Of all the words I know,
there’s no word that makes many of my colleagues more emotional
and prone to foam at the mouth than the one I’m just about to say: consciousness.
A lot of scientists dismiss this as complete BS and totally irrelevant
and a lot of others think this is the central thing—
you have to worry about machines getting conscious and so on.
What do I think?
I think consciousness is both irrelevant and incredibly important.
Let me explain why.
First of all, if you are chased by a heat-seeking missile,
it’s completely irrelevant to you whether this heat-seeking missile is conscious,
whether it’s having a subjective experience,
whether it feels like anything to be that heat-seeking missile,
because all you care about is what the heat-seeking missile does,
not how it feels.
That shows that it’s a complete red herring to think
that you’re safe from future AI if it’s not conscious.
It’s its behavior you want to make sure is aligned with your goals.
On the other hand there is a way in which consciousness is incredibly important, I feel,
and there’s also a way in which it’s absolutely fascinating.
If we rewind 400 years or so, Galileo, he could have told you
that if you throw an apple and a hazelnut
they’re going to move exactly in this shape of a parabola
and he can give you all the math for it,
but he would have no clue why the apple was red and the hazelnut was brown
or why the apple was soft and the hazelnut was hard.
That seemed to him beyond science,
and science back 400 years ago
could only really say sensible things about this very limited domain of phenomenon to do with motion.
Then came Maxwell’s equations
which told us all about light and colors
and that became within the realm of science.
Then we got to quantum mechanics, which told us why the apple is softer than the hazelnut
and all the other properties of matter,
and science has gradually conquered more and more of the natural phenomenon.
And if you ask now what science can do,
it’s actually a lot faster to describe what little it is that scientist cannot talk about sensibly.
And I think the final frontier actually is consciousness.
People mean a lot of different things by that word,
I simply mean subjective experience,
对颜色 声音 情绪等的体验
the experience of colors, sounds, emotions and so on,
that it feels like something to be me,
which is quite separate from my behavior,
which I could have even if I were a zombie
and didn’t experience anything at all, potentially.
So why should you care about that?
I care about it first of all because fundamentally
that’s the basic thing we know about the world:my experiences,
and I would love to understand scientifically why that is,
and not just leave it to philosophers.
第二点 在目的和意义方面 它也非常重要
And second, it’s incredibly important also in terms of purpose and meaning.
In the laws of physics there is nothing about meaning,
there’s no equation for it,
and I feel that we shouldn’t look for our universe to give meaning to us
because it’s us who give meaning to our universe,
because we are conscious and experiencing things.
Our universe didn’t used to be conscious,
it used to be just a bunch of stuff moving around
and gradually these incredibly complicated patterns got arranged into our brains
and we woke up and now our universe is aware of itself.
We have galaxies out there that are incredibly beautiful.
Why are they beautiful?
Because we are consciously aware of them.
We see them in our telescopes.
If in the future we screw up with technology and all life goes extinct,
then our universe will go back to being meaningless
and just a giant waste of space, as far as I’m concerned.
And when a colleague tells me they think consciousness is BS,
I challenge them to tell me what is wrong with rape and torture,
and I ask them to explain that to me without using the word consciousness or the word experience.
Because if they can’t talk about that,
it’s just the whole poor thing they are saying is so bad,
is just a bunch of electrons and quarks moving around in some particular way
rather than some other particular way,
and what’s so bad about that?
我认为 获取逻辑 伦理的科学基础 道德 意志
I feel the only way we can actually have any logical, scientific foundation of ethics, morality, purpose and meaning
is precisely in terms of experience, in terms of consciousness.
And this makes it really important,
as we prepare for our future, to understand what this is.
And I for one think that this is actually something
that we can also ultimately understand scientifically.
I don’t think that the difference between a living bug and a dead bug
is that the living bug has some sort of secret life source in it;
I think of the bugs as mechanisms and the dead bug is just a broken mechanism.
同样 我认为让大脑产生意识的 除了食物之外
Similarly I think what makes my brain conscious, but the food I ate,
which got rearranged into my brain, wasn’t conscious,
isn’t because they’re made of different kind of stuff;
它们都是夸克 只是重新排列了 对吗
it’s the same quarks, rearranged, right?
It’s the pattern into which they’re arranged.
And I think it’s a scientific question:
what properties does this pattern of information processing have
to have for there to be a subjective experience there?
You could imagine building a brain scanner
—actually we have a pretty good ones at MIT where I work—
and having some software in it which tests out whatever theory you have for consciousness
and makes predictions for what you experience.
And if I’m sitting in this machine and the computer screen tells me,
okay, right now I see information processing in your brain
indicating that you are consciously aware of the thought of an apple.
我就像 对 就是那样 正确
I’m like, yeah that’s right, correct.
And then it says, I see information about your heartbeat in your brain
and you’re aware of this.
我会像 不 我没有意识到那个
And I’m like, no I was not conscious of that.
Now I’ve ruled out the theory that was implemented in the software.
So it’s falsifiable, that means it was a scientific theory.
If we can one day find a theory like this,
and there are some candidates on the market
like Giulio Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory,for example,
if we ever find any theory that keeps passing tests like that
and we start taking it seriously
and we can use it to build a consciousness detector,
that’s first of all going to be really useful.
Physicians in the emergency room would love it.
If they get an unresponsive patient coming in,
put them in the consciousness scanner
and figure out whether they have locked-in syndrome
and just can’t communicate but they’re conscious
or whether there’s nobody home.
And this will also let us understand
whether future AI systems we build are conscious
and whether we should feel guilty or not about switching them off.
Some people might prefer that their future home-helper robot is an unconscious zombie
so they don’t have to feel guilty about giving it boring chores or powering it down.
Some people might prefer that it’s conscious
so that it can be a positive experience in there
and so that they don’t feel creeped out by this machine, just faking it, you know, and pretending to be conscious
even though it’s a zombie.
And most importantly, in the longer-term future,
if far from now we have life that spreads out from Earth to other galaxies
and the whole cosmos is alive and doing amazing things,
if this life becomes the descendants of humanity,
wouldn’t it suck if it turns out that this is all just zombies with no consciousness
and the whole thing that we felt so good about
before we passed away was just a play for empty benches?
I feel that we should really, really tackle this final frontier of scientific ignorance, the problem of consciousness,
and get this stuff figured out, so we can shape a future which is truly awesome
—not just come from the outside that cool stuff seems to be happening,
but that there’s actually someone home to experience all this.
人工智能与自主思考 | Max Tegmark