May 6, 2009

Conscious Machines and Human Culture

Machines as Part of Human Consciousness and Culture

By Timo Jarvilehto

It seems that the unprecedented progress in the study of the brain and consciousness combined with the development of behavioral robotics and the study of artificial intelligence has during the last years produced many press releases which inform the public that the scientists are close to creating truly intelligent and conscious machines who can talk with their user and even grasp his feelings. Several researchers maintain that they are close to building of an artificial mind, and that it will take only perhaps a few decades until we can witness the advent of the first autonomous humanoid robots.

As a matter of fact, at the present, there are three fields of research which seem to have greatly advanced during the last years, and which share the optimism of quick solutions to many ancient practical and theoretical problems. These are genetics, neuroscience, and new kind of robotics or artificial intelligence. Almost daily new shocking findings are reported in all these fields. The determination of human genome, the mapping of the psychological functions in the brain, and the development of intelligent machines are claimed to have profound impact on everyday-life of human beings in the future.

Read More: Here

TIMO JARVILEHTO is professor of psychology in the University of Oulu, and has done work on neural coding, psychophysiology, EEG potentials and psychophysics.


Anonymous said...

I was recently reading a book by the philosopher William James ("The Will to believe and other essays in popular philosophy"), written over a century ago, in which he notes that there are those who believe that all the problems of the nature of the universe and consciousness etc. will imminently be solved by science. There is a fascinating article at Materialists should read this first which summarises the problem of the scientific approach to consciousness.

BrightAbyss~ said...

great link and article! i would certainly agree that the 'material' (or more accurately, energetic-material) is only part of the story.

search this website for the article on Qualia by Ramachandran.


thanks for the great comments, and i invite other readers to check out the site linked above.

Bob Lieberman said...

I'm sure great progress is being made. But I'm reminded of Marvin Minsky's confident prediction in Life Magazine in the early 1970's that natural language interpretation was no more than ten years away. I had just graduated from Carnegie-Mellon's artificial intelligence program with a Master's degree and I was skeptical. It's now almost forty years later and we're still counting. In my experience, progress in the field of artificial intelligence tends to invite breathless predictions. I don't want to downplay the value of the work described in this article. But I think a little more perspective is called for.

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