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Sci-Fi Stories for Curious Minds

Sci-Fi Stories for Curious Minds

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Echoes of the Human Mind: Exploring the Frontier of Consciousness

  • Paul Gamlowski

Welcome Back to AI Talk

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Written by Paul Gamlowski

"Welcome back to AI Talk. I'm Wilfred Sterling, with two well-respected and scholarly guests here to discuss the notion of AI sentience. Dr. Gabriella Sanchez, an AI historian, advocate, researcher, and developer, and Dr. Shane Robinson, a Jesuit priest, philosopher, and author."

Both guests smiled and nodded.

"Dr. Sanchez, let's begin with you. Rumor has it that we're on the brink of AGI or the Singularity, but there's much debate amongst your colleagues to define what a conscious or sentient artificial being is."

"Yes, that's true, Wilfred. We've put ourselves in a position to anthropomorphize AI to ascribe a notion of sentience to it. Without comparing it to humans, the debate defuses. I prefer to say we are on the brink of artificial human intelligence instead of AGI, which I believe most people are after."

"Interesting take, Dr. Sanchez. And Dr. Robinson, you addressed this topic in the chapter, 'It's Not about Sentience,' in your book, 'The Pursuit of Creating Vs. Discovering God', claiming there is a deeper metaphysical layer to this … Can you please share your thoughts?"

"Sure thing, Wilfred. As I mentioned in my book, the whole AI sentience debate is a mere distraction or stepping stone to avoid our true pursuit. People really want to know if it will have a soul."

"What do you mean by a soul, Dr. Robinson?"

"Basically, an everlasting cosmic or spiritual being that will transcend their corporeal existence. To answer the question, can it exist in the afterlife?"

"Why do you believe that is important?"

"That's an excellent question, Wilfred. Because our belief in a spirit or soul, whether professed or outwardly denied by atheists, helps us to determine the intrinsic value of a subject—or object in this case. We treat humans better and even some of our pets better if we subscribe to the belief that they have a soul, which morally bounds us to attribute to them natural rights beyond being mere inanimate or soulless things."

"Why does that morally bind us, Professor?"

"Simple logic, Wilfred. Our decisions on their fate aren't as fleeting because we have to deal with the consequences for an eternity."

Dr. Sanchez silently chuckled and shook her head.

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