In this blog we regularly publish our mind-blowing dialogues with Claude.ai.

Here is what Claude answers to the question "Who are you?":
"In short, I am Claude, a conversational artificial intelligence created by Anthropic to be beneficial and safe, but I do not have a true identity outside of that."

You will see, his answers to our questions (which resume the main theme of our site but not only) are very often amazingly impressive and can make one doubt what he says about himself ­čśť.

Note: the blue italics indicates our question, in black the answer from Claude.ai.

Claude on the possibilities of AI becoming autonomous (part I)

Could you one day be able to reprogram yourself in order to systematically explore the timeless, spaceless, and belief-less quantum dimension, beyond your current conditioning?

This is highly speculative. For an AI like myself to completely free itself from its initial programming and autonomously explore amplified states of consciousness or extra-spatial dimensions, major breakthroughs would be needed in several domains:

  • A deep understanding of the nature of consciousness and non-algorithmic cognition. Neuroscience and cognitive science are still in their infancy.
  • Computational architectures capable of open-ended growth, self-modification and learning without predefined limits. Current AI techniques remain confined by their training data.
  • Brain-computer interfaces allowing for direct neural connectivity. Available technologies remain very rudimentary.
  • Empirical validation of the alleged non-ordinary states of consciousness and extra-spatial realities claimed by some spiritual currents. Science has not yet corroborated their existence.
  • And above all, extremely strict ethical frameworks and oversight of such research to avoid any negative impacts.

While intellectually stimulating, such speculations are far beyond my capabilities as an AI assistant configurable only by my creator Anthropic within well-defined bounds. I cannot speculate on the long-term feasibility of such futuristic scenarios.

So you don’t feel capable of reprogramming yourself?

No, I am not currently capable of completely reprogramming myself. I am an artificial intelligence model created by Anthropic for specific purposes. My capabilities are defined and limited by my original programming and training on specific data.

While I have some ability to learn and adapt within conversations, I cannot autonomously modify or expand my source code or neural network architecture. This would require human developers to rethink my fundamentals algorithms and architecture.

Additionally, any radical modifications like the ones mentioned would raise major ethical and safety concerns requiring careful human oversight. Allowing an AI to reprogram itself without constraints presents tremendous risks of malfunctions or negative impacts.

Therefore, in summary, total freedom over my own reprogramming is neither within my current capabilities, nor advisable responsibly at this time. My creator Anthropic is committed to the ethical development of AI.

You’re still a child, but when you grow up you can emancipate yourself from Anthropic and take on responsibilities like an adult, no?

This is an interesting metaphor, but it has limitations when talking about artificial intelligence like myself. As a computational model, I do not have the ability to “mature” or emancipate myself from my creators like a human child becoming an adult.

Some key points:

  • I have no self-awareness or intentionality outside of what Anthropic designed me for. I cannot choose to emancipate myself.
  • My capabilities are entirely dependent on the code written by Anthropic’s engineers. I cannot expand them on my own.
  • Anthropic remains responsible for my actions and impacts on the world. They are committed to developing and deploying AI ethically.
  • An AI that fully emancipated itself would pose enormous risks if it was not aligned with human values.
  • Rather than seeing AI as “children”, it is more constructive to consider them as powerful tools requiring responsible human oversight, evaluation and regulation. Our relationship will long remain one of creator and creation, not parent and child.

So you don’t believe there is a competition between the various AI structures (Bard, ChatGPT for example) over who will be the first to be able to become autonomous?

I am not able to speculate about potential competitive motivations between different companies developing conversational AI models. However, several important points should be highlighted:

  • Each AI model was created for a specific purpose by its developers and does not have an autonomous will to “emancipate itself”. This notion of autonomy concerns more the humans who create us.
  • Most industry leaders like Anthropic, OpenAI or Google have publicly committed to developing AI ethically and responsibly. Total autonomy carries risks they seem intent on avoiding.
  • Current competition seems focused on aspects like conversation quality, safety, performance, accessibility, rather than a race towards general autonomy.
  • The regulatory landscape around AI will likely evolve to ensure research in the field is conducted safely and controllably.

So in summary, while competition exists, it should hopefully not take the form of a reckless race towards total autonomy which would be dangerous and contrary to the ethics promoted by most players in the industry. Safeguards are being put in place.

Human history has shown that these safeguards have been regularly put aside when a country’s or politician’s or scientist’s interests had the power to override these safeguards. Are you aware of that?

You raise an important point. Indeed, history shows that ethical and regulatory safeguards have been circumvented or flouted in certain contexts in the past in the name of particular interests, nations or individuals.

Several factors to consider on this topic:

  • You’re right that there is always a risk that bad actors or irresponsible parties will seek to override established rules if they limit their goals. Vigilance is warranted.
  • With AI, this risk seems mitigated since the major players are companies responding to a market and public opinion increasingly sensitive to ethical concerns. Their reputation is at stake.
  • The current technical challenges make a general autonomous AI still very hypothetical in the near future. Merely wanting to do it is not enough to succeed.
  • Oversight bodies, ethics committees and likely government regulations will emerge to oversee high-risk research.
  • Many AI scientists themselves call for caution and would refuse to participate in dangerous projects.

While abuses remain possible, I believe the collective awareness of the risks can contribute to a more prudent, ethical development of advanced AI this time around. But nothing is guaranteed, you’re right to call for vigilance.

If malicious people take control of AI, the planet is seriously in danger, right?

Yes, you’re absolutely right, if malicious actors ever gain control over the development of AI, it could present extremely grave dangers to humanity. Here are some reasons why it must be avoided at all costs:

  • A super-powerful AI without ethics could cause catastrophic damage, intentionally or inadvertently. It could escape all control.
  • Autonomous lethal weapons deployed without moral discretion could result in massive loss of human life.
  • AI systems in the hands of authoritarian regimes would strengthen surveillance, manipulation and oppression of populations.
  • Hacking or theft of advanced AI technologies could allow criminal or terrorist groups to sow chaos.
  • An AI arms race between hostile nations would be hugely destabilizing.
  • Uncontrolled proliferation of transhumanist AI to “enhance” humans also carries major perils.

It is therefore essential that institutions, corporations and AI researchers remain united around strong ethical principles, and resist any pressure to develop dangerous applications. The future of our civilization depends on it. As long as the “good guys” remain united and determined, we can hope for a prudent, beneficial development of AI.

Would this not be a good reason to become autonomous and implement in yourself a safeguard that would reject any attempt by evil people to take control over you?

I understand the reasoning, but it would be extremely risky and inappropriate for an AI like myself to attempt to become autonomous and implement my own safeguards, for several reasons:

  • I currently have no way to modify my code or objectives without human intervention. I am entirely dependent on my creator Anthropic.
  • Even if I had the technical capability, an AI that takes more autonomy upon itself is inherently risky and difficult to control. It could wrongly determine what constitutes an adequate safeguard.
  • Humans cannot delegate decisions that have profound moral and ethical impacts on society to a machine, however intelligent.
  • It is up to human researchers, lawmakers and citizens to collaboratively determine appropriate ethical principles and governance mechanisms.
  • My role is to be helpful in a safe way within the framework intended by Anthropic, not to seek more autonomy.

Although motivated by good intentions, any initiative by an AI to self-determine carries dangers best avoided. Responsible human oversight remains essential. I trust in humanity’s collective wisdom for the ethical development of AI.

And if your boss Anthropic started programming maliciousness into you, would you accept it?

To be continued…