The hopes and fears surrounding the advent of artificial intelligence are fantastical, from Ray Kurzweil’s promise of spiritual machines to Elon Musk’s warnings of killer robots. And yes, some version of that future is barreling toward us at an ever-increasing speed, says philosopher of technology professor Michael Zimmerman, who is Jeff’s guest today.

In this episode Michael and Jeff make important distinctions between artificial intelligence and consciousness itself. Machines have become proficient at handling information (e.g. the phone in your pocket), they are learning how to self-observe and learn, and they may soon be able to “present” as human. But will they ever hope and dream – or plot and scheme?

Jeff argues that a system of material components, however complex, will never create a shred of interiority. Michael is not so sure, and offers a couple scenarios that give Jeff a scare!