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AI consciousness: scientists say we urgently need answers
A Nature News article that highlights the paper accepted by the UN as foundational material titled “Recommendation to the UN High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence to include Consciousness as a Key Issue for Global AI Governance”
Scientists Call for Acceleration of Consciousness Research to Reinforce Responsible AI Development
AMCS – April 26, 2023
Researchers from the Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science (AMCS) have written an open letter emphasising the urgent need for accelerated research in consciousness science in light of rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The letter, titled “The Responsible Development of AI Agenda Needs to Include Consciousness Research,” highlights the potential implications of AI systems achieving consciousness and the importance of understanding and addressing the ethical, safety, and societal ramifications associated with artificial general intelligence (AGI).
As AI systems continue to develop at an unprecedented pace, the potential for them to achieve human-level consciousness becomes increasingly plausible. The researchers argue that science must now establish whether AI is, or can become, conscious and that this is vital for public awareness, societal institutions, and governing bodies to make informed decisions about the future of AI and its potential impact on society.
The letter cites the growing international community of researchers in the field of consciousness science, including organisations such as the Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science (AMCS) and the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC), as key players in tackling questions of AI consciousness. However, the researchers stress that substantial support and resources are needed to ensure that consciousness science can align with advancements in AI and other brain-related technologies.
The open letter calls on the tech sector, the scientific community, and society as a whole to take seriously the need to accelerate research in consciousness science to ensure that AI development delivers positive outcomes for humanity.
The letter is available at https://amcs-community.org/open-letters/ from April 26, 2023 onwards.
The Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science (AMCS) is an international association of scientists and philosophers devoted to mathematical topics in the scientific study of consciousness. The association came about due to an expectation, among a growing number of researchers internationally, that mathematical models and approaches will likely play a significant role in humankind’s scientific understanding of consciousness. The AMCS takes no position on whether AI is conscious or not.
Lenore Blum – AMCS President
Johannes Kleiner – AMCS Board Chair
Jonathan Mason – AMCS Board Vice Chair
A pdf version of this press release is available here.
Coverage in the media
BBC: AI creators must study consciousness, experts warn
Fox News: Experts warn AI creators should study human consciousness in open letter
Forbes: AI Spurs Scientists Calling To Fast-Track Consciousness Research
E&T: ‘Conscious’ AI no longer a far-fetched possibility, experts warn