Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Podcast series “Self-Conscious AI” launched

Can artificial intelligence develop consciousness? How would it work and what effects would it have? ITAS researcher Karsten Wendland goes in search of answers in the podcast, holding exciting weekly discussions with experts.
Podcast series “Self-Conscious AI”
Podcast series “Self-Conscious AI”

Siri, Alexa, Sophia the Robot, or the computer program Watson – these artificial intelligences are becoming more and more similar to humans. In the AI Consciousness“ project, an ITAS research team is investigating the question of what is behind the idea of an artificial consciousness.

12 episodes with new scientific perspectives

From now on, a new episode will be released weekly on the project website and on relevant podcast platforms, including Spotify, RadioPublic and Apple Podcasts. In 12 episodes, project manager Karsten Wendland talks to experts from various disciplines and encounters new scientific perspectives and arguments. In each episode, interested people also have their say and contribute their questions. Finally, some of the discussion partners meet for a talk.

Stimulating social participation

“It is very important for us to get feedback and thoughts from our listeners,” says Karsten Wendland. “The aim is to enter into dialogue on the topic, to discuss questions, and thus to broaden the discourse transdisciplinarily.” A feedback form is available on the project website.

First podcast episode released

Without life there is no consciousness,” claims Thomas Fuchs, who appears in the first episode. The psychiatrist and philosopher from Heidelberg is convinced that consciousness in a computer is only a simulation. From the perspective of so-called phenomenology, he argues that “consciousness is a medium that makes the world appear.” Why he does not see an AI system or a robot as a living being and where, in his view, consciousness is located in the body, he explains in the first part of “Self-Conscious AI.”

The small difference between humans and machines

There are many different views in the scientific disciplines on the question of consciousness in AI systems. While some claim to be well on the way to creating AI systems with consciousness, others consider this impossible. Many myths are circulating, which is why Karsten Wendland and his team aim, above all, to demystify the topic. An important step is to enter into an inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue with experts. In the final phase of the project, the researchers share their results with the interested public. A second podcasts series is already in the planning stage and will be published next year.

The next episode with sociologist of technology Andreas Bischof from Chemnitz will be available on Tuesday, 22 September 2020. (21.09.2020)

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