It will take more than computer science and neuroscience to develop machines that think like people.
In the October 3rd edition of the Guardian, David Deutsch writes: "The brain is the only kind of object capable of understanding that the cosmos is even there, or why there are infinitely many prime numbers, or that apples fall because of the curvature of space-time, or that obeying its own inborn instincts can be morally wrong, or that it itself exists.
"The field of "artificial general intelligence" or AGI--has made no progress whatever during the entire six decades of its existence. Despite this long record of failure, AGI must be possible."
Why is that? Deutsch explains: "Because of a deep property of the laws of physics, namely the universality of computation (which says that) that everything that the laws of physics require physical objects to do can, in principle, be emulated (copied) in arbitrarily fine detail by some program on a general-purpose computer, provided it is given enough time and memory."
This is akin to the theory--never proven--that if you get enough monkeys with typewriters in a room together, one of them will produce Shakespeare.
One problem with creating artificial intelligence is that human nature can be defined as a bundle of fundamental dispositions and traits, but which of these are fundamental and which ones learned?
If we could build machines that replicated human minds, we could send them out into space to colonize other planets with proto human beings (many people have the impression that the Grays are some sort of machine).
In the November 17-18th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Ronald Bailey quotes visionary scientist Ray Kurzweil as saying, "Waking up the universe, and then intelligently deciding its fate by infusing it with our human intelligence in its nonbiological form, is our destiny."
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