substratum of reality (my working hypothesis).
Billions of years ago, as Homo, we became (proto*) self-conscious individuals who had to transcend their biological nature to create the tools they needed to survive in the Savannah.
This biological transcendence made us integrate the spatiotemporal niche that has permitted our species to eventually survive in a biosphere that it has depleted because of a lack of competition and self-control.
*I say “proto” because it took our genus millions of years to function as self-conscious individuals in space and time. Before that, we were unconsciously building the substratum of our spatiotemporal consciousness while instilling in our collective unconscious, generations after generations, the necessary notions of space and time we were “unconsciously” acquiring through experiences of hunting, gathering, communicating, painting, cultivating, and accumulating, etc. Essential concepts (space and time), which are the substratum of our humanity and which Kant wrongly assumed to be “a priori independent of experiences.”
All other living entities live in space and time but for themselves, none having yet acquired the capacity to conceptualize ‘space’ and ‘time,’ the sine-qua-non notions needed to “objectify” reality and “think” about it.
For example, squirrels know to hide the nuts they will need and where they are when they need them later. However, hey cannot communicate this knowledge to others because they cannot mentally conceptualize it.
That AI will eventually be able to think is a category fallacy. AI is in the same category as the printing press and computer but not the same as thinking because the former are made of matter, and the latter is an activity created by evolved “mental individuals” who have transcended their biological nature.
Machines cannot be self-conscious because they are material entities functioning at electronic levels missing the billions of years of punctuated evolution needed to become self-conscious.
No offense is intended to the AI intelligentsia. On the contrary, I hope AI becomes very significant for developing a “collective consciousness,” for which the Internet will be the “frontal lobe” necessary for the survival of our species in a global environment alien to our individual consciousness.
Here’s the title of my dissertation, which I edited after reading in Medium Katrina Paulson’s Research Suggests Consciousness Uses Quantum Entanglement
QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS; A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION IN UNDERSTANDING:
Towards a Theory of Everything Based on the Realization that Human Specialization Is an Anomaly* of Evolution
Before this reading, the title was:
I used “Defining Ourselves in Quantum Terms …” because this is what Copernicus did to open an era of scientific discoveries: he defined the earth in planetary terms unifying thus the realms of earth and heavens. This is what we need to do now, define ourselves in quantum terms to unify classical and quantum mechanics.
*Specialization is the Anomaly that AI will help us resolve by helping us develop an integrated “collective consciousness” allowing us to understand where our species stand in evolution and where it should be heading in the future, as the telescope did for our perception of where we stand in space and allowed us to explore it eventually.
PS You should follow me. I will write my dissertation piecemeal on Medium, so it can be followed and commented on.
If I am right that all of the human knowledge has been erected on notions of space and time that are as wrong as geocentrism was, my dissertation will be as significant as Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium has been.
As an integrated member of a nascent collective consciousness, I will use well-researched specialized portions of the Internet as “lexicons,” as I use dictionaries and thesauri without quoting them. Then, of course, I will mention the authors, but only when they are long portions of text or when learning something new that I could use to advance a theory based on an original understanding of space and time, on which I have toiled alone as a learned-ignorant generalist for the last 45 years.