How Can We Imbue Artificial Intelligence With Compassion?

Creating Compassionate AI to Prevent Disaster

Can artificial intelligence be designed to be compassionate?

Given the ever-increasing pace of development in the world of artificial intelligence, many scientists and researchers are calling for more rigorous regulation to avoid potentially disastrous consequences. And the idea of building positive human values, such as compassion into AI design is quickly gaining momentum

Gregg Braden is a former senior computer systems designer, best-selling author, and leader in the fields of science and spirituality.

“The topic of compassion in artificial intelligence, while in many circles people have never heard of it, in the circles of science and technology it’s a hot topic,” Braden said. “In one way or another, this topic is going to touch each of our lives, and it’s going to happen faster than we have been led to believe. Humankind is at a crossroads right now, for the first time in the history of our species, where we have the technology to support the philosophy of the way we think about ourselves and our relationship to the world around us, to software, to robots, to artificial intelligence, (and) to machine intelligence.” 

“The development of AI is moving at an exponential rate, it’s no longer linear, and it’s not regulated,” he said. “We’re talking about AI that is going to be running huge national and international systems of electricity, power, energy, water, food, and weapons systems that are the reality of our lives today. So, if we’re going to allow artificial intelligence to play a vital role in our lives, we want that intelligence to be more than intelligent — we want it to be smart, we want it to be intuitive, and we want it to be compassionate, as it makes the decisions that affect all of our lives.”

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So what exactly is meant by compassionate AI?

“First of all, if we’re going to imbue machine intelligence with compassion, we have to know what compassion is. Compassion is where we not only feel —empathize — with the suffering of another, but then we choose to act in some way to mitigate that suffering,” Braden said. “So, in a nutshell, this is what we’re talking about when we say compassion from the perspective of programming it into machine intelligence. If we are at the foundation of a new evolution, perhaps a new lifeform, that we in fact are designing, it’s important to get it right at the foundation. Is it that we want to imbue this new lifeform with the cherished values of our own experience?

Given that artificial intelligence is designed to accomplish a specific goal, what role does compassionate design play in the ethical achievement of that goal? 

“The important thing is for that intelligence to have mitigating factors as it is approaching that goal, so it doesn’t see humans as a nuisance getting in the way,” Braden said. “In other words, when we go to accomplish something, you know, we want to drive from point A to point B — a machine intelligence could have that same goal — for us, driving from point A to point B, what if a little kid doesn’t understand traffic signs and walks out in front of us? We have the ability to mitigate our actions based on that scenario. Unless the artificial intelligence is imbued with similar abilities, we can have disastrous effects.”

Braden says he believes the design of compassionate A.I. needs to be modeled on human behavior.

“When we have compassion, we are dynamically interacting with our environment; we’re picking up subtle cues,” Braden said. “When we are with another who is suffering, we will hear inflections in their voice, we will hear frequency changes in their voice. We will sense changes in their heart and their heart-rate variability through electromagnetic fields. We will sense the release of photons in the body. Now, science knows this — they’re only beginning to embrace what it means.” 

“If we’re going to imbue machine intelligence with true compassion, then these capabilities that we have —the ability to pick up these subtle cues within the context of the moment and put them together to elicit a genuine state of compassion and a compassionate response — are what we’re after,” he said.

While this compassionate AI design is still in its infancy, Braden has high hopes for its future.

“So, to me, this is a very exciting new frontier because, in our desire to further the frontier of machine intelligence, synthetic intelligence, or what is often called artificial intelligence, we must understand ourselves on a level – perhaps the deepest level we ever have — and maybe for the first time, we discover for ourselves what it means to be truly human,” Braden said. 

A New Phase of Matter Appears to Defy Laws of Thermodynamics

Quantum Time Crystals Defy Thermodynamics

Scientists have created a new phase of matter known as time crystals, a quantum phenomenon appearing to defy the laws of thermodynamics. Could this discovery upend our understanding of classical physics?

A team of researchers developing Google’s Sycamore quantum computer announced the successful creation of a time crystal that lasted for 100 seconds. This novel phase of matter appears to defy the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy, or chaos and disorder, always increases in an isolated system. In other words, energy must be put into a system in order to maintain structure or motion. But time crystals have been observed to maintain a constant state of flux, without losing any energy.

Dr. Simeon Hein, director of the Institute for Resonance, explains the science behind this strange phenomenon.

“Crystals are in everything we do—they’re in watches—they’re in so many things because they’re regular, they create evenness, they create this consistency. And just like their pattern is very consistent, the energy that crystals transmit turns into a very regular pattern which is why you can use a quartz crystal in a watch,’ Dr. Hein said.

“You can put a noisy electrical signal in but it will come out as a very consistent beat, and that created the idea for some people, in this case, Frank Wilczek from M.I.T. in 2012, to propose the idea that you not only had crystals in space, you could have crystals in time. You could create an oscillating circuit, using specific quantum principles, you could create a very constant quantum beat.”

Time crystals have been described as the first “out-of-equilibrium” phase of matter, meaning they maintain order while in an excited state. But how do time crystals accomplish this, without expending energy?

“At a quantum level, they’re getting energy from something called the Zero-point energy field. The Zero-point energy field is the lowest ground state of quantum matter, but the lowest state doesn’t mean absolute zero like nothing’s happening. The quantum ground state is actually the base state of the universe, where even though there’s nothing happening, the field itself generates energy, causing random fluctuations and particles to pop out of nowhere, and all sorts of really interesting effects that normally, I should say most of the time, we don’t see in our regular, physical reality,” Dr. Hein said.

“So these coherently entangled particles would be deriving their energy from the quantum vacuum field. But if they’re getting their energy from the quantum vacuum, instead of our classical world, you can’t see any reason why they would eventually have to wind down like our regular clocks would, and energy would dissipate.”

With this new discovery of time crystals appearing to defy the second law of thermodynamics, how has mainstream science reacted, or tried to reconcile this paradox?

“A lot of these quantum phenomena seem to defy classical physics, the whole idea of quantum entanglement suggests faster than light interaction or communication, Einstein called it ‘spooky action at a distance,’ and experiments later confirmed that you could take pairs of particles and separate them, and you could do something to one of them, and the other particle would immediately react at farther and farther distances away,” Dr. Hein said.

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