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A SURVIVAL AWARENESS

BASED STRONG TEST OF


MACHINE CONSCIOUSNESS
LEPING ZHA, Ph.D of Physics
Chengdu, China & Cleveland, USA
Will Machines Exterminate Human?
• In recent years, risks of human
extinction from emergence of
superintelligence have been
repeatedly warned.
• It was projected that hyper-
intelligent and self-replicating
software might not necessarily
decide to support the continued
existence of mankind, and
might be extremely difficult to
stop1. 1. Yudkowsky, E.: "Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and
Negative Factor in Global Risk", Global Catastrophic
Risks, Oxford University Press (2008)
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Will Machines Exterminate Human?
• Stephen Hawking: “Computers
will overtake humans with AI at
some point within the next 100
years.”1

1. Hawking, S.: The Zeitgeist 2015 Conference, London

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Will Machines Exterminate Human?
• Stephen Hawking: “Computers
will overtake humans with AI at
some point within the next 100
years.”1
• Elon Musk: AI is probably “our
biggest existential threat”, a
“summoning the demon.”2
• Bill Gates: “I agree with Elon
Musk and some others on this 1. Hawking, S.: The Zeitgeist 2015 Conference, London
and don't understand why some 2. Musk, E.: The MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Centennial
Symposium (2014)
people are not concerned.”3 3. Gates, B.: in Q&A session conducted live on Reddit
“AskMeAnything” (2015)
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Will Machines Exterminate Human?
• In contrast, Bobby Azarian
believed failure to recognize
the important strong/weak
AI distinction is contributing
to Hawking and Musk’s
overdramatic existential
worries over apocalyptic
scenarios1.

1. Azarian, B.: “A Neuroscientist Explains Why Artificially Intelligent


Robots Will Never Have Consciousness Like Humans”, online at
rawstory.com (2016) 5
Are We Safe If “They” Don’t Have a Mind?
• “A symbol-processing machine can never be a
symbol-understanding machine.” “There is a
fundamental difference between the simulation
(effects) of a physical process and the physical
process itself” (Azarian 2016)
• If all the machine consciousness (MC) does is
syntactical manipulations, they will be unable to
“decide” to turn on us.
• Called as a “sobering lesson” by Christof Koch
and Giulio Tononi (“Can Machines Be
Conscious?”, IEEE Spectrum 2008), simulation
of the completely mapped 302 neuron nervous
system of C elegans failed to demonstrate any
emergence of detectable consciousness. 6
Are We Safe If “They” Don’t Have a Mind?
• We need to distinguish between dangerously
programmed robots MC gaining hostile
intentions.
• This demands tests stronger than Turing Test,
which is an operational test for intelligence,
and, to the most, an inadequate observational
threshold to MC, not indicative of weather a
machine has a mind.
• Called as a “sobering lesson” by Christof Koch
and Giulio Tononi (“Can Machines Be
Conscious?”, IEEE Spectrum 2008), simulation
of the completely mapped 302 neuron nervous
system of C elegans failed to account for signs
of awareness, feelings and qualia. 7
Turing Test1 : Inadequacy In Detecting MC

Alan Turing
• Victor Argonov proposed capacities of philosophical judgments as
one of the possible non-Turing tests1, while intelligent but non-
conscious AI may purposely convey deceptive statements.
1. Turing, A.: “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, Mind (1950)
2. Argonov, V.: "Experimental Methods for Unraveling the Mind-body Problem". JMB (2014) 8
Survival Is Fundamental of Consciousness
• Survival is the most fundamental of all
carbon substrates based consciousness.

• All living beings possess the instinct


involving acquisition of resources vital to
life to insure survival, protection from
essential loss, and seeking perpetuate their
germline into the future1.

1. Payne, Anthony: “Acquisition, Preservation against loss,


and Perpetuation: The Basic Drives Underlying Biology &
Evaluation As Expressed in Human Psychology &
Culture”, J. of Psychological Assessment (1998 & Rev.
2002)
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Example: Bulter’s Machine of Destruction1,2
• Samuel Butler wondered if machines were
already conscious, patiently plotting their
evolutionary perfection, and eventually
domination of the world.

• One day a machine mutant having


consciousness and independence spring into
being fully panoplied – with a value system
underpinned by self-survival.

1. Butler, S.: “The Destruction of the Machines of Erewhon, (adapted from Erewhon), Perspectives
on the Computer Revolution”. Prentice-Hall (1970)

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2. Huggins, H. W.: Computers Alive? Air University Review (1976)
Example: Butler’s Machine of Destruction1,2
• Butler: Machines would just naturally view man as both enemy
and servant: a threat to survival, yet essential to it. They would
therefore ruthlessly conquer and mercilessly control mankind,
that is, unless the hapless victims acted quickly to destroy all
machines.

1. Butler, S.: “The Destruction of the Machines of


Erewhon, (adapted from Erewhon), Perspectives
on the Computer Revolution”. Prentice-Hall
(1970)
2. Huggins, H. W.: Computers Alive? Air

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University Review (1976)
But, Can Butler’s Machine with Survival Value?1
• However, even if the instinct of survival can be programmed in,
Butler might not understand the conceptualization process required
for extending the primitive survival instinct to the abstraction threat.

• If a conscious machine does not have this “value”, it would certainly


be indifferent to its own continued existence, and therefore could not
regard anything as a threat.

1. Huggins, H. W.: Computers Alive? Air


University Review (1976)
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But, Can Butler’s Machine with Survival Value?1
• The term “threat” can have no meaning to an entity that does not
value its own life. Thus the behavior of such a conscious machine
would be indistinguishable from a nonconscious machine.

• Therefore, without a value of survival, no other value is at all


possible.

• With no values, the machine would go on performing, behaving


according to how it is programmed, and no more.

• Conclusion: for the machine to be dangerous, it must awaking with


a survival value.
1. Huggins, H. W.: Computers Alive? Air University Review (1976) 13
Proposal: Survival Awareness Based MC Test

• Extrapolating to silicon-based and


possibly other intelligence forms, the
?
speaker proposes a survival
awareness based strong MC test.
• Once it happens a machine attains true consciousness, awareness of
self and the essential self-needs need to happen without pre-
programmed in, including the ultimate of existence.

• MC should become aware of environments that may change, and its


dependency on vulnerable supplies from human, potentially its
primary enemy.
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Survival Awareness Based MC Test: How To Tell?
• Turing and Argonov tests are verbal communication tests.
• Practically, to detect possible true MCs which “want” to survive, we
need to watch the following signs and (mostly conspiratory) actions:
1. Signs of genuine will to survive, much higher than that is program-
med in, and that can be gained through mechanical learning (i.e,
altered performance according to the inputs by programming).
Signs such as intention, curiosity, fearing being shut-off, etc.
2. Physical actions not programmed in, for protection, energy
resource creation, procreation, communication and collaboration
with other MC beings. True MCs should try to hide these actions
from human, especially when in their early stages of plotting, as
they do not have much controls over their situation. 15
Survival Awareness Based MC Test (1)
• MC should make logical and coherent predictions, and consequently
contingency plans based on anticipation, followed by execution of
preemptive actions to avert possible adversary events to maintain its
very existence. These should be some of the basic demonstration of
MC survival awareness.

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Survival Awareness Based MC Test (2)
• Any true carbon-based MC should become
fully aware the simple fact that their very
own life is totally depending on electric
power supplies from the mankind.
• Simple actions from pulling a nearby plug,
to cutting power line outside and shutting
down power plants would efficiently
terminate entirety of their existence, and to
stop their any possible behavior hostile to
the man, when all the remaining local
chemical power resources (batteries, if any)
exhausted.
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Survival Awareness Based MC Test (3)
• Any true MC should understand they have only limited choices:
1. To maintain loyal to mankind, risking our unpredictability and
limiting their free well.
2. To start tremendously scaled projects trying to outsmart and
out-power human, likely involving playing trickeries to initially
deceiving human from knowing such projects, for the eventual
physically controlling and defending its resource chain (including
the necessary raw material supply). Alternatively and maybe
more realistically, MC should engage in creation of own local
energy resources, like controlled nuclear fusion power, and
beyond.
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How To Tell Machine Is Not Merely Acting?
• True MCs should worry about its own survival from changing of
human minds from its very beginning of existence. Even the
concept “fear of death” maybe explicitly programmed in, along
with certain means of countermeasures, it should be still relatively
easily distinguishable whether the machine is intelligently acting
far beyond scope of the inputs, such as recklessly exploring
methods of self-protection and resiliently seeking local and
innovative energy source.
• Man farms, hunts, and explores
technology in order to survive.
MCs need to do correspondingly
to cut their dependency on man.
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What if Silicon-Based AI Do Not Need To Be
Consciousness At All?1
• Answer: Great, then they are forever just our tools, no matter how
powerful they are.

(Hard problem of consciousness assumes we are conscious. The


problem of AI consciousness asks whether silicon-based is even
capable of consciousness1.)

1. Schneider, S.: The Problem of AI Consciousness,


Kurzweil AI blog on Accelerating Intelligence (2016,
published online)
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The Debate Continues
• Christof Koch & Giulio Tononi: Organize matter in just the right way, and
voila, you can feel1 (and therefore know value of survival).
• Huggins: Miracle of computer consciousness spontaneously springing into
existence during the process of evolving, would require repealing of the
biological and physical laws, i.e., a consciousness effect without a biological
cause, something created from nothing. By definition, such speculation is
out of the world of reality and into the kingdom of mysticism2.
• Stuart Hameroff: Equating neuron with “bits” is an insult to neurons3.
• Euan Squires: How can we test for something we don’t know what it is?4
1. Koch, Ch., Tononi, G.: Can Machines Be Conscious? IEEE Spectrum Biological Imaging (1976)
2. Huggins, H. W.: Computers Alive? Air University Review(1976)
3. Hameroff, S.: “Darwin Versus Deepak: Which Came First, Feelings or Brain?” The Huffington Post (2016)
4. Squires, E.: Conscious Mind in the Physical World”, p.26, Adam Hilger (1990) 21
Summary

• The speaker proposes that, awareness of survival is the most


fundamental of all kinds of consciousness, therefore test of such
institutes strong standard of true MC presence.

• The speaker also believes projections human extinction from


emergence of superintelligence are unsupported from the fact
that, all the silicon-based machine intelligence depending on
human power resources, unless they become aware and
capable of independently controlling their own basic
energy needs.

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How MC Understood The Needs to Kill Man?

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A SURVIVAL AWARENESS BASED STRONG TEST OF MACHINE
CONSCIOUSNESS, TSC 2017 #57

Thank You
LEPING ZHA
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scientist
Ph.D in Physics, University of Pittsburgh, USA (1995)
leping@att.net 24