The stumbling block in creating Artificial Intelligence has everything to do with the predominant scientific stand that “purpose” (teleology) is a big no-no. This bias shows itself most conspicuously in the academic world’s attempt to view intelligence as essentially computational rather than volitional.
The irony is that the more intellectual one is (like scientists and scholars), the more one pays attention to thinking and the brain’s operation of processing data rather than on the more fundamental operation of affection and love.
Emanuel Swedenborg, who is the father of neuron theory, and the first scientist to offer a comprehensive, multi-level cognitive theory that was broad enough to include both person-level experiences and a neural basis for religion, offered a most insightful explanation as to why the learned world overlooks emotion.
He stated that “thoughts” could be seen by the mind’s eye but that love and affection could only be felt. However, our thoughts are actually affections given form. An affection or intention has no quality unless it takes a form. Affections take form as thoughts, where they can then be seen and evaluated by the intellectual mind.
Love is the living part of the thought and is what “breathes fire” into the mental concepts of human cognition. This situation brings the concept of values into the scientific discussion. According to Swedenborg, not only did every part of the human body have reference to some part of brain, but that the multi-layered scaffolding of the brain and its neurons were correlated to some specific value of love in the non-physical, hierarchical mind.
To be fair, I do see some positive signs coming from neuroscience that the “masculine” and “intellectual” bias of modern academia is slowly changing. Neuroscience is beginning to realize that the higher-level operations of human cognition cannot be explained by a single-level theory of synaptic pathways. Some researchers now suspect that the neuron might have its own micro-nervous system within deeper levels of structure (like microtubules). Modern brain science will have accomplished what Swedenborg did, 250 years ago, when it attaches levels of cognition to distinct emotional values.
Swedenborg’s cognitive theory already embraces levels of brain structure correlated to levels of human affection. This spectrum of affection ranges from the love of acquiring knowledge (memory data), to the love of understanding what one knows (inner perception), to the love of reasoning (exploring truth), and finally, to the love of becoming wise and knowing God (spiritual exploration).
If it is affection (derivatives of love) that focuses our attention and gives order to the experiences and data in our memory, then the challenge of creating artificial intelligence really amounts to engineering artificial love – which is farfetched.