I see people actually believing that an AI can gain consciousness. In case anyone is wondering… I’ll tell you now… as a programmer, I believe, an AI will never be self-aware.
An AI is nothing but a script that pulls from a database when certain conditions are met. No matter how big that database gets and no matter how complex the conditions were, the AI will not gain consciousness.
To believe otherwise is like making a handful of goo and thinking that if you make that same goo the size of our planet it will all of a sudden gain consciousness. You don’t have to be a programmer to know that’s illogical. If it didn’t work on a small scale, it will not work on a larger scale.
The only thing we can achieve with programming is the mimicry of self-awareness but not the real thing.
What is consciousness?
The essence of “I” is consciousness, it is vastly different from “My” but closer to “Me”. The latter is a representation of “I”.
If “I” chopped off “My” arm, “I” will not say, ‘that arm is “Me”‘. In essence, YOU are not what YOU possess. “I” am not what “I” possess.
People say, that consciousness is just an illusion of the brain and that the brain is “You”, thus when the brain is dead, “You” are dead. That may be so, but what of those who lost a portion of their brain?
If you removed half of a person’s brain and they managed to survive, would they say, “That part of the brain that “I” lost is “Me”"? No, right?
They will experience the lost of “My” but not the lost of “I”. Because the “I” is not the parts. Even if that person is unable to process things like they normally would — the “I” in them remains intact. It can suffer from the complexity of their “I” but it does not suffer from the sense of being “halved” or “Portioned”. It continues to experience the wholeness of their “I”.
Even the most mentally insane, brain-damaged person continues to experience the wholeness of their “I”.
And even with the lost of all memory, the “I” remains intact. So “I” is not the or the product of all our memories either. I know because I’ve experience the lost of all my memories before but “I” did not feel the lost of a portion of “I”, only the lost of “My”.
So even if you make a database of memories the size of a galaxy, the AI will not become self-aware. Because the issue is not in the size but of the recipe.
Even our own definition of “losing consciousness or awareness” is never tied to our brain or body parts. It is understandable to mistake it being tied to our brain because when your brain cease certain functions you may pass out or even be declared clinically dead.
But how about when a person is lost in thoughts or their mind is “somewhere else”? Why do we describe the person as having lost awareness? So, what do we make of that? The brain is still there, functioning properly and is completely intact, how can that person lose awareness? Does that mean the “I” in every person have the power to temporarily leave the body/brain or physical realm? If so, what happens when “it”, the “I” does not come back?
The thing is, we are making judgement as an observer of the physical world. When we see no sign of awareness we think it no longer exist or temporarily non-existent. But to the experiencer, the “I” was just somewhere else, in the non-physical world of thoughts or dreams.
We can say that thoughts are non-physical world created by the brain and the “I” can get lost in it. Therefore when the brain dies, the non-physical world of thoughts is gone as well. But what about the “I”? Does it also die with the brain? What exactly is it?
So I will not argue if “I” is an illusion created by the brain or a result/embodiment of its processes. I don’t know that. I don’t know if it continues to exist after the death of the brain or not. But I will definitely argue that it is a completely separate entity that may or may not have been created by the brain or its processes.
Here’s why I think that. Whenever you hear a person say “I lost a part of Me”, it is never their body parts or parts of their brain or processes because those— are NOT the “I” or “Me”, those are the “My”.
The interesting part is when people do say that, it is often because of the experience of losing another person/being. It’s interesting in the sense that the person lost is outside of the person’s body/brain and its processes.
Bear with me on this, you may have to read this a few times to get what I’m trying to say, because I’m not very good at explaining things…
Regardless whether “I” is an illusion of the brain or not; it is interesting that it is able to experience oneness with another “I” created by a different brain, to the point that if this other “I” is lost, it feels a sense of lost of a part of itself. Thus, “I” lost a part of “Me”(the other “I”).
And YET this “I” who is capable of experiencing oneness with other “I”s feel absolutely no kinship to the brain that parented it. That even if you chopped off half of that brain, the “I” does not experience a loss of a part of itself. Another interesting thing is that the “I” never mistakes itself as the brain, and it actually refers to it in a possesive form. E.g. “My” brain.
Analyze that for a few moments. Does that not blow your mind away? Because it does mine.
I will stop right here before I go even deeper into this rabbit hole and finish this off where I started which is about AI and self-awareness/consciousness.
Everything I said here is not to say that it’s impossible to create a self-aware organism. The fact that we– a self-aware organism, exists; proves the possibility of it. What I’m saying is, it would take more than just programming / building algorithms and large databases to achieve it. There is a non-tangible ingredient missing and we are nowhere close to discovering it.