As many of you may know I like to discuss and think about things related to Artificial Intelligence. Given the existential risk discussion these days, one topic that needs to be revisited will be the "Consciousness" or rather can machine one day achieve consciousness, become super intelligent given it can learn and apply (much better than the 99% of the world population), and thus enslaving the majority of the world population.
There are many theories that try to explain the rise of Consciousness, such as panpsychism. I was initially a believer of panpsychism because I believed that the fundamental nature of consciousness is quantum and humans currrently are still figuring out the quantum world and thus researchers are currently stumped on Consciousness until we have more idea about the quantum world.
In recent days, I decide to see if there is a different way to look at Consciousness. I always like to link (or explain) human behaviors through the lens that human evolve through hundreds of thousands of years to ensure there is humanity, i.e. survival of humanity. Let's face it, within your body there are many mechanism that is inbuilt through your DNA(internally) and culture (externally) to ensure you procreate. Humanity like any other species will need to procreate a lot, to ensure variety in gene pool, that the best genes are passed down to the next generation.
My hypothesis right now is that Consciousness is a survival mechanism that evolves in the earlier years when our earliest ancestor develop the brain. Why is it a survival mechasnim? It is a mechanism evolved to take care of this carbon body of ours. Consciousness is there to protect this carbon body of ours, because we need it to survive and procreate. The longer we can keep our carbon body around, the increase chance to meet more mates and passed down the genes.
As the group of cells find that in order to continue producing the next generation, the brain was evolved to maintain control over the group of cells, to ensure every cell moves in the direction of procreation/splitting of cells if I were to put it more scientifically. The brain was created to protect the carbon body and thus born consciousness. The self-awareness that comes within consciousness ensure that we protect the body from harm, to keep surviving to keep the body around for as long as possible.
Thus I do believe that if this is true, the brain and consciousness are together rather. This will explain why when face with survival challenges, the brain goes into hyper mode, and coordinate the body to get out of the situation and survive. Why did we sleep for long hours and lose consciousness then but still manage to wake up after? My suspicion is that, the cabon body needs to be heal and it takes up a lot of energy to heal and keep awake at the same time. This means that a lot of food (calories) will need to be consumed but in the days of hunter-gatherer and forager, food is not abundant. Thus sleep is a survival mechanism evolved to heal the carbon body with the minimum energy consumed given food scarcity thousands of years ago. Once the healing is done, energy is then channeled to the brain and the body "wakes up" to continue the quest for food and survival.
Coming back to machine...
So with this in mind, here are my thoughts.
If panpsychism is proven to be correct rather, that consciousness is a quantum phenomenon, then perhaps machines can gain consciousness and yes, perhaps humanity gonna be extinct by then (although I am skeptical of the outcome cos if I am the Superintelligent will rather enslave then to extinguish humans). Researchers will also need to determine what will make Consciousness arise from quantum realm.
Now if my thoughts are true that Consciousness is rather a survival mechanism that was born and has evolved through the thousands of years, and it resides in the brain to ensure continuation and coordination of the carbon body, so as to keep mating and procreate, to ensure humanity continues, then machines are very unlikely to gain Consciousness because even if we can build an electric brain in machines, but if they do not have the strong will to survive, it might be very difficult for consciousness to happen. i.e. the strong will to survive leads to the rise of consciousness.
These are very preliminary thought on Consciousness and putting out there another perspective on human vs machine and if machine could potentially gain consciousness.
I will love to hear your thoughts on it so please share them with me! :D
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