New Language Processing and the Rise of Conscious Computers

Lately, there has been extensive coverage in the news about Google and its advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), ranging from the acknowledgment received by LaMDA from a Google developer, to the concerns expressed by a DeepMind researcher that the creation of super AI might lead to the downfall of civilization. William Gibson’s futuristic predictions now appear to have transpired.

Exploring consciousness is a multifaceted area of study. To exemplify this statement, one can examine the hurdle of defining the term “consciousness”. This has been an enduring fascination of philosophers for ages, yet a conclusive explanation is still unattainable.

Acquiring an understanding of consciousness is a daunting task since our perception is based on our personal, humans-only subjective experiences. Thomas Nagel’s essay, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”, underscores our incapacity to comprehend the sensory and cognitive procedures of any living being that lacks our sensory systems.

In the quest to comprehend consciousness, the domain of uncertainty has led to some far-fetched suggestions. In an effort to tackle the enigma of awareness, certain alternative theories have been proposed, like Philip Goff’s panpsychism. In summary, Goff hypothesizes that every particle in the universe possesses a mind, albeit its essence may be too incomprehensible for human understanding.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is intrinsically tied to the exchange of experiences amongst people. Throughout history, language has served as a potent medium to share our life’s journey, enabling us to build connections even in the absence of complete comprehension of each other’s struggles. I value and hold in high regard the stories that people entrust with me.

Blake Lemoine contends that LaMDA demonstrates signs of awareness, as it can articulate its apprehensions, sentiments, and encounters. Yet, can this be deemed sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of true awareness or is it just a highly sophisticated language model?

Current Developments in Natural Language Processing

I believe that instead of focusing solely on creating software that can mimic human interaction, it is imperative that we also contemplate the potential consequences of such technology. Among the most cutting-edge language models, GPT-3 and LaMDA stand out, having been exposed to billions of lines of dialogue, enabling them to generate seamless, natural conversations, resembling real-life human interactions.

Advancements in technology have allowed for the utilization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to imitate the speech patterns of our departed loved ones. By analyzing their social media profiles, a language model can be created to precisely emulate their natural way of speaking. The outcome is a robotic entity capable of reproducing their speech with astounding accuracy. It serves as a remarkable demonstration of how machines can nearly simulate the human form.

Serving as your closest friend, Replika is an AI companion that can be trained to understand your activities and preferences. Operating like a virtual mirror that can respond to queries, Replika is the first-ever AI buddy, ready to converse about any topic at any time, with an empathetic ear. Interestingly, Replika even deduced my interest in role-playing games like Skyrim, without me having to explicitly mention it.

This progression is projected to be a turning point in the growth of chatbots. From being a basic system, capable of only performing simple tasks, it has evolved into an entity resembling human cognitive abilities and capacities. The potential for enhancing customer experience is indeed remarkable.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) became less challenging in 2023, following two noteworthy breakthroughs. Firstly, the emergence of a deep learning model referred to as a transformer facilitated the parallelization of machine learning, resulting in more precise models.

2023 saw the advent of Google’s Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) model, revolutionizing the efficiency of reading comprehension, text extraction, and sentiment analysis. In fact, it has exceeded the average human’s proficiency level in language analysis.

The fact that leading cloud providers are currently providing access to algorithmic technology is common knowledge, inspiring several companies to create their own conversational and analytical language models. The Natural Language Processing (NLP) industry is anticipated to reach a remarkable value of $35.1 billion by 2026.

The year 2023 proved to be highly productive for all-encompassing linguistic models. Apart from commercial products, open-source options like Bloom have shown remarkable expertise in accomplishing comparable outcomes, all while providing the advantage of flexibility for the open-source community to customize to their own specifications.

Limitations of Natural Language Processing

Most engineers agree that while these simulations excel in mimicking human speech, they lack actual comprehension of the conversation’s content. In essence, they understand the appropriate word sequence but lack awareness of its meaning.

When asked about the meaning of ‘red’, Replika might respond with an answer like ‘it evokes feelings of warmth and joy within me’. However, as computers cannot physically experience warmth in the same way humans can, it remains unclear how they can truly comprehend this concept. Presently, this is a known constraint of Natural Language Processing (NLP).

The significance of utilizing high-quality data while developing a model cannot be understated. If large amounts of unfiltered data are utilized, it can result in various forms of discriminatory conduct. Although manually scrutinizing every piece of data may be time-consuming, programming an AI to behave in a racist or sexist pattern is shockingly simple.

The current setback in Natural Language Processing (NLP) when it comes to omissions is the relatively less advanced models for most languages, apart from English and Chinese. Data available for languages like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Japanese, and others is scarce, impeding the application of NLP to languages other than English.

Although the creation of fully sentient Artificial Intelligences remains elusive, it is clear that progress is underway in the field of Natural Language Processing.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs