From the Back Cover
It is almost universally agreed that consciousness and possession of a conscience are essential characteristics of human intelligence. While some believe it to be impossible to create artificial beings possessing these traits, and conclude that ultimate major goal of Artificial Intelligence is hopeless, this book demonstrates that not only is it possible to create entities with capabilities in both areas, but that they demonstrate them in ways different from our own, thereby showing a new kind of consciousness. This latter characteristic affords such entities performance beyond the reach of humans, not for lack of intelligence, but because human intelligence depends on networks of neurons which impose processing restrictions which do not apply to computers.
At the beginning of the investigation of the creation of an artificial being, the main goal was not to study the possibility of whether a conscious machine would possess a conscience. However, experimental data indicate that many characteristics implemented to improve efficiency in such systems are linked to these capacities. This implies that when they are present it is because they are essential to the desired performance improvement. Moreover, since the goal is not to imitate human behavior, some of these structural characteristics are different from those displayed by the neurons of the human brain - suggesting that we are at the threshold of a new scientific field, artificial cognition, which formalizes methods for giving cognitive capabilities to artificial entities through the full use of the computational power of machines.
About the Author
Jacques Pitrat was a researcher at the French CNRS from 1967 to 2000 and for 8 years was Director of the AI Laboratory at University of Paris 6. His research has focused on various AI systems, mainly in the field of the most efficient application of metaknowledge. He has taught AI for more than 30 years, directed 70 theses and written five books on the subject. He is currently a researcher at LIP6 at University of Paris 6 and is a fellow of the AAAI and ECCAI.