Artificial intelligence is, “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines,” and in 1956 Herb Simon, one of the discipline’s four founders, claimed, “within 20 years, computers will be able to do anything a man can do.” Imagine an artificially intelligent machine, that was smart enough to improve upon itself. Recursively. Every improvement leaves the AI better able to think up even grander improvements, leading to exponential increases in intelligence. This would be of the type, “seed AI,” which best embodies the dreams of technologists and the terror of paranoids everywhere. Certain techies foresee an “intelligence explosion” which leads to a technological singularity. If consciousness is an all-or-nothing thing, then at some point (popular is when the number of computing units around the world equal the number of neurons in a human brain) the system will “wake up.”
Yet that’s exactly what life does. We gave up immortality (but gained sex!) in order to build some noise into the evolutionary system. Then environmental conditions would test the new and hopefully improved versions of ourselves and weed out less than optimal ones (sorry dinosaurs, you just weren’t made for a rainy day).
The behavior of insects and other simple life forms are programmed from their genes, which learn and evolve over time. Humans and animals with more complex brains can individually learn from their experiences. So while weak AI machines are made to act human, strong AI machines are based on biological processes in order to gain awesomeness.