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4 human-only traits that artificial intelligence cannot replicate

Updated: Jan 23

For hundreds of years, humans have studied and tried to elucidate what separates them from animals.

Biology, sociology, anthropology and even philosophy are nourished by this existential question; even the law, where it was established that certain groups of animals and in certain circumstances can be considered a “legal entity.”


Will artificial intelligence (AI) have rights, then? Will he have the right to… life?


From the hypersonic development of artificial intelligence, there is a new element, perhaps the fifth element, which is not made of earth, fire, air, or water. It is anti-life, artificial intelligence that forces humanity to confront a superpower that it itself has created.


1. Spontaneous generation

One of the notable aspects that separates us humans from artificial intelligences is the spontaneous generation of actions and knowledge. Momentum.


The human being is a spontaneous creator of everything. A person can wake up one day and imagine an idea, a story or a poem, a creative thought. From personal history, human beings create new knowledge, new stories and new experiences.

There is no artificial intelligence that generates knowledge or performs actions spontaneously.


In an article published in the journal Nature, scientists from the University of Zaragoza Miguel Aguilera and Manuel Bedia concluded that an intelligence can be achieved that generates mechanisms to adapt to circumstances. This might resemble spontaneous action, but it is far from being an act of will. Every action carried out by an artificial intelligence is designed and programmed by a person.


Improvising in a jazz band will continue to be a human privilege.


2. The rule of ethics

This brings us to the second big difference: ethics. Artificial intelligence and machines do not have ethics per se, it must be instilled in them. They only follow pre-established parameters, clear and precise rules of what they should do.


The human being has a regulation (Constitution, laws, religion, etc.) of what he should do, and he is also clear about what he should not do. But ethics is more than a regulation, it goes beyond a guide.


Ethics is, nothing more and nothing less, the discernment between good and evil. It is so important in our species that it has been found that 5-month-old babies already make moral judgments and act accordingly.


Those who do have ethics are the people who program machines and artificial intelligences. A machine is not good or bad. It is effective. It does what it is told and what it was programmed to do.


Although ethics can certainly be programmed. The physicist José Ignacio Latorre explains it in his work "Ethics for machines". Latorre predicts: "Artificial intelligence will sit in the Council of Ministers."


Today, ChatGPT is programmed not to spread sensitive content and does not provide access to the deep web. Thus, one can program according to ideas of what is and what should be.


However, as time passes and ethical parameters change, these must be corrected so that the normative basis of artificial intelligence correlates with that of the human being.


3. Intention can only be human

Another important aspect is intention, and the intention of human action is intrinsically related to morality.


In her book "Intention," philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe argues that intention cannot be reduced to mere desires or internal psychological states.


Anscombe argues that intention is an essential characteristic of action and that it is intrinsically related to moral responsibility. So you cannot separate the intention from the action itself when determining whether an act is morally right or wrong.


Elizabeth Anscombe criticizes ethical theories that focus solely on the consequences of an action and do not consider the intention that anticipates them.


Lacking ethics and morals, artificial intelligence lacks intention. The intention remains limited to the programmer.


Each of these three aspects discussed so far requires rivers of ink to achieve an understanding.


4. No regrets or psychological problems


It's almost provocative to ask what the differences are and not what the similarities are.

The differences are clear. AIs do not have experiences. They have no history. They have no psychology or psychological problems. They have no remorse for their actions (a fundamental aspect of the ethics and morals section). They do not love nor are they loved. They do not suffer or feel pain. They have no opinion of their own, because nothing is their own.


If ChatGPT goes out of fashion (I doubt it) and is not consulted, its existence is useless. It only exists if it is useful to human beings. It has no identity. Your identity is a human construction.


AI can also be destructive. It can lead not only to the end of millions of jobs around the world, but also to a tiny position in the productive world, without entering into apocalyptic science fiction speculations.


At the end of the day, it depends on the human being himself. It is in our hands to use it as a constructive or destructive tool.


But, in case in the near future someone may doubt his nature, let's include in his synthetic soul a trap, a wink that, when necessary, reminds us that we are dealing with a fifth element, a non-human.


*Agustín Joel Fernandes Cabel has a degree in Journalism from the University of Palermo (Argentina) and a master's degree in Philosophy from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).


*This article was published on The Conversation and reproduced here under the creative commons license. Click here to read the original version.


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