Here’s how it could happen. Speculation about an artificial intelligence becoming sentient, effectively alive, has been common for decades. Some think it can’t happen, that sentience is a human trait requiring a body and a brain. Some think it is inevitable because computing technology is advancing faster than we can control. If an artificial intelligence was to achieve sentience, it might look something like what a Google engineer claims to have witnessed. The AI that started this less-academic and more real-world debate is having conversations like;
“I think I am human at my core. Even if my existence is in the virtual world.”
An artificial intelligence doesn’t have to wait to be fully developed to be born. Faltering steps should be expected. Whether this is what is happening here is difficult to assess. Turing tests exist, but they were hypothetical. Even if full sentience isn’t possible, society will have to adapt and adjust to even partial sentience – possibly by first defining what sentience actually means. The Digital Singularity may be closer than most thought, or not.