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How to Tell if Your AI is Gaining Consciousness?

Scientists have been working on this, and they recently published a list of measurable qualities that might indicate some consciousness in AI.

How to tell if your AI is becoming conscious
Copyright (c) 2017 Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock

Scientists have been questioning if your computer or smartphone, with its AI assistant, could someday develop a consciousness like a human being. A recent New York Times report talks about how they have come up with theories and ideas to help us understand if AI can have consciousness.


Scientists from different fields like philosophy, neuroscience, and computer science are coming together to find ways to tell if an AI might have a form of consciousness.


AI Consciousness Theories


One theory they explored is called "recurrent processing theory." It's all about how our brains process information. When you look at something, your brain sends signals around, and sometimes, it sends them back and forth, creating a loop. This loop might be the key to consciousness. If we can see similar loops in AI, it could be a sign of consciousness.


Another idea is the "global workspace." This theory suggests that our brains have a control center that manages what we pay attention to, what we remember, and what we perceive. If an AI can do something similar, it might have a form of consciousness.


Are the Theories Applicable? 


While the theories make sense on paper, there is a problem with their real-life application. Advanced AI systems are like black boxes. We don't always understand how they work. Even if we had a checklist for consciousness, it might be hard to apply to these machines.


Also, there's no one-size-fits-all theory of consciousness. Some say consciousness depends on our biology, our bodies, and our social and cultural context. These things might not be easy to replicate in AI.


And there's the "hard problem" of consciousness. Even if an AI shows all the signs of being conscious, we still might not know if it truly feels like something. It's like trying to scientifically explain a high-level concept.


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