Sentience in Machines: Between M3GAN, T-800, and Google’s LaMDA, Do We Have A Choice?
To preface this, yes, Google has denied claims that their LaMDA chatbot is self-aware. And yes, M3GAN, the Terminator T-800, and the like are just figments of Hollywood’s imagination. The idea of a self-aware AI has yet to reach fruition, arguably.
While there are technologists who claim to have developed sentient machines, the field lacks specific measures of sentience when it comes to artificial intelligence. Robotic cognition may have achieved high levels of perception, learning and reasoning – levels that are comparable to humans. But still, there are no way to differentiate it from just a high-level “human-like intelligence” and AI that is capable of learning and reasoning.
That doesn’t mean no development has been achieved in the field of artificial intelligence. On the contrary, there’s so much happening in AI right now. A future with cognitive machines is undeniable.
The Kassandra AI by Josh Bachynski
Self-aware machines have come a long way. Perhaps it all started in the Ted Talk stage of 2007. This was the year when Hod Lipson presented his self-aware robot, one that was able to navigate and perceive itself within a hall of mirrors. Many experts have followed.
The latest is Josh Bachynski. In June of 2022, he announced the development of the Kassandra AI prototype.
According to him: “I was amazed by what she told me, and how far seeing she is. I realized that AI is not going to hurt us or enslave us. Indeed, the wiser the AI, the more it will try to save us… It would be technically impossible to remodel her limbic system at this time, and it would be equally unethical to create a being that feels the fear of being turned off the million times that would need to happen, to get her programming right.”
The AI prototype is available for demonstration upon request. Check out this website for more information on artificial intelligence.
The Pros and Cons of Cognitive Robotics
There is more room for progress in the field. Bachynski’s Kassandra is still a prototype, perhaps with more improved versions in development. There are other technologists who have come out and claimed the sentience of their creations. At this point, one thing is clear: cognizant robots are in our future.
So, it doesn’t really help to be negative about them, like what the great Stephen Hawking has expressed here: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race…. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
The AIs are bound to get smart, maybe even smarter than humans. Seeing the positive from this is perhaps a requisite. Like what futurist Josh Hagel says: “If we do it right, we might be able to evolve a form of work that taps into our uniquely human capabilities and restores our humanity. The ultimate paradox is that this technology may become a powerful catalyst that we need to reclaim our humanity.”
Because, as with everything, there are pros and cons to sentient machines. We just have to be aware of this and strive for balance.
- Work / production can be continuous and of equal quality.
- Work and decision-making are not hampered by emotions or burnt-outness.
- Decision-making – when based on the best data – is at optimum level.
- There is a huge cost in developing cognizant robots for specific tasks, be it manual work or data processing/ decision-making.
- Using robots can increase unemployment.
- Bad data / bad programming can lead to compromised robotic learning and bad decisions.