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Well, since we're wildly speculating here . . .

Maybe we can't simulate the human brain.  Maybe we can.  We don't know.  But if we could replicate our brain's ability to sort and process and give meaning to input and information, understand the structures of meta-information, and understand the nature of problems at least as well as humans, then I see no reason why such an AI would not quickly become far more than human.  The AI would have at its disposal the distinctly inhuman ability to precisely calculate mathematically at truly insane speeds, combined with an ability to absolutely remember everything, and an ability to copy itself infinitely and perfectly to new hardware, so as to run multiple simultaneous copies and truly mult-task.  Further, the AI would have the ability to directly and absolutely understand its own makeup, and to change and adjust this as necessary, on both the software and hardware level.  Just as an example, the AI could not only maintain copies of everything ever written by anyone ever simultaneously in conscious memory, but then build itself a million different brains to simultaneously think through and understand these things at once, and then instantly and perfectly recombine those multiple understandings together and keep them on hand, with perfect recall.  It would be like being able to recall perfectly the exact mental state of every epiphany or moment of understanding you have ever had, all at once.  Not only that, but be able to simultaneously consider all of them, juggle them around, and compare them at leisure.

But all this is a big if.  We don't know how human cognition works, on a logical or practical level.  We don't know how the brain works.  We don't know if our models of reason and logic will ever scale to consciousness, or if something else entirely alien would be required.  It's all a huge mystery.

I am agnostic towards the possibility of creating a human-level intelligence artificially.  But were it created, it would certainly be far more than human, and far more vast and powerful than we can truly comprehend, simply because it would be able to combine what we do well with what computers do well at a natural level.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:16:08 AM EST
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