Shun-ichi Amari

Professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo
Special advisor at RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Research Advisor at Araya, Inc.

Dr Shun-ichi Amari is a mathematical neuroscientist. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, a special advisor at RIKEN Brain Science Institute, and a research advisor at Araya, Inc. He initiated information geometry, which has been widely applied in various fields such as statistics, signal processing, information theory, machine learning and more. He is also one of pioneers in developing mathematical theories of neural networks. He is currently working on integrated information theory and Wasserstein distance using information geometry.

【Day 1-7】Emerging Technologies for the Future

Does Robot/Computer Have Consciousness? – How Mathematical Neuroscientist Thinks

Humans have thinking brains which realize intelligence and have constructed civilized societies. We further are developing AI, aiming at realizing intelligent robots and computer systems. We mathematical neuroscientists study the fundamental principles which guarantee the brain to have intelligence and these are useful for realizing future AI.

The brain processes information through dynamics of multilayer neural networks. Knowledge is stored in the learnable network which decides actions very quickly depending on the environmental situation. Deep learning imitates this aspect of brain dynamics but no consciousness is required here. Consciousness or mind is a function which reconsiders the quick dynamical decision of the brain before its execution, where lots of different information and knowledge are integrated intentionally. Here lies a big difference between the human and other animals. Humans have developed this function through a long history of evolution.

What is the function of “mind”? Does a robot have consciousness? If so, will AI become superior to the human? Dreaming forward to our future AI societies, we need to design our future society and civilization carefully.