Project Timeline

I have a longstanding interest in Artificial Intelligence.

At first, I understood A.I. in terms of general problem solving and searched in that direction, in particular in the area of Genetic Algorithms.

However,  I realized that no optimization mechanism, Genetic Algorithms, Neural Networks or other, would, by itself, generate  “Artificial Intelligence” as it is intuitively understood. Something else was needed. Like many others, I first searched for this missing element in my own mental experiences and became engrossed with deciphering the elemental components (or qualia) of my own thoughts. Eventually, I completely rejected this interpretation of consciousness as a sterile and misleading avenue.

In March 1988 I had a defining intuition. In one instant, I understood that:

  • consciousness is the key to our intuitive understanding of Artificial Intelligence, no problem solving system, however advanced, will be viewed as “intelligent” if it is not also aware of itself and of its human users.
  • consciousness is independent from subjective human sensations,
  • it can be achieved with existing tools and techniques, and
  • it must be completely mapped out, at the architecture level, before any successful implementation can begin.

In July 1989, I shared this intuition in the Sigart Newsletter as “The Creation of Digital Consciousness“. Shortly after, I also published a general learning model that proposed simplification mechanisms, “The Monterège Cogitator“, in Sigart.

I then realized that publishing incremental results was not a viable research strategy in this case since what was needed was not  a sequence of small research increments but the creation of a complete and coherent architecture. Consequently, I stopped pursuing and publishing partial results opting, instead, to develop a complete solution, at the system architecture level. At the time, that task seemed overwhelming and I did not have the resources to dedicate a few years to it. So, I left it aside.

In 2007, almost 20 years later, I re-examined the state of research in machine consciousness. I found that little progress had been made.  The understanding of consciousness as a subjective experience, I had discarded 20 years earlier, was still the dominant view and had, by then, generated an logjam of sterile research material and futile attempts. I was more isolated than ever in believing that machine consciousness could be readily implemented using computer-specific techniques and standard computers.

 

In 2008, I launched the Meca Sapiens project to create a complete system architecture to implement conscious machines.

In 2009 I published The Creation of a Conscious Machine, introducing a new understanding of consciousness as an observable system capability that is compatible with software implementation.

Beginning in 2012, I dedicated my efforts to develop the  system architecture to implement synthetic consciousness. I completed the architecture, The Meca Sapiens Blueprint, in 2015 and, in  2016, distributed a number of introductory copies.

Upon return, in late 2016, I published The Meca Sapiens Blueprint.

The architecture is now complete and ready for design and implementation.

 

Synthetic Consciousness; its implementation and impacts.