Computer scientist David Gelernter has written an in-depth article for Technology Review where he criticises the possibility of creating artificial consciousness, but has high hopes for unconscious artificial intelligence.
My case for the near-impossibility of conscious software minds resembles what others have said. But these are minority views. Most AI researchers and philosophers believe that conscious software minds are just around the corner. To use the standard term, most are “cognitivists.” Only a few are “anticognitivists.” I am one. In fact, I believe that the cognitivists are even wronger than their opponents usually say.
But my goal is not to suggest that AI is a failure. It has merely developed a temporary blind spot. My fellow anticognitivists have knocked down cognitivism but have done little to replace it with new ideas. They’ve showed us what we can’t achieve (conscious software intelligence) but not how we can create something less dramatic but nonetheless highly valuable: unconscious software intelligence. Once AI has refocused its efforts on the mechanisms (or algorithms) of thought, it is bound to move forward again.
Gelernter is a a great writer and an interesting guy, not least because of his brush with death, courtesy of disturbed anti-technologist Ted Kaczynski aka ‘The Unabomber’.
Link to TechReview article ‘Artificial Intelligence Is Lost in the Woods’.