I like the contrast of this week’s readings. I have read Kurzweil before and always felt he was too overwhelmingly positive about technological advancement. Particularly his content belief in the possibilities of AI. I simply don’t buy it. Atleast in my lifetime, we will never question whether we’ve achieved artificial intelligence or not. The goal post is much farther than he supposes.
There are three aspects of life Kurzweil overlooks in his analysis of consciousness and intelligence. The first is the will to survive. Human beings, in fact all life, share a will to survive and postpone death for as long as possible. This will is more than just a programmable response, it overrides everything else and in many ways defines life.
The second is the will to reproduce. All organisms desire to reproduce themselves, and without this will to reproduce they themselves would cease to be. This could possibly be programmed into a machine, but I would not consider a machine conscious until it desired its own reproduction.
The third is the journey, the training, or the learning mechanism. Even if a machine could write this blog article, it would not have become a writer of blog articles in the same way as I. Its journey would have been different. Whether this matters or not in determining consciousness or intelligence is possibly immaterial, but it is a difference that will never be reconciled between humans and machines.
What do folks think of these three aspects? Are they irrelevant since we can program a machine to emulate them? Can they never be reproduced in machines?