JAIC: A Journal in Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness

Annalisa Castiglione — Much has already been said about Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, an area of great interest for scholars concerns the connection of AI with consciousness, which is still marginally explored and with few editorial or congressional venues to exchange ideas and contributions. The Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness (JAIC) is a new specialized journal aimed at collecting scientific contributions from AI, robotics and artificial systems, computer science, psychology, philosophy of mind, ethics, and neuroscience. JAIC proposes itself as a multidisciplinary platform, an opportunity for studying, deepening, and comparing studies for those who work in academic, scientific, and research fields. The journal includes in its editorial board almost 60 international scholars. The founder and editor-in-chief is Antonio Chella, a full professor of robotics at the University of Palermo and a research associate at the Institute of Computing and High-Performance Networks of The National Research Council (CNR).

“The debate on AI and consciousness today is very lively and vital, and the crucial point concerns the question whether consciousness can be ‘implemented’ on a computer or a robot or whether it is something that escapes computational models, which is of exclusive relevance to the world of biology. According to this line of thought, only a living being can be conscious, and therefore a robot, however sophisticated, will never be. But the question also concerns the role of corporeity: Can an entity without a body – like a computer – be conscious, or is it necessary to have a body with sensors such as cameras to see, and actuators such as arms and legs to be able to move and touch? “In the second case, a robot can be conscious while a computer can never be,” says Chella.

But there are still many open questions and research in the pages of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness, for example, on the role of the external environment: Is consciousness exclusively in the brain, or is it also relative to what surrounds us? In the latter case, would the human brain maintain the ability to be conscious without an external body and environment? Another insidious question concerns the robot’s perception: Can it really feel a feeling like pain or joy, or can it just automatically “pretend”? And would we be able to notice if a robot is really conscious or if it just “imitates” the fact of feeling something?

“Biological models can inspire the computational models based on the functioning of robots: The fact that consciousness is linked to an integrated experience, to attention, to working memory, are all suggestions that come from biology,” continues Chella. “In turn, the study of bioengineering and bioinformatics is giving considerable help to the understanding of biological processes and neurosciences at the basis of consciousness. Today we have access to huge quantities of brain data, coming from MRI, CT, and electroencephalogram. AI helps us to find computational models able to explain these data and, hopefully, predict new ones. Although criticized and originally aimed to replicate the human brain through modeling individual neurons, the important European initiative linked to the Human Brain Project has given a great boost to these studies”.

Therefore, the journal’s objectives satisfy the AI community’s interests in the functioning of algorithms and robots, and in the general principles of consciousness. The articles are of particular interest as they focus on: The replication of some aspects of biological consciousness in robots and AI systems through the most modern approaches, such as deep neural networks (Deep Neural Network), machine learning, knowledge representation, anticipatory systems, cognitive and social systems, biomimetic and developmental robotics and artificial life, symbolic and subsymbolic, epigenetic and affective AI; AI’s techniques and robotics as a support to the study of biological consciousness in humans and animals; and the discussion on ethical issues related to AI, consciousness and their relationships. The journal aims to act as an aggregator for international research to contribute to the scientific community’s growth related to these issues. Concerning the publication and access to articles, you can choose to publish free of charge, where the use of the article is free for subscribers and paid for others. You can select the open-access mode (which requires a fee for the publication) and then makes the paper available free online to the public. The subscription for university libraries and research centers costs 350 dollars per year in the printed + digital version. It is possible to purchase individual articles not published in open-access mode.

The first issue can be downloaded free of charge for the whole of 2020 from https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscinet/jaic.



The Italian version of this article is available at this link: http://www.almanacco.cnr.it/reader/cw_usr_view_recensione.html?id_articolo=10394&giornale=10364