Megan Peters

Artificial intelligence (AI) is barreling forward at breakneck speed, with some proponents bullishly confident that Large Language Models (LLMs) such as chatGPT will soon be conscious. Against this background, a feature piece in Current Biology asked leading experts on consciousness and/or higher cognition in humans and other animals to weigh in. Megan Peters, UCI cognitive sciences associate professor, says "the core topic at stake here is the ‘what it is like’-ness — the qualia, or phenomenal character of the experiences of a ‘conscious’ agent."

"The swift pace of AI development demands a more mature science of consciousness. While I do not believe current AI is conscious, I also know current tests are inadequate. As we continue to refine theories describing how consciousness is generated in humans, we must also work to develop more sensitive, more specific tests which parcel out prior expectations — especially for systems so fundamentally different from ourselves."

More from Peters and other noted experts in the field:

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