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Conscious Machines


While it is certainly possible to do so, we may never build an artificial intelligence that is as human as we are. And yet we may build better humans anyway.

The vast majority of the AIs we build will not resemble the human condition. They will be smarter and less eccentric. It will benefit and better humanity. Driving AIs will kill and maim far fewer people, use fewer resources, and free up countless hours of our time. Doctor AIs are already better at spotting cancer in tissue scans. Attorney AIs are better at pre-trial research. There are no difficult games left where humans are competitive with AIs. And life is a game of sorts, one full of treachery and misdeeds, as well as a heaping dose of cooperation.

What the future is also likely to hold is an expansion and improvement of our own internal algorithms. We have a long history of bettering our treatment of others.

The world is getting safer every day for the vast majority of humanity. Our ethics are improving. Our spheres of empathy are expanding. We are assigning more computing power to our frontal lobes and drowning out baser impulses from our reptilian modules. But this only happens with effort. We are each the programmers of our own internal algorithms, and improving ourselves is entirely up to us. It starts with understanding how imperfectly we are constructed, learning not to trust the stories we tell ourselves about our own actions, and dedicating ourselves to removing bugs and installing newer features along the way.

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