1 min readWhy AI Cannot Achieve Human Consciousness

In this article for Word on Fire, Dr. Steven Umbrello explores the Human-AI divide, by looking at AI’s unprecedented capabilities as well as the “irreplaceable depth of human consciousness.

According to Umbrello, narratives of technological determinism, those that promote the idea that AI can achieve human-like awareness and decision-making capabilities “not only overestimates technology’s autonomous power but also conveniently absolves its creators and major stakeholders from ethical responsibility”.

Using Bernard Lonergan’s theory of intentional awareness, Umbrello creates a clear distinction between the purely statistical and pattern-based operations of AI and the meaning-seeking human cognition.

Editor’s Note: One thought that stands out while we read this article is this: those who engage in transhumanism cannot afford to believe in God because it would mean that they will also have to acknowledge that technology can never achieve the level of complexity created by nature.

Perhaps AI may reach computation that is beyond that of the human being. Perhaps it will achieve a point that it sounds exactly like a human being would. But the mysteriousness of human consciousness assures us that these human creations will never be humans. They will always be driven by data, and they will always act within the bounds of the data they were trained on.

This article shows us that there is room for AI in the world, but we must not delude ourselves into thinking that it can replace humanity. Nevertheless, a word of caution: while AI cannot replace humanity, it can eradicate human society if left unchecked.

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