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Robot Brains: Circuits and Systems for Conscious Machines by Pentti O. Haikonen

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1

Introduction

1.1 GENERAL INTELLIGENCE AND CONSCIOUS MACHINES

Suppose that you were going to see a conscious machine, perhaps a robot. What would you expect to see? Recent advances in robotics have produced animal and humanoid robots that are able to move in very naturalistic ways. Would you find these robots conscious? I do not think so. As impressive as the antics of these artefacts are, their shortcoming is easy to see; the lights may be on, but there is ‘nobody’ at home. The program-controlled microprocessors of these robots do not have the faintest trace of consciousness and the robots themselves do not know what they are doing. These robots are no more aware of their own existence than a cuckoo clock on a good day.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has brought chess-playing computer programs that can beat grand masters and other ‘intelligent’ programs that can execute given specific tasks. However, the intelligence of these programs is not that of the machine; instead it is the intelligence of the programmer who has laid down the rules for the execution of the task. At best and with some goodwill these cases of artificial intelligence might be called ‘specific intelligence’ as they work only for their specific and limited application. In contrast, ‘general intelligence’ would be flexible and applicable over a large number of different problems. Unfortunately, artificial general intelligence has been elusive. Machines do not really understand anything, as they do not utilize meanings. ...

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