Hod Lipson, a mechanical engineer at the head of Columbia University’s Creative Machines Lab, is developing a machine that will surpass “everything else we’ve done” and have “consciousness on par with a human.”
According to Lipson, sentient robots may one day even be able to treat cancer.
One of the most contentious issues in AI is consciousness. Still, aside from the technical obstacles in realizing this ambition, the concept of consciousness itself needs to be more defined and vulnerable to human interpretation.
The New York Times reports that despite their best attempts, researchers have never been able to link awareness to any particular brain activity.
Lipson defines awareness as the ability to “imagine yourself in the future” in his own words.
He has sought to create adaptive robots with general intelligence that can learn to evolve through artificial selection and react to changing environmental conditions and mistakes or injuries sustained by mechanical bodies.
Not only will machines be able to learn from their mistakes and improve, but they will also be able to envision how to do so.
Researchers expect that robots will be able to absorb human traits and qualities in a way that projects humanity onto conscious machines. Humans anthropomorphize non-humans, especially technology.