The heated discussion about A.I., its potential consequences and it becoming similar to human consciousness has been in fashion lately all around the world. The last of these arguments is conspicuously a misunderstanding in the minds of those having no hint about the nature of human consciousness and how it works. It is fundamentally different from A.I. Beautifully explained by Noam Chomsky in his 8th March article in The New York Times, human consciousness works in a fundamentally opposite way to A.I. He gave an example of an infant who receives bits of data of a language and then becomes able to generate all complex structures of the language. In contrast, A.I. has every bit of available data to look for patterns to generate an answer based on probability.
Human consciousness is still a mystery to science, which makes it even harder to compare A.I. to consciousness. Neuroscience has already shown the gap between brain functions and mental states. We know that a certain area of our brains is responsible for the function of language, taste, seeing or movement, but how that specific function explains what or how I feel when I see red light or taste an apple is a mystery. The question that how human brain is the reason for man's self-conscious experience, is still unanswered.
The Case Against Reality
Donald Hoffman, a prominent cognitive psychologist, in his book ‘The Case Against Reality’ proposes a theory that objective reality is similar to desktop user interface: what we are seeing is not truth but something that our subjectivity creates for itself, for it suits humans. The complex machinery behind this objective reality is intentionally hidden from us, just as complex computer machinery is not apparent to us while using a desktop interface. Human brain just acts as a filter to select data that is necessary. If objective reality is not real, our brains cannot generate consciousness, for they themselves are part of objective reality. The logical conclusion leads us to assert this that brain does not produce consciousness, but only helps consciousness to filter out data it requires for functioning in this space time
Quantum Mechanics and objective reality
Quantum mechanics questions the existence of objective reality. At quantum level, there only exist quantum particles or wave functions that collapse when measured. This measurement leads to a specific state, and the specific states of everything at quantum level are what make up the whole objective reality.
More astounding fact is that a measurement that collapses a wave function is done by a self-conscious observer. In a nut shell, our consciousness collapses wave functions, filters out data and creates objective reality. This revelation eradicates materialism and puts human consciousness at the centre of everything. Logically following the available data sheds some light on the mystery of consciousness: consciousness is the most fundamental factor in the universe. It is not a product of materialism. Rather, it is vice versa.
If A.I. is similar to anything, it is to all previous inventions of humans. Humans love to make a good photocopy of a naturally existing thing. We made aeroplanes by following the design of birds, invented bikes to go faster than a horse, invented blubs to light up our nights and created A.I. to make work easier which requires conscious effort. The difference we witness between a horse and bike, and a jet and an eagle is the same one that exists between consciousness and A.I.
Then there exists the emotional feelings related to love, nostalgia, morality and tears, all of which A.I. refuses to even talk about. All of them are the distinctive features of humans.
It does not matter how much advanced A.I. becomes, it cannot and would not write Daffodils by just contemplation flowers around the margin of a bay because it is not akin to human consciousness.