Jonathan Salem Baskin

Author, Advisor, Agitator

The belief that development of a sentient or self-aware AI is simply a matter of enough data, connections, and processing speed is based on the premise that human consciousness is the product of material objects and processes, too. Francis Crick, the less overtly racist half of the duo who discovered DNA’s double helix, published a […]

I got to thinking about this question today after reading about the death of Victoria Braithwaite, a biologist who believed that fish feel pain (and feel happier in tanks decorated with plants). Lots of experts pushed back on her research findings earlier this decade, claiming that fish brains lacked a neocortex, which meant they weren’t […]

A new sleep-aid robot comes with a birth certificate, but is it alive? A reviewer for The Guardian’s “Wellness or hellness?” thinks not, after having reviewed the cushion-spared device that’s supposed to help users relax and fall asleep. “I would rather spoon a fork,” he concluded. The smart pillow comes equipped with sensors so it […]

Patent offices around the world are considering two applications that credit AI with an invention, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Both stem from work done by DALBUS (which stands for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience). DALBUS was built over the past decade by Stephen Thaler, a tech […]

Will robots that possess general intelligence be safer, and therefore more trustworthy? Two professors have written a book on the subject, entitled Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust — and an interview with one of the authors in the MIT Technology Review suggests it will be a very good read. General intelligence is […]

“British employees are deliberately sabotaging workplace robots over fears the machines will take their jobs,” declared a headline the the UK’s Daily Mail. Even though most people today aren’t represented by organized unions, you can imagine that we’re all part of a loosely affiliated group called human beings and that we hold out for some […]

As astronaut Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey slowly murders HAL9000, the robot sings the late Victorian era pop song Daisy Bell until its voice disintegrates. “But you’ll…look sweet…upon…the…seat…” It’s particularly chilling since HAL has spent much of the scene begging Dave to stop, repeatedly saying “I’m afraid” and “my mind is […]