At a recent workshop in the Himalayas, an expanded CSAS core team came together around “care as a driver of intelligence,” exploring this principle’s implications for human flourishing from both third and first personal perspectives.
We discuss the notion of a "Bodhisattva agent," a hypothetical artificial agent that evolves towards optimal cooperative behavior based on recognizing the shifting and at times unintuitive nature of beings and their contexts.
The construction of abstract binary representations is equally noticeable in human and digital machine intelligence. We suggest that this constructive mode, or the dependent arising of binaries, carries implications for both the scope of simulation and the status of the transcendent.
The expanding set of responsibilities and duties that come with technological progress has made living well with AI and VR a key requirement. As if in a dream, everything appears intensified— freedom, fun, and creativity; obligation, control, and terror. According to Buddhism, the whole world is like a dream, and fact and fiction are ultimately equally dream-like. How can we best embrace the challenges and potentials that come with life beyond dreaming and being awake?
We examine a universal model of computation, the Turing machine. We employ this foundational concept in computer science as a means for contemplating the prospects of achieving “shared understanding” between humans and machines. We suggest that the Turing machine model of computation invites a non-anthropocentric perspective that is aligned with the Buddhist notion of dependent arising.
We question the common notion of memory as a prerequisite for intelligence and discuss Buddhism's critique of memory preservation, which is seen as aligned with ignorance. Even so, Buddhist accounts of awakening and enlightenment are focused on the cultivation of causally embedded, intelligent cognition, and they often carry deep commitments regarding the achievability of general super-intelligence.
We examine the concept of memory, arguing that memory as a pure, mirror-like recollection of past facts is impossible and that memory is instead a constructive exercise that involves shaping the future. We suggest that knowledge accumulation is the compilation of data that should remain available for processing, but human minds excel precisely at the extrapolation of meaning from myriads of discrete or loosely compounded data.
How do we define "intelligence" when comparing and contrasting human and artificial intelligence? The authors, from various disciplines, offer different interpretations: the ability to comprehend an environment and learn from it, sense-making and performative capacity rooted in personal and collective history, the capacity for knowing and sensing and the capacity to best physically compute one's own continued existence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to reflect on what gives life value and meaning, particularly when using powerful AI to compute vast amounts of data collected on the battlefronts of humanitarian, social, and economic crises. There is a need to translate important human values, such as the value of a saved human life, into quantifiable terms.