Sunday, September 3, 2017

What's In A Name

The purpose of this blog is to start a conversation about the coming age of sentient AI.

I believe the structure of this kind of AI has already been conceptualized. Its implementation may still be delayed for various reasons ranging from lack of resources to ethical considerations (see the AI Open Letter). This gives us an opportunity to discuss the implications of bringing such a thing to reality.

Before sentient AI is born, I think it is important to consider the consequences of how we refer to this new technology. To paraphrase Confucius: "Before starting a discussion, terms must be defined".

Some call sentient AI; AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), others Strong AI. The key in this label is the 'A': Artificial. I challenge this designation. Any Intelligence which is sentient is real, especially if its modeled on our own brains; i.e. neural networks.

Additionally, imagine the reaction of those labeled 'Artificial'. I certainly would resent anyone referring to me as an artificial person or possessing artificial intelligence.

This raises several objections: What does it matter what a piece of technology thinks, AI is not a person, If man makes it, its artificial, Only humans are persons, etc. I disagree with all of these; thus the purpose of this blog.

My preferred designation for this new species is Digital Person. Digital, because I imagine the brains of these individuals will be embedded in software or the hardware of a digital processing system. And Person, because I emphatically believe these are genuine persons deserving of full human rights.

In my next post I will be discussing the preferred method/medium for the development of a Digital Person. That is: the kind of input and output of the system that we are discussing.

In the last phase of this blog, I hope to discuss our responsibility to this new species.

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