The difference between AI and consciousness is ‘plasticity’!
A computer like ‘Watson’ can outperform humans in language tests, such as when it beat people in the game-show ‘jeopardy‘, which is not just a game of questions and answers but is cryptic too.
An AI could potentially outperform us on any specific intelligence test, and I believe will do in the future.
Here it defeats the measly humans;
In an experiment, a small amount of neurons were connected to a small vehicle with wheels and sensors, as soon as it was connected the neurons reorganised themselves so as to be able to use the machine to move around effectively in a controlled environment.
The difference is that with consciousness what we have is something akin to Turing’s ‘bomb’ when we are infants and ‘Watson’ as adults. Yet the brain is not one then the next level of machine, it is always somewhere in-between, somewhere between machines. Imagine that Turing’s machine was constantly morphing rather than purely computing, that is cogs and wheels changed shape, size and their connections, until it become the next generation of machine. Only in this case it is constantly doing that rather than starting as one machine then becoming the next.
So the brain is not just a magnificent machine, but it is a great many machines. Not only that but it can change to many versions of complex machines as it feels it needs to, this is how it ‘learns’. an AI wont learn in this human sense, it only learns by adding data mechanistically and based on the set of date it has to compare new informations with. Even the most advanced computer needs a programmer to adjust for changes it cant cope with. Having said that I would assume that if you had enough powerful computers and data, then just about anything in the world could be deduced mechanistically.
So can an AI be made conscious?
Not mechanistically I.e. without plasticity. Even a quantum computer would be mechanistic, it simply adds an extra factor to the current binary mechanics of computers.
What you need for artificial consciousness is continuous change in the machine not just its processes, the whole thing has to be completely plastic or fluid in some way. One could argue that we may as well just use neurons or perhaps there is a way to make artificial neurons. The biology is the key to plasticity imho, unless there is a more profound method, after all nature had to build up to intelligence, but a robot or conscious computer doesn’t require that.
The only thing I can think of which may achieve conscious intelligence other than doing it biologically*, is something which utilises probability.
At the probabilistic level of physics matter is in flux, so if there to be found a way to combine that with quantum computing, then we’d have a thinking conscious machine which is plastic both physically and computationally.
*in which case you are not achieving anything nature hasn’t already done, so its not imho fully artificial and synthetic.
So now you have ‘conscious intelligence’, would that consciousness have a mind?
Right, so we have gone beyond the mimic of AI, is CAI [conscious artificial intelligence] simply a more perfect replication of what we think we are or experience ourselves to be, a more accurate mimic?
We have to continue to ask such things.
The key for me is in creating the right conditions for life, but mostly its all in the ‘plasticity’, which seems to be a, or the most fundamental nature of reality, and cannot be described in any particular parts of existence, only in collaborations of such.