[ExI] another open letter, but this one may be smarter than the previous one

Will Steinberg steinberg.will at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 14:12:48 UTC 2023

Yeah, I kind of doubt we will make any meaningful progress on either of
those descriptions of consciousness before AGI exists.  (And I *like* woo
shit) Phenomena are completely inscrutable within the modern physics
framework, and even for the "entity that can model itself" form, what does
it even mean for a computer program to model itself like humans model
ourselves?  It has no place, no body.  We don't even understand what is
inside these LLMs in the first place...

What a terrifying time to be alive.  I don't see a plausible scenario where
this all doesn't lead to unbelievable amounts of suffering (of both
biological and machine consciousness.)

On Thu, Apr 27, 2023, 6:18 PM Darin Sunley via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> The capitalization of "Psychology" is a little weird.  Ditto the use of
> the idiom "achieving consciousness", "mystery of consciousness", et. It's a
> little woo, frankly.
> I'm not seeing an actual policy recommendation here. Calling "on the tech
> sector, the scientific community and society as a whole to take seriously
> the need to accelerate research in consciousness" seems like it's a demand
> for a seat at the table by a group that may be being denied a seat at the
> table for pretty good reasons at the moment.
> Setting aside for the moment what they actually /mean/ by consciousness
> [I'm pretty sure it's Dennet-style formal systems capable of introspection
> over a model of their environment that includes themselves, rather than
> anything involving phenomenal conscious experience], they don't seem to
> offer a recommendation for whether LLMs specifically, or artificial
> intelligences in general, should be conscious, in whatever sense they mean.
> [It's worth noting that the consciousness of AGIs, in any sense, is
> entirely irrelevant to their status as a potential existential threat.
> Contra popular culture, unaligned agentic tool AIs can destroy the world
> just as easily as unaligned agentic conscious minds.]
> One of the articles they reference is indeed very interesting. The degree
> to which LLMs may be able to form even a primitive theory of minds based on
> training text that was generated by systems (people) with a clear embedded
> theory of mind is interesting, and may even be alarming if possession of a
> theory of mind is one of your primary bright line criterion of a definition
> of consciousness and therefore moral valence. [I personally disagree that
> having a theory of mind is a sufficient bright-line criteria for moral
> valence, but reasonable people can disagree about this.]
> I've long held that AGI, as it develops, will allow, to at least some
> degree, questions about the nature of consciousness to become amenable to
> actual scientific research and investigation. Calling for practitioners of
> "Consciousness Science" to be acknowledged as leaders in the AGI research
> programme is somewhat premature. I would argue that it is the emergence of
> LLMs that will allow the field of consciousness research [at least within
> the limits of Dennet's paradigm] to actually /become/ a field of science
> and engineering, rather than of philosophy.
> On Thu, Apr 27, 2023 at 3:50 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> And what if someone uses something like Gödel's incompleteness theorems
>> to prove that what they're looking for is impossible, or at least no more
>> possible than it is for human intelligences?
>> Indeed, do those theorems apply to AIs, to show that no computer program
>> (at least, one that is expressed in the same low level language - high
>> level language irrelevant since they get compiled to the same low level
>> language - as the same sort of computer the AIs themselves run on, so it
>> can run on the same sort of computer) can ever formally prove all the
>> qualities and consequences of these AIs?
>> On Thu, Apr 27, 2023, 1:36 PM spike jones via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> But it is hard to say, and I am not an expert on the topic:
>>> https://amcs-community.org/open-letters/
>>> Here's the letter, in case the link doesn't work:
>>> The Responsible Development of AI Agenda Needs to Include Consciousness
>>> Research
>>> Open Letter – PUBLISHED April 26, 2023 –
>>> This open letter is a wakeup call for the tech sector, the scientific
>>> community and society in general to take seriously the need to accelerate
>>> research in the field of consciousness science.
>>> As highlighted by the recent “Pause Giant AI Experiments” letter [1], we
>>> are
>>> living through an exciting and uncertain time in the development of
>>> artificial intelligence (AI) and other brain-related technologies. The
>>> increasing computing power and capabilities of the new AI systems are
>>> accelerating at a pace that far exceeds our progress in understanding
>>> their
>>> capabilities and their “alignment” with human values.
>>> AI systems, including Large Language Models such as ChatGPT and Bard, are
>>> artificial neural networks inspired by neuronal architecture in the
>>> cortex
>>> of animal brains. In the near future, it is inevitable that such systems
>>> will be constructed to reproduce aspects of higher-level brain
>>> architecture
>>> and functioning. Indeed, it is no longer in the realm of science fiction
>>> to
>>> imagine AI systems having feelings and even human-level consciousness.
>>> Contemporary AI systems already display human traits recognised in
>>> Psychology, including evidence of Theory of Mind [2].
>>> Furthermore, if achieving consciousness, AI systems would likely unveil a
>>> new array of capabilities that go far beyond what is expected even by
>>> those
>>> spearheading their development. AI systems have already been observed to
>>> exhibit unanticipated emergent properties [3]. These capabilities will
>>> change what AI can do, and what society can do to control, align and use
>>> such systems. In addition, consciousness would give AI a place in our
>>> moral
>>> landscape, which raises further ethical, legal, and political concerns.
>>> As AI develops, it is vital for the wider public, societal institutions
>>> and
>>> governing bodies to know whether and how AI systems can become
>>> conscious, to
>>> understand the implications thereof, and to effectively address the
>>> ethical,
>>> safety, and societal ramifications associated with artificial general
>>> intelligence (AGI).
>>> Science is starting to unlock the mystery of consciousness. Steady
>>> advances
>>> in recent years have brought us closer to defining and understanding
>>> consciousness and have established an expert international community of
>>> researchers in this field. There are over 30 models and theories of
>>> consciousness (MoCs and ToCs) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature,
>>> which already include some important pieces of the solution to the
>>> challenge
>>> of consciousness.
>>> To understand whether AI systems are, or can become, conscious, tools are
>>> needed that can be applied to artificial systems. In particular, science
>>> needs to further develop formal and mathematical tools to model
>>> consciousness and its relationship to physical systems. In conjunction
>>> with
>>> empirical and experimental methods to measure consciousness, questions
>>> of AI
>>> consciousness must be tackled.
>>> The Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science (AMCS) [4], is a
>>> large community of over 150 international researchers who are
>>> spearheading
>>> mathematical and computational approaches to consciousness. The
>>> Association
>>> for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC), [5], comprises
>>> researchers
>>> from neuroscience, philosophy and similar areas that study the nature,
>>> function, and underlying mechanisms of consciousness. Considerable
>>> research
>>> is required if consciousness science is to align with advancements in AI
>>> and
>>> other brain-related technologies. With sufficient support, the
>>> international
>>> scientific communities are prepared to undertake this task.
>>> The way ahead
>>> Artificial intelligence may be one of humanity’s greatest achievements.
>>> As
>>> with any significant achievement, society must make choices on how to
>>> approach its implications. Without taking a position on whether AI
>>> development should be paused, we emphasise that the rapid development of
>>> AI
>>> is exposing the urgent need to accelerate research in the field of
>>> consciousness science.
>>> Research in consciousness is a key component in helping humanity to
>>> understand AI and its ramifications. It is essential for managing ethical
>>> and societal implications of AI and to ensure AI safety. We call on the
>>> tech
>>> sector, the scientific community and society as a whole to take seriously
>>> the need to accelerate research in consciousness in order to ensure that
>>> AI
>>> development delivers positive outcomes for humanity. AI research should
>>> not
>>> be left to wander alone.
>>> References:
>>> [1] Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter:
>>> https://futureoflife.org/open-letter/pause-giant-ai-experiments
>>> [2] Theory of Mind May Have Spontaneously Emerged in Large Language
>>> Models:
>>> https://arxiv.org/abs/2302.02083
>>> [3] The AI revolution: Google’s developers on the future of artificial
>>> intelligence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=880TBXMuzmk
>>> [4] Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science (AMCS):
>>> https://amcs-community.org/
>>> [5] Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC):
>>> https://theassc.org/
>>> Sign the open letter.
>>> Supporting Signatories:
>>> Prof. Lenore Blum (AMCS President; Carnegie Mellon University and UC
>>> Berkeley)
>>> Dr Johannes Kleiner (AMCS Board Chair; Ludwig Maximilian University of
>>> Munich)
>>> Dr Jonathan Mason (AMCS Board Vice Chair; University of Oxford)
>>> Dr Robin Lorenz (AMCS Board Treasurer; Quantinuum)
>>> Prof. Manuel Blum (Turing Award 1995; UC Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon
>>> University)
>>> Prof. Yoshua Bengio FRS, FRSC, Knight of the Legion of Honour [France]
>>> (Turing Award 2018; Full professor, Scientific director of Mila,
>>> University
>>> of Montreal / Mila)
>>> Prof. Marcus du Sautoy FRS, OBE (University of Oxford)
>>> Prof. Karl Friston FRS, FRBS, FMedSci, MAE (Weldon Memorial Prize and
>>> Medal,
>>> 2013; Donald O Hebb award, 2022; Prof of Neuroscience, University College
>>> London)
>>> Prof. Anil K. Seth (University of Sussex, Canadian Institute for Advanced
>>> Research, Program on Brain, Mind, and Consciousness)
>>> Prof. Peter Grindrod OBE (University Of Oxford)
>>> Prof. Tim Palmer FRS CBE (University of Oxford)
>>> Prof. Susan Schneider APA (NASA Chair, NASA; Distinguished Scholar,
>>> Library
>>> of Congress; Director of the Center for the Future Mind, Florida Atlantic
>>> University)
>>> Prof. Claire Sergent (Professor of Cognitive Neurosciences, Co-director
>>> of
>>> the Master of Cognitive Neurosciences of Paris; Université Paris Cité /
>>> CNRS)
>>> Dr Ryota Kanai (Founder & CEO of Araya, Inc.)
>>> Prof. Kobi Kremnitzer (University of Oxford)
>>> Prof. Paul Azzopardi (University of Oxford)
>>> Prof. Michael Graziano (Princeton University)
>>> Prof. Naotsugu Tsuchiya (Monash University)
>>> Prof. Shimon Edelman (Cornell University)
>>> Prof. Andrée Ehresmann (Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens)
>>> Prof. Liad Mudrik (Tel Aviv University, Canadian Institute for Advanced
>>> Research, Program on Brain, Mind, and Consciousness)
>>> Dr Lucia Melloni (Max Planck Institute/NYU Langone Health)
>>> Prof. Stephen Fleming (University College London)
>>> Prof. Bob Coecke (DVRS at Perimeter Institute; Quantinuum)
>>> Jeff Walz (Tech sector Consultant)
>>> Dr Wanja Wiese (Ruhr University Bochum)
>>> Dr Joscha Bach (Research Scientist, Thistledown Foundation)
>>> Prof. Ian Durham (Saint Anselm College)
>>> Prof. Pedro Resende (IST – University Lisbon)
>>> Dr Quanlong Wang (Quantinuum)
>>> Peter Thestrup Waade (Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University;
>>> Wellcome
>>> Trust Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London)
>>> Prof. Jose Acacio de Barros (San Francisco State University)
>>> Dr Vasileios Basios (University of Brussels)
>>> Dr Miguel Sanchez-Valpuesta (Korea Brain Research Institute)
>>> Dr Michael Coughlan (Wageningen University)
>>> Dr Adam Barrett (University of Sussex)
>>> Prof. Marc Ebner (Computer Science Professor, University of Greifswald)
>>> Dr Chris Fields (Tufts University)
>>> Dr Guillaume Dumas (Associate Professor, University of Montreal / Mila)
>>> Dr Hamid Azizi (Research Scholar, Center for Theology and the Natural
>>> Sciences (CTNS))
>>> Prof. Ricardo Sanz IEEE, AAAI, ASSC (Head of Autonomous Systems
>>> Laboratory,
>>> Universidad Politecnica de Madrid)
>>> Dr Robert Prentner (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)
>>> Prof. Johannes Fahrenfort ASSC (Assistant Professor, VU Amsterdam)
>>> Dr Svetlana Rudenko (Researcher and composer; Haunted Planet Studios,
>>> Trinity College Dublin)
>>> Prof. Óscar Gonçalves (Full Professor of Neuropsychology, University of
>>> Coimbra, Portugal)
>>> Prof. John Barnden SSAISB (Professor Emeritus of AI, University of
>>> Birmingham, UK)
>>> Prof. Valtteri Arstila (University of Turku)
>>> Dr Neda Kosibaty (AMCS)
>>> Dr Daniel Helman (College of Micronesia-FSM)
>>> Justin T. Sampson (VMware, Inc.)
>>> Christopher Rourk (Jackson Walker LLP)
>>> Dr Mouhacine B. Benosman (MERL)
>>> Prof. Ouri Wolfson (University of Illinois at chicago and Pirouette
>>> Software
>>> inc.)
>>> Dr Rupert Macey-Dare (St Cross College Oxford)
>>> David Evans (Sonoma State University)
>>> Rajarshi Ghoshal (Ford)
>>> Prof. Peter B. Reiner (University of British Columbia)
>>> Dr Adeel Razi (Monash University)
>>> Prof. Jun Tani (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology)
>>> David Rein (New York University, Cohere)
>>> Dr Colin Hales (University of Melbourne)
>>> John Balis (University of Wisconsin – Madison)
>>> George Blackburne (University College London)
>>> Jacy Reese Anthis (Sentience Institute)
>>> Dr George Deane (University of Montreal)
>>> Dr Nathan Faivre (CNRS)
>>> Dr Giulio Ruffini (Neuroelectrics, Starlab)
>>> Borjan Milinkovic (Unniversity of Melbourne)
>>> Dr Jacobo Sitt (Inserm, Paris Brain Institute)
>>> Dr Aureli Soria-Frisch (Starlab Barcelona)
>>> Dr Bjørn Erik Juel (University of Oslo and university of Wisconsin –
>>> Madison)
>>> Craig Cockburn (Siliconglen Ltd)
>>> Dr Theofanis Panagiotaropoulos (Inserm/CEA)
>>> Andrea Sittoni (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)
>>> Dr Lancelot Pecquet (University of Poitiers)
>>> Carlos Perez (Intuition Machine Inc.)
>>> Dr Xerxes Arsiwalla (Pompeu Fabra University)
>>> Emeritus Dr Jim Rutt (Santa Fe Institute)
>>> Dr Sean Tull (Quantinuum)
>>> Prof Chris Frith (Craik Prize. 1996; University of London)
>>> Dr Henry Shevlin (Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence,
>>> University of Cambridge)
>>> Dr Jolien C. Francken (Radboud University, Nijmegen)
>>> Prof. Sebastiano Stramaglia (University of Bari)
>>> Milton Ponson (Caribbean Applied Engineering and Science Research
>>> Foundation)
>>> Juan Cordovilla (Exactos Consulting Group)
>>> Eduardo César Garrido Merchán (Universidad Pontificia Comias)
>>> Benedict Harrision (Who Am I Ltd)
>>> Nicolas Grootjans (BlueField)
>>> Jared Frerichs (Deus Mechanicus)
>>> Dr Nadine Dijkstra (University College London)
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