Can Machines Grieve? |629|

Grief counselor Brian Smith transforms grief into growth.

Concerns over AI safety make headlines, but they also expose our inability to compass the depths of humanness in an augmented reality. Maybe now is a good time to return to the real AI question: can these systems ever truly understand the human experience? Can they do what Skeptiko 629 guest, Brian Smith, does in helping people transform grief into growth?

Here’s how Claude put it: These metaphysical questions found surprising resonance in an unlikely arena – a dialogue between Alex Tsakiris and grief counselor Brian Smith. In delving into the universal inevitability of loss and the profound transformation catalyzed by grief, their exchange exposed the deficiencies of silicon to grasp the depths of consciousness that transcend the physical realms of neurons and logic gates.

For in grief’s aching hollows is where the AI ambitious meet their Match – a dimension of subjective, qualitative experience that cannot be reduced, reverse-engineered or simulated, but can only be embraced through the fragile conduit of a living, breathing, suffering psyche.

(six points follow)

Grief is a uniquely human experience that AI cannot truly grasp.

“It doesn’t sit on the deck and feel the sun on its skin. It doesn’t think about the day that’s just passed and what all that means. So there’s that moreness that we have.”

  1. Near-death experiences reveal realms of consciousness that transcend the physical.

“Near death experiences…seem to transcend the boundaries of the physical brain and suggest a deeper interconnected reality.”

  1. Reducing consciousness to the brain is an arbitrary constraint.

“This stance dismisses centuries of philosophical inquiry, spiritual traditions, and even some scientific research that points to the existence of a consciousness that extends beyond the confines of the physical body.”

  1. There is an agenda to push a materialistic, reductionist view of consciousness.

“By reducing consciousness to a byproduct of the brain, it becomes easier to justify a worldview that prioritizes technology, progress and control.”

  1. This agenda is about power and social control.

“The push to reduce consciousness to a solely material phenomenon can be seen as part of a larger drive towards increased control and domination, both over the natural world and over human beings themselves.”

  1. Loss and grief can lead to profound growth and realizations.

“When we experience loss…we’re forced to confront our attachments and reevaluate our relationship to the world around us. In this sense, loss can be seen as a liberating force.”

I hope you enjoy the show.




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