The hopes and fears surrounding the advent of artificial intelligence are fantastical, from Ray Kurzweil’s promise of spiritual machines to Elon Musk’s warnings of killer robots. And yes, some version of that future is barreling toward us at an ever-increasing speed, says philosophy of technology professor Michael Zimmerman, who is Jeff’s guest today.
In this episode Michael and Jeff make important distinctions between artificial intelligence and consciousness itself. Machines may become incredibly capable of handling information (e.g. the phone in your pocket), they may be able to self-observe and learn, they may even be able to “present” as human. But will they ever hope and dream – or plot and scheme? Jeff argues that a system of material components, however complex, will never create a shred of interiority. Michael is not so sure, and offers a couple scenarios that give Jeff a scare!
About Michael Zimmerman
Michael E. Zimmerman is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has written several essays about integral theory, with special emphasis on integral ecology Michael Zimmerman and Sean Esbjorn-Hargens have co-authored a book called Integral Ecology.
About Jeff Salzman
Jeff Salzman worked with Ken Wilber for several years in building the Integral Institute. He is a co-founder of Boulder Integral (now The Integral Center), the first bricks-and-mortar venue dedicated to the development of integral consciousness. These days Jeff provides integrally-inspired commentary on politics and culture on Integral Life and The Daily Evolver.