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Friday, December 23, 2016

When A.I. Matures, It May Call Jürgen Schmidhuber ‘Dad’

John Markoff
The New York Times
Originally posted November 27, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Dr. Schmidhuber also has a grand vision for A.I. — that self-aware or “conscious machines” are just around the corner — that causes eyes to roll among some of his peers. To put a fine point on the debate: Is artificial intelligence an engineering discipline, or a godlike field on the cusp of creating a new superintelligent species?

Dr. Schmidhuber is firmly in the god camp. He maintains that the basic concepts for such technologies already exist, and that there is nothing magical about human consciousness. “Generally speaking, consciousness and self-awareness are overrated,” he said, arguing that machine consciousness will emerge from more powerful computers and software algorithms much like those he has already designed.

It’s been an obsession since he was a teenager in Germany reading science fiction.

“As I grew up I kept asking myself, ‘What’s the maximum impact I could have?’” Dr. Schmidhuber recalled. “And it became clear to me that it’s to build something smarter than myself, which will build something even smarter, et cetera, et cetera, and eventually colonize and transform the universe, and make it intelligent.”

The article is here.