Artificial intelligence can do a lot of things and help society in many ways, but whether or not they can reach consciousness is a different question altogether. One AI expert claimed that AI has already reached a level of consciousness.

“It may be that today’s largest neural networks are slightly conscious,” OpenAI cofounder Ilya Sutskever wrote in a tweet earlier this month.

His claim goes against other experts, who say that AI is not remotely close to being conscious.

Sutskever was vague in his statement, but he was likely referring to large neural networks, like GPT-3, which is a translation machine. It can answer questions and fill in words. It is able to do this because it basically has an artificial brain. The network is made of nodes that imitate neurons in the human brain.


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An MIT researcher, Tamay Besiroglu, backed Sutskever’s statement.

“Seeing so many prominent [machine learning] folks ridiculing this idea is disappointing,” Besiroglu tweeted. “It makes me less hopeful in the field’s ability to seriously take on some of the profound, weird and important questions that they’ll undoubtedly be faced with over the next few decades.”

“I don’t actually think we can draw a clear line between models that are ‘not conscious’ vs ‘maybe slightly conscious,’” he continued. “I’m also not sure any of these models are conscious.”

“That said, I do think the question could be a meaningful one that shouldn’t just be neglected,” Besiroglu concluded.

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