Computers and Consciousness

In an upbeat interactive presentation he told an audience at Hay that we shouldn't fear technology, and that we should see the relationship with AI as more of "a partnership or collaboration."

He said one classic way of judging the usefulness of AI  is asking three questions - does it offer something new, surprising and of value.

He went onto explain that although the chess playing computer Deep Blue ultimately defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in the 1990s AI  still has a long way to go in terms of creativity and decision making.

However since those chess-challenges things have moved on apace and computers have tried to mimic the style of famous artists like Rembrandt  and compose music  - ultimately offering opportunities for humans to develop their creativity.

Du Sautoy said AI which is able to do the creative heavy lifting, relies on the information it has accessed, to arrive at solutions to the problems it has been tasked to solve.

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Picture by Marsha Arnold