Artificial Intelligences

Susan Schneider on machine consciousness at the upcoming Terasem Colloquium in Second Life

Philosopher Susan Schneider will give a talk at the 2015 edition of the Terasem Annual Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic Persons, themed “Moral and Legal Imperatives for Sentient AI.” The Colloquium will take place in Second Life – Terasem sim – on Thursday, December 10 (time and access coordinates below).

The 2015 Colloquium will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2015, 10AM – 1PM PST / 1PM – 4PM EST / 6PM – 9PM GMT. [SLURL – click here to teleport to Terasem].

Schneider is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy and Cognitive Science Program, University of Connecticut. She is also a Fellow, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, and associated with the Yale Interdisciplinary Institute For Bioethics. Schneider is the author of The Language of Thought – A New Philosophical Direction,” and the editor of “The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness” and “Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence.”

“Can sophisticated AGI (such as uploads and superintelligences) be conscious?,” is the main question that Schneider will address in her talk. “Can they be persons? Could someone really upload and survive the death of their brain, or would they just create a copy that is a distinct conscious being? I mull over the latest philosophical issues as well as introducing the ‘hard problem of machine consciousness’ and a ‘detectibility problem’ for determining whether superintelligence is conscious. I explain how these issues have legal significance.”

In the introduction to “Science Fiction and Philosophy” Schneider argues that, as neuroscience discovers the algorithms in the brain underlying computation, scientists are increasingly realizing that brains are computational entities, and future persons could have hybrid minds, part natural and part artificial. “And perhaps scientists will reverse-engineer the human brain, creating AI creatures that run the same algorithms as human brains do,” she says. “Other AI creatures could have minds that are entirely different, borrowing from sensory modalities that other animals have (e.g. echolocation), featuring radically enhanced working memory capacity, and so on. Existing human brains could be enhanced in these novel ways as well. In sum, a plurality of distinct sorts of artificial minds could be ‘sculpted’.”

  • Keith Wiley

    I tried to teleport to Marbina Shores and it said I didn’t have access to that location.

    • Giulio Prisco

      Hi Keith, the Colloquium is not on the Marbina Shores sim but on the Terasem sim (attached to Marbina Shores). Go to Terasem, or use the slurl in the text.

      • Keith Wiley

        Well, I don’t know about the differences between the names. I’m just saying that when I click the “teleport” button, which goes to whichever of those locations the SLURL specifies, it doesn’t work.

        • Giulio Prisco

          Keith what’s your avatar name?

          • Keith Wiley

            KeBWI. Seemed to work if I copied and pasted the SLURL text directly. I think I’m in the right place now. Thanks.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Good! I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

        • Giulio Prisco

          Keith please let me know your avatar name and any special error message that you get. Is it just “you don’t have access to that location” or is there something more?

          Have you been on the Terasem sim before?

          Could others try and let me know?

          • Keith Wiley

            KeBWi. I toyed around with Second Life some ten years ago. I had to create a new account a few days ago when I heard about this event. I guess they purged the ancient accounts at some point. The SL tutorial seems to work okay, but SLURL teleport link triggers the SL client to say I lack access to the specified location.

          • Giulio Prisco

            It could be viewer settings. Please try to access directly the coordinates given in the slurl and let me know if it works.

  • Ryan London

    “Can sophisticated AGI be conscious?” Of course they can and will be. After all, humans are nothing more than chemical reactions controlled by code in our DNA. All we need is the right code and technology. Of course, we’ll be able to control that to some extent but at that point, we’ll be able to change our DNA to control humans as well. Overly simplified I know, but I can’t see how I could be wrong.

    • Giulio Prisco

      I also assume sophisticated AGI can and will be conscious, but I can see the possibility that achieving conscious AGI could take longer than we wish.

      An interesting question is whether a traditional computer can run AI with thoughts, memories, and feeling, or those depends critically on quantum effects (ref. Penrose and Hameroff). If teh latter is the case, AI will have to wait for suitable quantum computers. But, one way or another, it will come.