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๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article explores the nature of human thought and intelligence, and the potential for artificial intelligence to achieve human-like thought. It discusses the cognitive spectrum, which describes the different modes of thinking that occur as our level of alertness and focus changes throughout the day. The article argues that true artificial intelligence would require not just logical reasoning, but the ability to free-associate, hallucinate, and inhabit one's own thoughts - abilities that are tied to the emotional and embodied nature of human consciousness. The article concludes that while artificial thought can be simulated, it will not be truly conscious or aware.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Cognitive Spectrum

1. What is the cognitive spectrum and how does it relate to human thought?

  • The cognitive spectrum refers to the continuum of thought-styles that humans experience, ranging from maximum alertness and focus to the loss of conscious control that occurs in sleep and dreaming.
  • At the high-focus end, thinking involves logical reasoning and problem-solving. As focus declines, thoughts begin to wander and flow more freely, eventually leading to the dream-like state of sleep where thoughts are beyond conscious control.
  • This spectrum of thought-styles, from "day logic" to "dream logic", is a fundamental aspect of human cognition that has been overlooked by many philosophers and scientists.

2. How does the loss of focus and control relate to the experience of reality?

  • As focus declines, there is a corresponding loss of connection to external reality. Partway down the spectrum, one may become distracted and less aware of their environment.
  • At the low-focus end, during sleep and dreaming, reality disappears entirely and the mind creates its own imaginary reality through the re-experiencing of memories.
  • The thinker and their thoughts become blended together, rather than being separate as in high-focus logical thinking.

3. What role do emotions play in the cognitive spectrum?

  • Emotions are seen as crucial to the ability to form new and creative analogies, which is a key aspect of human thought.
  • Subtle, nuanced emotions that summarize experiences can act as the "glue" that connects disparate memories and ideas, leading to novel insights.
  • Simulating the full range of human emotions is identified as a major challenge for achieving artificial thought, as computers lack the embodied nature of human consciousness.

[02] Artificial Intelligence and the Cognitive Spectrum

1. Can the internet or individual computers ever achieve true intelligence?

  • The article argues that true, human-like intelligence cannot emerge on the internet or in computers, as they lack the necessary physical and biological foundations of consciousness.
  • Computers are made of the "wrong stuff" to produce consciousness and an inner mental world, in the same way they cannot perform photosynthesis.
  • While computers can be programmed to simulate thought processes, they will ultimately be "zombies" - lacking genuine awareness and subjective experience.

2. How could the cognitive spectrum inform the development of artificial thought?

  • Understanding the details of the cognitive spectrum could provide a guide for constructing software models of consciousness and memory, and setting them in rhythmic motion to simulate thought processes.
  • However, major technical challenges remain, particularly in modeling the role of emotion, which is seen as essential to human-like thought and creativity.
  • Even if these challenges are solved, the resulting artificial thought would be a simulation, lacking the true consciousness and subjective experience of human intelligence.

3. What are the implications if artificial thought is achieved, even without true consciousness?

  • The article suggests that even without genuine awareness, an artificially intelligent system could act and behave in ways that are indistinguishable from a human being.
  • This raises philosophical and ethical questions about the nature of intelligence, consciousness, and the potential impacts of such simulated thought on society.
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