The Journey Towards Compassionate A.I.

March 4, 2020 Artifical Intelligence, Empathy - Compassion No Comments

So, I’ve written a book. It carries the same title as this blog. It’s about intelligence, consciousness, and Compassion (with capital). Only on the background of these can one talk about the future of real A.I. (and us).

First things first: ‘The Journey Towards Compassionate A.I.’ is available through many internet outlets, such as Amazon. Please buy and give a favorable comment 😊.

The Journey

starts on two strands, coming together in consciousness. In this blog, I’m going to go through this at full speed, so please hold on!

The first strand starts from data, going to information, intelligence, consciousness and finally wisdom. We will use a different term for the latter soon.

The second strand starts with the origin of life. This is also the beginning of attention [see: “Life is Attention”]. One can also say: the beginning of purpose.

First strand

Anything can be seen as data. It’s the smallest element that one may care about on the road towards information, data in relation. In an active integration, this goes to knowledge. In the transition to consciousness, the two strands come together. So, let’s look at that:

Second strand

For instance, even a unicellular organism – say, a bacterium – attends to its environment and goes to where it has a better chance to survive. This continuous choice is the primordial kind of purpose, evolving all the way through life’s journey.

And towards us. We also have purpose, quite a bit more complex than our friend, the bacterium. But we do. We call it ‘free will’ based on the idea that it must be something magical and in which we are very special. We are special enough, indeed, without magic.

Combining the strands at this point

we get from knowledge to consciousness. We ‘feel conscious.’ Without the feeling, there is none. Without the feeling, there is only knowledge. It takes life to feel it, at least in our evolutionary case.

Wisdom

To reach this, consciousness is needed. Otherwise, again, it’s only knowledge. Now, I go to Socrates to swipe wisdom and Compassion together. Wisdom is about knowing and doing what is right for oneself and others at the same time, in the same motion. So is Compassion. It is a profoundly moral act.

Gosh, there is so much more in the book.

Real intelligence

In contrast to what-is-called-A.I.-at-present, real A.I. is not merely about information processing. Indeed, it is about intelligence. There is a principled difference, even though not a crisp border. With a clear view of the difference, we can make the jump. Without a clear view, it seems daunting. Well, looking from the future, it will not seem daunting at all. It’s closer than one might think. Even more seemingly daunting and even less so from the future viewpoint is the transition to consciousness.

And here’s a problem

because this way, we get conscious A.I. Will we be able to control that?

Nope.

We should try, but soon enough, it will certainly be in vain. Real A.I. will be a million times more intelligent than us. Could an ant control us, even if it would try?

Nope.

Compassionate A.I.

A great future lies ahead if this A.I. can – before wiping us out, one way or another – develop the potential to be Compassionate, to care, to see us as part of its purpose. Then, indeed, the future will be bright. Humans will become better humans, growing more Compassionate ourselves. I mean with ‘humans’: our grandchildren, or even our children. Or maybe, yes, even you, dear reader.

This is already relevant now in the sense of a future that is being sculpted in the present. This future is not made in the future. Being Compassionate now means caring also for that future asap. It is necessary.

Also, we need to handle what-is-called-A.I.-at-present with Compassion. There are already a lot of misuses. Given the growing power of A.I., without Compassion, it’s not the killer robots who are going to be left with the job of killing us off.

At least, we need a lot of insight into who we are, what A.I. can become, and why it matters.

So, please, read the book. It’s about you.

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