Sentient Robot: The Last Two Hurdles in the Race to Build Artificial Superintelligence , reviewed

We look at the latest book trying to understand where AI is going and it’s impact on humanity.

Sentient Robot: The Last Two Hurdles in the Race to Build Artificial Superintelligence, reviewed

This book does several things well, other aspects less so. It offers a good overview into what AI is, where it currently is at, and to generally help inform the reader to help them better understand the issues to consider. Human purposed AI and Decision Making are tackled in the first two sections. Then there are reflections on consciousness. Before a long, and, for us, over detailed detour into the Mirrored Homunculus theory, which then is followed by a short section on building the sentient robot.

After awhile it began too feel like there was too much detail on theories and what people are trying to build, basically a summary of the current state of play, and too little on getting into the nitty gritty of what seem like the main issues to address. Namely, when are sentient robots likely to emerge, how sentient will they be? How will the issues of robots own rights and responsibilities be addressed?

After all if we are creating conscious, sentient entities, there is surely, almost immediately going to be a need to address their own interests, desires and rights? Having had such a slow turn around in terms of granting equal rights to non white, non male humans, you would hope humanity is not about to make the same mistake again? You could then argue that robots should have none of these rights, but, perhaps then we should not be rushing quite so quickly towards creating a whole new wave of sentient beings?

Maybe these are not issues that the author was as interested in addressing, but it seems like a missed opportunity in a book titled ‘the sentient robot’? This book offers some useful information about artificial intelligence, but we were left wanting to know a little more about the author’s own opinions on the issues that it will raise with these developments.

More About the book The sentient robot

The sentient robot: the last two hurdles in the race to build artificial superintelligence

Artificial intelligence is on the point of taking humankind into a new age. The turning point will come when AI has advanced so far that it matches human intelligence in every way. Human intelligence, whilst slower in some respects, is still more flexible than AI. But, once
AI has caught up, it will take no time at all before going on to surpass humans by a huge distance. That scary prospect is termed artificial superintelligence (ASI).

Rupert Robson argues that we are now just two conceptual hurdles away from developing ASI. The first of the two hurdles is to embed consciousness in AI, thereby giving us the sentient robot. This will enable ASI to see the world through our eyes. The second of the two
hurdles is about the developmental step needed in AI design so as to achieve human-level flexibility in thought. A new world is about to open up before us. We need to understand it and prepare for it.

The Sentient Robot: The Last Two Hurdles in the Race to Build Artificial Superintelligence
Rupert Robson
Societas/Imprint Academic
310 pages
Published in the UK on 6 October 2022

About the Author

After a career in finance, Rupert Robson left banking in order to research the ways in which humankind might shape the world and in turn be shaped in the coming decades by the emerging possibility of artificial superintelligence and even conscious AI. The Sentient Robot is the fruit of fifteen years research and his first book. Robson lives in Dorset.

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