Can AI replicate the human brain?

Phil Lawson: On nearly a daily basis we read statements from “experts” in artificial intelligence predicting timeframes for when machines will think …

These predictions are typically followed by proclamations of how this will lead to the salvation or destruction of humanity.

To my knowledge, there is no common definition for “think” as it relates to machines and humans. So let’s recognize how little we know about “intellect” in this space. In fact, brain experts are only beginning “to pinpoint” what 86 billion neurons in the human brain do. Note the following from science writer Stephen S. Hall in

“In January 2013, the European Commission invested a billion euros in the launch of its Human Brain Project, a 10-year initiative to map out all the connections in the brain. Several months later, in April 2013, the Obama administration announced an initiative called Brain Research through Advanced Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN), which is expected to pour as much as $1 billion into the field, with much of the early funding earmarked for technology development.” 

“Optogenetics and other new techniques mean scientists can begin to pinpoint the function of the thousands of different types of neurons among the roughly 86 billion in the human brain.”neuroscience brain

Only now, in the past year or two have governments stepped up with billions to “map out all the connections in the human brain.” And yet, AI coders are busy right now trying to lay down the algorithms for deep learning without the conclusions of this research.

This begs the question, then: If the ultimate goal of the humans who are designing Artificial Intelligence is to advance the human experience, then specialists in diverse fields related to our humanity must be invited to the discussion while the cultural blueprint is being written for AI. If, however, the motivations of these creators involves compartmentalized thinking — ‘first to the market’ rationale, or purely name recognition, or a 30-pieces-of-silver scenario, then patching up and fixing up the remains of an incomplete invention, Frankensteinian-style, might very well be the scary outcome.

Meanwhile, AI enthusiasts are telling us that AI can be created by a group of kids after an all-night Red Bull session.”  Let’s grow up this view. Our excessive veneration for smart “kids” may do us in. See my blog about it here.