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The Dawn Of Self-Aware AI? Computers To Have Their Own Basic Rights Soon, Expert Says

By Andrew Collins , May 30, 2016 05:30 AM EDT
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An Oxford University professor said computers will soon be eligible to the same civil rights humans currently have. The statement was made in observation to advancements in computing, with artificial intelligence already having a semblance to the human consciousness.

Marcus du Sautoy, a professor at Oxford and author of "What We Cannot Know, "asserts that it is now possible to measure consciousness. In a Telegraph report, he also said the future of "living" technology is within sight. The advancements could lead to devices developing their own consciousness; this qualifies technology to have "human rights."

Self-Aware AI Imminent?

Many scientists also agree computers are near the point of achieving self-developed intelligence. This intelligence is independent from programming and instruction, an event termed as a "technological singularity."

"It's getting to a point where we will be able to say this thing has a sense of itself and maybe there is a threshold moment where suddenly this consciousness emerges," Sautoy said at UK's Hay Literary Festival last Sunday. He noted that consciousness is an unexplored concept in the last decade because there's no practical method of measuring it.

Measured Consciousness, A Breakthrough

Sautoy says this is a golden era in research. Similar to Galileo's time; the discovery of the telescope is similar to the discovery of methods that peek into the human brain. If artificial intelligence is recognized as a level of consciousness, then it follows there's a need to grant rights to devices with AI.

Scientists are racing to ace the Turing test, a challenge to erase the distinction between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. If a human cannot tell the difference between responses from a machine and a real person, the machine has passed the Turing test.

Research in the field discovered brain activity is different during sleep and scientists have derived from this difference a coefficient for measuring consciousness. A CNET report also confirms devices like smartphones currently exhibit behaviour comparable to humans, based on configured "moods" and similar presets.

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