How I learned to stop worrying and love artificial intelligence

September 22, 2015

The distinction between man and machine is under siege. The technology wizard Ray Kurzweil speaks with casual confidence of achieving electromagnetic immortality with our once human selves eternally etched onto universal servers.

For me, the possibility that machines will acquire the equivalent of human feelings and emotions is pure fantasy. And yet, as a neurologist, I cannot ignore advancing machine intelligence’s implications about the human mind.

Uncovering the biology of creativity is big business. Functional MRI scan aficionados tell us which brain areas light up when someone has a novel idea. Brain wave experts propose electrical patterns specific to originality.

Even if these observations pan out, they cannot tell us how to interpret a brilliant chess move arising out of a software glitch. If we are forced to expand our notion of creativity to include random electrical firings, what does that tell us about our highly touted imaginative superiority over a mindless machine?

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