Are AI Models Going to be Sentient? (Roundtable Interview)

Are AI Models Going to be Sentient? (Roundtable Interview)

What is Sentient Ai:

Sentient AI, denoting artificially intelligent systems with the faculty for independent perception and sensation, signifies a monumental shift within the realm of artificial intelligence. This innovation presages an era where mechanical entities not only implement tasks but also grasp and respond to emotional stimuli and environmental intricacies with refined subtlety.

The Metamorphosis to Conscious Computation

The odyssey from rudimentary AI to Sentient AI embodies a transition from basic mechanized reactions to intricate decision-making paradigms, mirroring human intellect. Sentient AI puts together cutting-edge machine learning paradigms, neuronal network constructs, and data assimilation faculties to replicate anthropomorphic awareness and reactivity.

Constituents of Sentient AI Frameworks

An integral component of cognizant AI is its elaborate neuronal network architecture, which parallels the operational mechanics of the human cerebrum. These networks assimilate and analyze copious data sets, discerning patterns and experiences to render enlightened judgments. Furthermore, the machine learning algorithms within cognizant AI perpetually mature, incrementally refining their conundrums resolving prowess.

Utilization of Sentient AI

Sentient AI is employed across a myriad of sectors, notably in healthcare, where it contributes to disease diagnosis and the customization of therapeutic regimes. In the vehicular industry, cognizant AI propels self-guiding automobiles, maneuvering through intricate terrains with precision and cognizance of the conveyance’s milieu.

Obstacles and Moral Deliberations

The advent of cognizant AI engenders profound moral dilemmas concerning machine self-reliance and the capacity of AI constructs to execute autonomous resolutions. Mitigating these quandaries necessitates stringent ethical frameworks and regulatory edifices to certify that cognizant AI functions in a safe, lucid, and societal value-congruent fashion.

Are AI models becoming truly be sentient? What happens when machines think for themselves? Is humanity on the cusp of an age where no one knows the difference between human and machine thought processes?Our team of experts explored these concepts and more…

Here’s what they had to say.

Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee, CEO at Plus Docs

“Yes, AI can think and be sentient. If we fast-forward a million years into the future, there could certainly be sentient beings who are not carbon-based lifeforms who look like humans. We’ve already imagined them in countless sci-fi books and movies!

Whether or not today’s AI is sentient is an open question, and the best answers will probably come from the worlds of humanities and philosophy, not technologists. There are many interesting thought experiments that are quickly becoming ‘real’ experiments, like the “Chinese room” or the “Turing test,” and it will be fascinating to watch how public opinion changes as these thought experiments become reality.”

Thierry Rayna

Thierry Rayna, Researcher at CNRS i³-CRG laboratory & Professor at École Polytechnique (IP Paris)

Consciousness and Sentience of AI Models

As AI models evolve, it becomes pertinent to distinguish between human sentience and machine consciousness. Can AI truly be said to be sentient? How can the sentience of AI models improve the arts and humanities? I need expert opinions on these issues and more.

“As far as I am aware, not AI models (despite buzz and marketing efforts) are truly conscient or sentient, although there is a significant amount of fantasy that they already are. This stems from the common misconception that because probabilistic AI models (such as Machine Learning and Deep Learning) are based on ‘neural networks’, they work just like human brain (or that it’s only a matter of time before they do).

Yet, nothing could be far removed from the reality. Neural networks, regardless of how ‘deep’ they are, only work with statistics – which is why they are referred to as ‘stochastic parrots’ – but do not embed an ounce of symbolic knowledge or models. You can feed an ML/DL algorithm with billions of photos of cats, it still does not know a cat is a cat. It only ‘knows’ the probability of the colour of a particular pixel given the colour of surrounding pixels within the context of something that looks like a cat.

Show one cat to an infant, they will immediately understand what it is – at worse, you will need a few observations, not billions! Our brains are symbolic machines – three observations of leaves fluttering in the wind and we create a theory, a model, a God. Billions of observations and ML algorithms still have not figured out anything beyond probabilities.

What fools us is that current ML models appear to think, speak and even draw like us. But this is only because they are so good at mimicking us (with the added randomness that allows for nice surprises – or ‘hallucinations’). They may look sentient, and ‘reply’ as if they were, but this is simply mimicking what we – statistically – would say.

No one knows precisely what gives human (and some other animal species) the ability to transform everything around us into symbolic models. And until we do, machines will only remain parrots.”

Fawaz Naser, CEO at

“I’m really enthusiastic about AI and would love to see it achieve sentience, but I have doubts that it will ever truly be sentient. This skepticism stems from a fundamental limitation: everything an AI ‘thinks’ is ultimately input by a human.

The biggest challenge in achieving computational sentience is the capacity of machines to experience feelings. The question arises whether these feelings serve any purpose. In biological entities, feelings are crucial for self-preservation. It’s debatable whether a machine needs to experience feelings to maintain a sense of ‘self.’

In my opinion, the current excitement surrounding AI is overly inflated. I view AI as not being as groundbreaking compared to other computational models as often portrayed. Sometimes, the outcomes produced by AI are still quite basic. AI will be useful in some areas, but its impact may be limited. It can mimic human speech and replace jobs that are repetitive, like answering the same questions repeatedly. Ultimately, any task that has sufficient economic incentive will likely be automated, regardless of whether it involves AI.

I think it’s possible that we might see computational systems that question their own existence. However, the idea of a computational system that experiences human-like emotions and motivations seems far less probable. Without the biological reward mechanisms like a dopamine rush, there’s little drive for a non-organic entity to engage with the outside world and modify its self-perception. Therefore, I’m inclined to believe that it’s unlikely for a machine to develop true sentience.”

Gina LaGuardia

Gina LaGuardia, Editorial Director at Top AI Tools 

“While AI models like the ones we track at show remarkable abilities to understand, generate, and interpret complex information, it’s important to clarify that they do not possess consciousness or sentience in the human sense. They operate on sophisticated algorithms and vast data sets, which enable them to simulate understanding — but without the subjective experience.

The potential impact of AI on the arts and humanities, however, is profound. By processing and generating new forms of art, literature, and theoretical insights, we believe AI can inspire human creativity and offer new perspectives. In turn, this can lead to innovative approaches in creative expression and critical thinking.

Of course, it’s essential to approach this topic with a blend of optimism and caution. AI serves as a tool to complement human potential, rather than as a substitute for the genuine creativity and insight that only sentient, living beings can offer.

At, we see the intersection of AI with the arts and humanities as a catalyst for unparalleled collaboration. Think of it — if you will — as a partnership that can lead to a “digital renaissance” in creative fields, pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms and encouraging a deeper, more nuanced exploration of the human condition through the lens of technology.”

Jenny Huzell

Jenny Huzell, AI Consultant at Prolific

“The alleged self-awareness of Claude 3 is likely another ‘AI hallucination,’ akin to a bug in the system. As AI models like Claude 3 undergo continuous updates, they not only acquire new capabilities but also new hallucinations. So, is Claude 3’s supposed self-awareness significant? Likely not. The tendency of AI observers to romanticise positive outcomes while dramatising negative ones is apparent here.

“Nevertheless, even if it’s just another hallucination, it serves as a warning to developers—a risk they must swiftly address.

Consider the analogy of a computer overheating. While it won’t explode, it may slow down, exhibiting symptoms like the spinning wheel. Similarly, AI models require mechanisms to handle such edge-case hallucinations effectively. Responsibility also lies with AI model users. The effectiveness of these tools depends on the clarity of the prompts provided. While guardrails and safety measures exist, they may not cover every eventuality, emphasising the need for solid human oversight.

“In the realm of real-world decision-making, where these outputs matter most, humans must exercise discernment. Whether it’s leveraging the best or worst-case scenarios, human oversight ensures resilience. Claude 3, like any tool, is designed for specific tasks but can still get things wrong, much like humans. Therefore, cautious optimism – and pessimism – should prevail. Ultimately, developers and users alike must acknowledge their shared responsibility for the outcomes generated.”

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