EXCLUSIVE | Siri co-founder Tom Gruber says people will believe AIs are sentient 'way before actual sentience'

According to Gruber, a leading expert in AI, we're not that close to having lifelike robots but intelligent AIs that we can hold a conversation with may become a reality within our lifetimes


                            EXCLUSIVE | Siri co-founder Tom Gruber says people will believe AIs are sentient 'way before actual sentience'
Tom Gruber (Carl Dalby/LifeScore)

Artificial Intelligence is one of the most exciting fields of scientific study in the world right now. But exactly how far have we reached with AI? Are we close to creating sentient digital lifeforms and if so, what dangers could they pose to humanity? Siri and LifeScore co-founder Tom Gruber spoke to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) in an exclusive interview where he addressed these exact questions. According to Gruber, a leading expert in the field of AI, we're not that close to having lifelike robots but intelligent AIs that we can hold a conversation with may become a reality within our lifetimes.

"The conversation piece, we're moving ahead quickly on that. The sentience piece is harder to say," He explained. "It's an open question in the community, whether and what kind of sentience could happen. I think that most of the people who've been doing AI all their careers more or less believe that the public will believe that it’s sentient way before actual sentience."

"There'll be projected sentience," Gruber clarified. "We have that now with dogs. People think dogs are sentient in ways that they're not. I mean, dogs are sentient in a way, but not in the way people think. So I think we'll see that it's just a normal human response." However, projected sentience brings with it it's own host of problems that humanity will need to evolve to meet.

"If a lot of people can be fooled by simple tricks or not fooled, but you know, if the people will buy into the simple trips, which I believe they will, then we actually need to kind of acquire a new cognitive skill as humans to be able to detect that and be good at knowing that aspect," Gruber said. "And we don't have that skill yet. So we're actually vulnerable to be in the case in history AI will be used as a tool by people who want to mislead you into appearing to be sentient. And people will use that technology to manipulate you. And so we need to figure out how to make counter-technology to that, that can detect that this is actually fake and tell you why."

"For instance, with the virtual assistants, most adults with IQ above a hundred or probably even above 90 or 70 know that it's not actually sentient," he added. "But it turns out that a lot of children don't really have the brain development yet to know that difference. So they have imaginary friends and their dolls and so on. So it's really, it's already the case that even the simplest of AI is apparently sentient to certain humans, young children."

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