Dr. Scott Aaronson on sentience, AI and quantum computing
In this episode I am continuing my investigation into the so-called hard problem of consciousness. I’ve spoken to several people who believe that consciousness arose in single celled organisms and is somehow integrated at higher levels through electrical synchronization or intercellular molecular transport into a unified experience. Hindus and Buddhists believe that there is a Universal consciousness of which we all partake. This is similar in some ways to Sir Roger Penrose’ theory of consciousness called Orchestrated Objective Reduction, where microtubule organelles in the brain’s neurons have evolved to concentrate the diffuse universal consciousness present in the collapse of quantum superpositions. Some of these folks believe that the randomness at the heart of quantum mechanics is necessary for free will and volition. Others like Bertrand Russel believe that we act in accordance with our will even if our actions have past causes and the future is pre-determined. Today I’m honoured to be interviewing an expert who pushes the limits of human knowledge in terms of our understanding of the implications of quantum computing in regards to artificial intelligence.
Scott Aaronson is David J. Bruton Centennial Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin, and previously at MIT. He received his bachelor's from Cornell University and his PhD from UC Berkeley. Aaronson's research in theoretical computer science has focused mainly on the capabilities and limits of quantum computers. His first book, Quantum Computing Since Democritus, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press. He's received the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award, the United States PECASE Award, the Tomassoni-Chisesi Prize in Physics, and the ACM Prize in Computing, and is a Fellow of the ACM.
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