Sentient machines may never exist, according to a variation on a leading mathematical model of how our brains create consciousness.
Over the past decade, Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues have developed a mathematical framework for consciousness that has become one of the most influential theories in the field. According to their model, the ability to integrate information is a key property of consciousness. They argue that in conscious minds, integrated information cannot be reduced into smaller components. For instance, when a human perceives a red triangle, the brain cannot register the object as a colourless triangle plus a shapeless patch of red.
But there is a catch, argues Phil Maguire at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth. He points to a computational device called the XOR logic gate, which involves two inputs, A and B. The output of the gate is “1” if A and B are the same and “0” if A and B are different. In this scenario, it is impossible to predict the output based on A or B alone – you need both. (1)
We try to think like computers.
But we have forgotten that science has proved computers cannot think… (see Godel or this analysis)
Thinking in “wholes” is what makes us unique.
From Leibnitz (monads) to Parmenides (One) to Christianism (God), humans have for a long time thought they are just parts of something bigger.
People ask what the monads are made of.
People ask what God is made of.
People ask what One is made of.
But, as opposed to the particles* CERN hunts for, they are not made of “something”.
They are just… everything!
One we Are!
* If particles can be torn into as many pieces as we like, does that tell us that they are not… real? How can something be broken into parts by the human brain if the human brain cannot… break something into parts? 😉
A very interesting topic. Technology and philosophy are irrevocably linked nowadays it seems.