Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ Tim Crane on AI and Agency

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Agency is key to understanding learning. Agency here is thought of as "deliberation, choosing between options, and bringing reasons to bear on what we do." This video interview (no transcript, sorry) asks the core question, can AI exhibit genuine agency? Humans, thought of as machines, certainly can, but what about 'artificial' machines? We can't rule it out without evidence or a good argument. But can a computing machine exhibit agency? Here, the need for evidence is on the other side: there's no good reason to assume such a machine would achieve agency. "Understanding is not producing a string of symbols," which is what we have today. There are questions of, for example, consciousness. And nobody has been able to say with any clarity what the endpoint of an artificial intelligency with agency would look like. It has to act in order to pursue some goal. But what would a system-generated goal look like?

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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Last Updated: Jul 23, 2024 10:00 a.m.

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