Professor Licato interviewed about the future of Human-like AI Minds


licato banner

Artificial Intelligence may become the most disruptive technology produced by the famously disruptive Computing industry. However, deep learning raises some deep concerns. 

Is consciousness merely computational? Are hardware constraints the only difference between large language models and mankind? Is the popularly known Turing Test a sufficient measurement of AI? Is there a consensus on what it means to be human? CSE Assistant Professor Licato touched on these and other questions in a recent podcast interview with Meghan McCarty Carino on Marketplace, a public media outlet covering a range of topics.

“There’s a set of problems that we sometimes call ‘AI hard’ or ‘AI complete.’ And by that we mean that if any of those problems are solved by an algorithm, then we can say that that algorithm has what it takes to do everything else that a typical human can...” Said Professor Licato. 

“Could AGI have feelings?” asked Meghan Carino.

“I always ask my students how they know that I’m feeling emotions. I ask them, ‘How do you know that I’m feeling genuine emotions?’ Because we just sort of infer it from a combination of little signals that we see.” Professor Licato answered.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the existential risk of developing super-intelligent AI. How do you feel about the development of more advanced AI and potentially AGI?”

“At this point, the possibility of actually creating AGI is no longer something that we can say, ‘Oh, it would be interesting to deal with someday’ and ‘Maybe some future generation will have to deal with it.’ It’s very likely already here, and it’s just a matter of time before we reach it. So, we have to pay attention to it at the legislative level and at the research level. This is arguably the most important technological development in human history. We’re essentially figuring out how to create human-like minds. It is going to completely change the way that we interact with each other, the way societies are structured, governments, warfare, jobs — all of that is going to be completely different once we have AGI.”

Mankind has debated what mankind is since our earliest history. Our answers ranged from a rational animal to a featherless biped. While sci-fi stories of the emotionally attuned ai ‘Her’ and Hal 9000 both beguile and haunt the public’s mind, what Artificial Intelligence will ultimately become is currently unknowable.

To listen to or read the full interview, see below: