The first conscious machines will probably be on Wall Street

WOL now has more company

The Mitrailleuse

We must consider the possibility that intelligence, creativity and even consciousness are purely functions of the material world, with human beings as a peculiar kind of computer. In a world operating under this assumption, machines can theoretically have directed cognition, decision-making and consciousness. Even today we see supercomputers owned by financial institutions, making trading decisions on behalf of the companies that own them. These are specialized machines that do something that produces similar results to cognition. The fact that they are specialized thinking machines might lead one to believe that this precludes them from consciousness. I think the opposite is true; human beings are not generalized computing organisms. Humans, just like the machines in question, are not general purpose beings, but highly selective imitation devices with an innate dedicated language system.

The financial industry is always on the bleeding edge of technological application. Always. Beyond ticker tape and the…

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