When The Turing Test Is Not Enough - George Dvorsky - H+ Summit @ Harvard

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Empirical research that works to identify those characteristics requisite for the identification of nonhuman persons are proving increasingly insufficient, particularly as neuroscientists further refine functionalist models of cognition. To say that an agent "appears" to have awareness or intelligence is inadequate. Rather, what is required is the discovery and understanding of those processes in the brain that are responsible for capacities such as self-awareness, empathy and emotion. Subsequently, the shift to a neurobiological basis for personhood will have implications for those hoping to develop self-aware artificial intelligence and brain emulations. The Turing Test alone cannot identify machine consciousness; instead, computer scientists will need to work off the functionalist model and be mindful of those processes that produce awareness. Because the potential to do harm is significant, an effective and accountable machine ethics needs to be considered. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as citizen-scientists to develop a rigorous understanding of personhood so that we can identify and work with machine minds in the most compassionate and considerate manner possible.

Canadian futurist, biopolitical activist and animal rights advocate, George Dvorsky has written and spoken extensively about the impacts of cutting-edge science and technology. He is the Director of Operations for Commune Media and has more than 10 years' experience in media, arts and communications. With relationships forged across several continents, he has managed international accounts for leading brands. In addition to his work with Commune, George serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and is the co-founder and president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association. George has been interviewed by such publications as The Guardian, the BBC, Radio Free Europe, and Beliefnet. He made an appearance on the CBC's The Hour and has been profiled in NOW and This Magazine.

Published in: Technology, Spiritual

When The Turing Test Is Not Enough - George Dvorsky - H+ Summit @ Harvard

  1. When the Turing Test is not enough Functionalist determinations of consciousness and the advent of an authentic machine ethics George Dvorsky Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
  2. Overview 1. Introduction 2. The problem 3. Ethical Implications 4. Solutions 5. Next steps for the citizen scientist
  3. Introduction • Machine consciousness is a neglected area • Machine ethics is even further behind • We need to think about this preemptively • A complex issue that combines science, philosophy, ethics and law • A separate issue from robot ethics
  4. What we’re not talking about
  5. “Big Dog” NO MORAL WORTH
  6. What we’re talking about Subjective awareness → moral worth
  7. The Problem • Persistence of vitalism • Scientific ignorance, defeatism and denial • Fixation on AI • Human exceptionalism and substrate chauvinism • Empiricism versus true scientific understanding
  8. The Problem • Persistence of vitalism • Scientific ignorance, defeatism and denial • Fixation on AI • Human exceptionalism and substrate chauvinism • Empiricism versus true scientific understanding
  9. The Problem • The Turing Test • A purely behavioral approach • Conflates intelligence with consciousness • Inadequately assesses intelligence • Subject to the anthropomorphic fallacy • Fails to account for the difficulty in articulating conscious awareness
  10. The Problem Just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn’t mean it is a duck. Moreover, it doesn’t mean you understand the duck. “What I cannot create I cannot understand.” - Richard Feynman This is why you need to build the duck.
  11. Ethical Implications • AI/AC experimentation • Human augmentation • Whole brain emulation/ uploads • Maintaining social cohesion and justice
  12. Solutions 1. Adopt cognitive functionalism as a methodological approach 2. Identify and develop functions sufficient for bringing about subjective awareness in AI 3. Expand protections in the legal realm
  13. Solutions • Cognitive functionalism as a methodological approach: The proof is in the pudding • Map the ‘organs of consciousness’ and awareness- specific cognitive function • Build an AC • Identify functional analogues in AC
  14. Solutions • Mapping the ‘organs of conscious function’ • Bernard Baars (1988) • Definition and context setting • Adaptation and learning • Editing • Flagging and debugging • Recruiting and control • Decision-making (executive function) • Analogy forming-function • Metacognitive and self-monitoring function • Autoprogramming and self- maintenance function • Definitional and context-setting function
  15. Solutions • Mapping the ‘organs of conscious function’ • Igor Aleksander (1995) • Brain as state machine • Inner neuron partitioning • Conscious and unconscious states • Perceptual learning and memory • Prediction • Self-Awareness • Representation and meaning • Learning utterances • Learning language • Will • Instinct • Emotion
  16. Solutions • Mapping personhood-specific cognitive function • Joseph Fletcher (1988) • Minimum intelligence • Self-awareness and self-control • A sense of time, future and past • The capability of relating to others • Concern for others • Communication • Control of existence • Curiosity • Change and changeability • Balance of rationality and feeling • Idiosyncrasy • Neocortical functioning
  17. Solutions • Identification of functional analogues in AC: • Knowing which mechanisms are responsible for the emergence of sentience • Identifying functions responsible for the emergence of self- awareness • Recognizing these functions in a synthesized context
  18. Solutions • Expanded protections in the legal realm • Laws to protect machine minds • Basic fundamental rights as accorded to any person • Additionally, qualifying AC’s have right to: • Not be shut down • Not be experimented upon • Not have its source code manipulated against its will • Own its own source code • Have full and unhindered access to its own source code • Privacy (right to its own internal mental states) • Self-determination
  19. Next steps for the citizen scientist • Support the neurosciences • Recognize and promote the concept of non-human animal sentience and personhood, including the idea that animals are not property • Advocate for legally binding rights that protect non-human animals • Oppose the patenting of life, genomes and functional equivalents • Be prepared to use these legal precedents for when AC emerges
  20. For more info: Web: Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Blog: Sentient Developments Email: george@sentientdevelopments.com Twitter: @GeorgeDvorsky George Dvorsky Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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