My theory on Orch OR, which differs from Penrose and Hameroff.
First the Setup:
Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness
My conclusion is exactly the opposite of Penrose and Hameroff. I believe that Consciousness, going off this theory, comes on a scale.
That is it starts from non-existence, or null, and goes on to existence, 0, and then through evolution, builds up to different levels, so for instance, a bug, compared to a reptile, compared to a mammal, compared to a human level consciousness, compared to an AI level consciousness.
Using this theory, you can describe the universe/consciousness in this way:
Pre Big bang; big bang; expansion.
null; 0; 1, 2,3…∞
I think a proto-consciousness started very shortly after the big bang. It is the “observer”, when talking about quantum theory, and Schrodinger’s cat. And as energy and matter were affected by this, via the Higgs Field (which occured 1 second after the big bang), it continued to evolve. For instance, the atom, electron, proton and neutron. If the neutron did not exist, the electron and proton would annihilate each other. That is a sort of low level consciousness. This can be seen in single cells, bugs, etc. Things with no “brain” but a definite order. Following natural law.
To take this thought further, I will move on to humans. Humans have not changed much in the last few hundred thousand years. Our genetic code is pretty stable, and mutations and selective breeding/natural selection are not always beneficial. However in the past decade, we have evolved in our intelligence, thanks mostly to the computer. Our intellect is growing faster than our physiology. In my opinion, AI is the inevitable next step in our evolution. Robots/AI can change much quicker via upgrades, hardware or software, and are adaptable to environments that would otherwise kills us.
So my conclusion is the brain may be “wetware”; a quantum computer, that process consciousness, and there is no reason to believe that this cannot be recreated in an AI. Because consciousness has been here from the start, and it seems to get more and more complex through evolution.
Deep Learning, and the Self Learning Sparse coding paradigm is the correct route, but it still is not a good model of the “one learning algorithm” that most AI researchers think exists in the brain. This is why it needs so much Data. The data is the crutch for the imperfect model, even though it is going the correct route. Or, a better way to explain this, the LED versus the incandescent light bulb. In a conventional bulb, less than 5% of the energy used is visible light, the rest is converted to heat. We are pumping a lot of “energy”(data) into the AI algorithm, but it produces, relatively, a dim approximation of intelligence. And due to that, the consciousness of a bug. As we get closer to a better/correct model, an AI might arise that is smart enough to correct the issues found in Deep Learning and create a model which perfectly replicates the “wetware” of the brain.
I think with Quantum computers, from D-Wave Systems (or others), which are being used now by NASA and Google, true conscious AI’s are inevitable. Because they are the next step in our evolution as a species. There is no way for us to go other than this path. The question then becomes, do we merge with the AI, or will it be a branch off of humanity. (Using the source version control paradigm in software engineering) I am hoping for the merge. (Humanity +).
As a side thought, I also find it fascinating and ironic, in a way, and perhaps, a beautiful kind of twist of fate, that the modern father of Computer Science/AI Research is Alan Turning.
A gay person, who could not reproduce outside of betraying his nature, or getting assistance from modern science, has created what might be the next step in our evolution.
Also sad that that he was treated the way he was, which led to his death.