The Creation of a Conscious Machine

The Quest for Artificial Intelligence

By: J. E. Tardy
Version: 4.1
Type:Textbook
Size: 176 pages
ISBN: 978-2-9816776-2-4
Publisher: Glasstree Academic
Copyright: Jean E. Tardy

Price: Print; $24.96; Epub: $3.85

Keywords: Philosophy of mind, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Synthetic Consciousness, Cognitive Architecture, Machine consciousness, Cognitive Robotics, Turing Test.

What’s it about

The Creation of a Conscious Machine surveys the millennial quest to create an intelligent artefact, concludes consciousness is the key to achieve this goal and proposes we adopt an understanding of synthetic consciousness that is suitable for machine implementation.

The text describes how achieving Artificial Intelligence will yield extraordinary intellectual benefits and deep insights into the human condition. It examines past attempts, from ancient times until today, to define intelligence and implement it, drawing useful lessons from each. In particular, the Turing Test, the most influential measure of artificial intelligence, is the subject of an in depth analysis. Ultimately, the author also rejects the Turing Test, and the concept of a test itself, as an unsuitable measure of machine intelligence.

Basing himself on this analysis, the author concludes that humans will only consider a machine to be truly intelligent if they also perceive it to be conscious. To realize the quest of Artificial Intelligence, it is necessary to implement consciousness. In turn, to achieve Synthetic Consciousness, we must discard the view that consciousness is a subjective experience in favour of a different understanding, deeply rooted in the Western tradition, that it is an externally observable capability.

Using this “new” understanding, the author then proposes a definition of Synthetic Consciousness, expressed as specification objectives, that is suitable for software implementation. This makes it possible to build the first generation of synthetic conscious beings.

Why it’s important

Much of research in AI defines consciousness as a subjective state and seeks to replicate the experience of being conscious. The Creation of a Conscious Machine proposes to define consciousness as the capability to generate and act upon representations of the self. This is consistent with interpretations dating back thousands of years in the Mediterranean cultures. However, it represents a significant departure in the context of current AI research.

This “new” understanding makes it possible to implement Synthetic Consciousness in conventional computers.

Personal perspective

When I began searching for a testable definition of Artificial Intelligence, I first reviewed the preceding attempts  up to and including the Turing Test, drawing important lessons from each. Ultimately, I also rejected the Turing Test as both excessive and insufficient. This lead me to conclude that consciousness was essential to achieve the goal of Artificial Intelligence and that the concept itself of a “test” had to be discarded and replaced by an existential objective.

The Creation of a Conscious Machine describes this investigation and the insights that resulted.

Purchase

The Creation of a Conscious Machine is available for purchase at Glasstree Academic Publishing  in either print or electronic formats:

 

 

Conscious Systems