• Yes, and it's due in large part to the thumbnail.

    Hal is not the scariest movie villain because he's a killer robot. He's the scariest movie villain because he's NOT a killer robot. That's the mistake so many people make about 2001, is that Hal malfunctioned. He didn't malfunction. He did everything he was programmed to- complete the task and eliminate threats. He's not a maniac, and he's not sadistic. He doesn't have any emotions, he's just doing what he does. It's what he represents- efficiency. People will go to enormous lengths to make things easier, so they program a robot computer to do it for them. No matter how many precautions we can take, the computers will become self-aware. It's only a matter of time.

  • What is self-aware?

    Getting two or more people to agree on a specific definition of what self-aware is might be difficult. Building a machine that is then self-aware will never happen. It's a glorified calculator and does what it is programmed to do. Back in the fifties it was wrongly characterized as an "electronic brain", but it wasn't even close to being a brain. Computer scientists may be able to program a thought process simulation, but that program will not make a machine self-aware. A program could be written so that when the question, "Are you self-aware?" is typed into a computer it will then respond with, "YES." Would that mean the computer is self-aware? I don't think so.

  • Computers can only be as good as their programmers

    I don't think that computers can ever be self aware. They're only as good as the human input they receive from programmers or other system architects, which means they're limited as to what they can think of, which in turn limits self-awareness. They can already speculate on outcomes, but only because the humans that created such programs made it that way.

  • Computers will only do what they're programmed to do.

    There is absolutely no chance that a computer will decide to do something different on its own. The difference between a computer and an animal is that an animal can refuse to do something. The computer cannot say no, because it was never programmed to do so. Likewise, the computer's "intelligence" is only as smart as the programmer. Therefore, we are never going to be in danger of a virtual consciousness because we can not begin to simulate one.

Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
Quan says2013-06-04T19:22:58.120
There's no way to definitively say that we will ever create a self aware machine, but I haven't ruled out the possibility. I don't consider the human body much different than a biological computer. We're already developing an arm that moves and even has a sense of touch by interfacing with the brain.
fractaldreams says2013-07-10T08:26:22.760
Once again, I cannot go with either 'yes' or 'no', so will content myself with leaving a comment. I think, given where we are now, in terms of getting to know how this most extraordinary organ of ours - the brain - actually works, and given how very little we know about the emergence of consciousness, it's too soon to answer with any degree of confidence or certainty. The more likely scenario, in my opinion, is the merging of computer with mind, paving the way for enhanced humans (which then raises the possibility of really taking off with AI), i think this because of the advances made in computer-brain interface research are very exciting - so, it's basically happening, we have the technology (see: http://www.Extremetech.Com/extreme/149879-brown-university-creates-first-wireless-implanted-brain-computer-interface).

Unlike Quan, I do consider our human selves quite different from computers (although I admit to not being up to speed with advances in research relating to biomolecular computing devices, but i'm heading over to http://www.Sciencedaily.Com/releases/2013/05/130523180318.Htm to try and remedy that) mainly due to the value I ascribe to intuitions and instincts, to the 'wired-in' instructions which are the result of a long period of evolution/adaptation. I am not a very techy person nor I am a scientist, so, there's every chance my thinking on this could be deeply flawed. Anyway, it's very interesting and extremely relevant.