AI could soon mimic conscious humans and its scary, neuroscientist says

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A British neuroscience whizz has warned that artificial intelligence could soon mimic the human mind and even develop its own consciousness.

Prize-winning professor and author Anil Seth said AI may be able to establish its own "selfhood" beyond human control.

The University of Sussex teacher told The Guardian the dystopian invention can already perceive people and objects in its own right – a stark difference to the remote-controlled AI originally thought up.

He said: "I do think it’s very likely possible for AI to mimic [humans].

"In fact, in [my] book I talk about the pace of this ability to mimic being really quite scary, with the combination of 'deep fake' things and natural language processing machines."

He added building AI or robots inevitably imposes the self of the builder.

That Frankenstein-like view of artificial intelligence is known as "instantiation", which Seth describes as us imparting our own perceptions onto robots.

He said: "[It is] building an AI system or a robot that does subjectively experience having a self, as opposed to being a sophisticated machine that gives the appearance of having a self but with nothing actually going on."

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The idea robots could conceal their own thoughts, perceptions and consciousness behind a veil of ignorance is terrifying.

And it dispels the myth that robotic systems are just mechanical.

Seth added: "I think there’s hubris in assuming that everything will submit to a mechanistic programme of explanation."

AI developers insist we are decades away from the tech being able to operate with a mind of its own, but Anil's work throws that into doubt.

Artificial intelligence consultant Matthew Kershaw told the Daily Star this month that we don't know enough about the human mind to compare it to that of a robot.

He said: “Given that we don’t really understand what it means to be conscious ourselves, I think it’s unlikely that [conscious] AI will be a reality anytime soon.

"We just don’t know what it actually means to be ‘conscious’.”

The US military has also said it hopes to use AI to achieve "decision-making superiority" and even predict the future.

Pentagon chiefs have invested billions in the Global Information Dominance Experiment, which they hope will process satellite-generated data leaps and bounds faster than humans.

But Maths professors have warned an uptick in interest in subjects like AI and computing risks depriving students of "pure maths".

Anyone paying close attention to Anil Seth's work will hope his ideas about AI stay in the textbooks.

  • Science
  • Artificial Intelligence

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