The first conscious machine may be created before this century is halfway through. The consequences of this are likely to be astonishing. As Andrew Marr said in a TV programme last year, it will be the “the greatest achievement of humanity since the invention of agriculture [and it will] challenge the very idea of what it is to be human.”
Apart from a few thousand neuroscientists and techno-optimists, amazingly few people are thinking about this – or even fully aware of it.
My name is Calum Chace. I live in London and Sussex. After a 30-year career in business I chair and consult to entrepreneurial businesses, and now I’m a novelist and a blogger. I hope I can persuade you to join the conversation.
If you are new to the idea that machine consciousness may be with us soon, my novel would be a great place for you to start – but unfortunately it isn’t published yet. (I have a brilliant agent, who will shortly be pitching to publishers.) Meanwhile the Six Important Questions page on this site and then the Links page will give you plenty of food for thought.
Finally, why Pandora’s Brain? In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman, and Zeus ordered her to be created to punish men for accepting the forbidden gift of fire from Prometheus. She was given a jar containing all the evils of the world. She had strict instructions never to open it, but humans are curious, so of course she did, which is exactly what Zeus intended. That is how the Greeks thought evil came into our world. But the jar also contained something else – something vital for humans: it contained hope.