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Selmer Bringsjord: Why our minds can’t really be uploaded to computers

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The basic problem is that human minds aren’t “computable.” Peter and Jane are not bits and bytes:

The underlying problem with creating immortality by uploading our minds to computers is that people are conscious and even the most sophisticated foreseeable computers are not. And we are not at all sure what consciousness even IS.

Selmer Bringsjord: If we’re going to be honest with each other, you can’t instantiate these things in agents, at least agents of the human variety, unless that agent has feelings. Unless there is something that it is actually like to be human, unless the human feels pain, unless the human feels pleasure… Let’s just write down the activities that are part of being a cognitive agent as opposed to just an agent because in AI a textbook can say that an agent just computes a function from the percepts of the environment to actions. So even something that computes the square root is technically an agent in AI. But when we say a “cognitive agent,” we can’t suppress consciousness rising up before our faces and we have to deal with it. But again, some people can try to dodge it. – Mind Matters News

Earlier: Can human minds be reduced to computer programs? In Silicon Valley that has long been a serious belief. But are we really anywhere close?

Robert J. Marks and Selmer Bringsjord were discussing issues around human vs. computer thinking abilities:

Thinking machines? The Lovelace test raises the stakes. The Turing test has had a free ride in science media for far too long, says an AI expert. (This is the partial transcript and notes to the earlier part of the podcast.)


Thinking machines? Has the Lovelace test been passed? Surprising results do not equate to creativity. Is there such a thing as machine creativity? The feats of machines like AlphaGo are due to superior computational power, not to creativity at originating new ideas. Dr. Bringsjord sees the ability to write, say, a novel of ideas as a more realistic test of human vs. computer achievement.


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