It’s a long-standing debate, one that this weekend made headlines: will artificial intelligence (AI) ever be conscious or is it already so?
OpenAI top researcher Ilya Sutskever took to Twitter to declare his view on the matter and saw backlash from many scientists in the field, as first spotted by Futurism.
The question that remains is: who is right?
AI is conscious, says Sutskever
It all began when Sutskever tweeted on Thursday “it may be that today’s large neural networks are slightly conscious.” This might seem like a harmless enough statement but it was met with immediate and swift backlash.
Why? According to UNSW Sidney AI researcher Toby Walsh, it’s because the topic derails the conversation and perhaps even the evolution of AI. “Every time such speculative comments get an airing, it takes months of effort to get the conversation back to the more realistic opportunities and threats posed by AI,” tweeted Walsh.
Independent sociotechnologist Jürgen Geuter further called the view unrealistic. He tweeted that “it may also be that this take has no basis in reality and is just a sales pitch to claim magical tech capabilities for a startup that runs very simple statistics, just a lot of them.”