Aiko Android: Just look at that vacant expression. She’s as dumb as you are. Photo: istolethetv, flickr.

Gianni Lucifero, a top scientist at the University of Toronto, has written a paper claiming that the way to successfully reproduce human consciousness is by creating what he calls “artificial stupidity,” rather than the conventional approach of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI researchers have been trying to reproduce human consciousness for years, but the goal has not yet been reached to anyone’s satisfaction. Lucifero believes this is because of a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of consciousness.

“Watson on Jeopardy clearly showed that machines are already smarter than humans. But these machines are not yet conscious. Why is that? I believe it is because the human brain produces a special algorithm that is actually quite stupid rather than intelligent. The brain clearly generates consciousness, but the social and individual behavior of human beings is itself unsustainable and counter-productive to the survival of the species as a whole. We are similar to cancer cells in that we reproduce and grow for no real reason until we have completely destroyed our environment. We have no concept of homeostasis. The conclusion is inescapable: consciousness must arise from stupidity rather than intelligence.

Some scientists are critical of Lucifero’s ideas, claiming that consciousness itself is not an emergent property but rather something much more mysterious and fundamental to the universe, possibly occurring from quantum computation by microtubules inside neurons within the brain. These scientists are regarded as quacks by the mainstream though and don’t really matter.

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