In the pursuit of the ultimate goal of leading a joyful and rich life, this book examines the operating principles of the brain by contrasting it with artificial intelligence. It also discusses how to use and nurture the brain.
We define "intelligence" emerging from our brain as "bio-intelligence," and distinguish it from artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is developed for "automation," or to follow existing rules, and bio-intelligence evolves for "autonomy,” or to create new rules. Both intelligences are necessary for human society.
Humans are also different from artificial intelligence systems in that they have consciousness. Consciousness is a virtual world created in the brain based on the sensory information of the external world. Even if each brain receives identical information of the external world, each brain creates a unique world of consciousness. Although the brain is often described as a large-scale parallel information processing system, the world of consciousness is likely to have a rigorous time axis and process information sequentially. Such sequential information processing may endow the brain with the capacity to infer causality between events.
We raise an alarm over the possibility that humans and society may abandon their autonomy and consciousness and live like artificial intelligences and zombies. To prevent such an unhappy future, we must continue to develop a strong bio-intelligence and a rich consciousness world.
This book is divided into three parts.
Part 1: “Our Brain and Computing” discusses the theory of the brain. I describe why biology and the brain are interesting research topics to me, as someone who has been investigating the brain in an engineering department. Particularly, I focus on the hardware characteristics, the principle of "Darwinism," and energy efficiency. These properties are essential to distinguish the brain from the artificial system and better understand the brain.
Part 2: “What is Intelligence?” I introduce my research on the brain conducted in an engineering department with some of my own experiences. The center of my question has been “What is intelligence?” In "Chapter 4: Creating Bio-Intelligence," I attempt to create intelligence from brain tissue, and in "Chapter 5: How Intelligence Develops," I introduce my attempts to explore the source of intelligence in the spatiotemporal activities in the brain.
Part 3: “Consciousness empowers Intelligence” discusses why consciousness is important for our intelligence. How and why did the brain create human cultural fields such as fine art, science, and religion? This question is the key to understanding how the brain works. I believe that these human cultures have emerged from the common mechanism in the brain, that is, consciousness.
To enjoy a happy life with powerful artificial intelligence, let us make full use of our consciousness system and utilize artificial-intelligence and bio-intelligence strategies in a balanced manner.
(Written by TAKAHASHI Hirokazu, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology / 2022)