« All Episodes: Gigaom AI Minute – December 21

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At what point would you say in artificial intelligence is alive? This is a really difficult question to answer because we don't have any kind of a consensus definition on what life or death is for that matter. The interesting thing is many of the attributes commonly associated with life are things that other artificial intelligence today already does. Can a system respond to stimuli? Absolutely. Can it reproduce? Programs can do that, viruses do that quite well, computer viruses. Can it adapt to its environment? Can it grow? These are things that artificial intelligence, simple bots even today can do. However, most definitions of life require that it have cells, that the life have cells. That it be a biological organism, and one has to question whether there is anything about being a biological organism with cells that materially differentiates say a real virus from a computer virus. The fact that an artificial intelligence may be alive isn't it first the ethical quandary that it may seem. Life is a reason we low bar. Our lawn is alive and yet we mow it. Bacteria are alive and yet we take antibiotics to kill them, but it would be an interesting point in time, a watershed event if we ever came to the conclusion that an AI, something non-biological, was living.