AI made of light "possibly science" or "pure fiction"?

In summary, the concept of sentient beings made entirely of light, as depicted in the movie "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" by Spielberg, is not within the current possibilities of known science. Light particles do not have a natural tendency towards self-organization and cannot carry enough information on their own. Additionally, being made solely of light raises practical issues such as energy consumption, physical manipulation, and the inability to form complex structures. While the use of light in AI and computing is possible, creating a creature made entirely of light is not currently feasible.
  • #1
EnumaElish
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At the end of the movie about a robot boy who sleeps a long time under water ("AI"? by Spielberg?), sentient beings seemingly made of light appear. That's what I remember anyway. Is that within the possibilities of known science? Can light particles behave as organized matter in and of themselves? What level of scientific possibility would you grant the idea, according to Prof. Kaku's possibility classes?
 
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  • #2
After a quick image search I would not guess they are made of light.

This should not affect your question much. I've wondered much the same myself. Can I tie an electromagnetic knot that would not simply unravel itself? I would guess not, because light has a tendency to not hold still.

Unfortunately, this is well outside my area of expertise. I look forward to the answers of others.
 
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  • #3
"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence." Yeah, definitely one of the weirder endings in a movie.

Insofar as the question goes, I don't think so, at least not with our current understanding. Individual photons can't carry much information on their own, and don't tend toward self-organization. Nuclear particles have a mutual attraction, but photons don't seem to. Without a natural tendency toward greater complexity, it seems unlikely that photons could be used to synthesize a complex system unless they're being directed and affected by some controlling system or force.

However, if you're using photons merely as an end-result product - such as free-form holography - that is being controlled by another system, then it comes back toward plausibility.
 
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  • #4
There are some big issues with being a creature made entirely of light - first of all to me is that "creatures of light" are generally shown to be glowing. Something that glows is emitting photons. As a creature made entirely of light that means you are, literally, leaky. How would you stop from simply fading away as the photons that make up your very existence depart you?

Second, how is the light that makes up your form being restricted to making up your form? Photons travel at the speed of light. They don't generally choose paths that would outline a closed form. To be purely made of light would mean that you are specifically NOT made of anything that could reflect or refract the light, nor be made of anything particularly cold or dense. That leaves the possibility of gravity - maybe you can manipulate gravity? That would make your outside "shell" an event horizon (the point at which light can no longer escape your form). Even assuming you can somehow warp space inside you to keep the light in, that reopens the first problem - we can't see you because you can't leak light, and you can't reflect light because light coming in would cross the event horizon.

How does such a creature perform work? You must expend energy - nothing is free. But we humans are made of matter, which can be thought of as super-super-super dense energy. We think nothing of picking up a hammer. But a creature made of nothing but photons would be ridiculously energy-poor. Even given our miserable conversion rate, humans have exponentially more energy to expend and can pick up hammers, turn pages in books, push buttons, and consume and digest more matter. A creature made purely of light might die of exhaustion while screwing in a light bulb.

Finally, here's the brutal truth - matter has a variety of particles that can combine to form other particles with different properties. Those can combine to form atoms with different properties. Those can combine to form molecules with different properties. Those can combine to form materials that have yet other properties. A creature of pure light is limited to photons. Photons don't combine to form other unique particles. There are no photonic atoms or molecules or materials. There isn't anything to build up complexity from.

Pure light creatures are not viable. At least, not as anything we'd define as "creature" or "viable".
 
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  • #5
An AI using light in matter is certainly possible (and optical computing is a very active research topic), but with light alone you cannot create anything useful. Light-by-light interactions exist, but they are way too weak to be useful, and they cannot contain light inside some volume.
 
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1. Is AI made of light possible in science?

Currently, AI systems are made up of computer hardware and software, not light. However, there are ongoing research and development efforts to create AI using light-based technologies such as photonics and quantum computing. While it is not yet possible, it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility in the future.

2. What are the benefits of using light in AI?

Light-based technologies have the potential to drastically increase the speed and efficiency of AI systems. Light travels at a much faster rate than electricity, which is used in traditional computing, allowing for faster processing and data transfer. Additionally, light-based systems are less prone to interference and can handle larger amounts of data, making them ideal for complex AI tasks.

3. Can AI made of light have consciousness?

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that AI made of light would have consciousness. Consciousness is a complex concept that involves not only the physical components of the brain but also subjective experiences and emotions. While AI can mimic human behavior and thought processes, it is not capable of experiencing consciousness.

4. How does AI made of light differ from traditional AI?

AI made of light would use a different set of technologies and materials than traditional AI systems. This would result in faster and more efficient processing, as well as the potential for more advanced tasks. Additionally, light-based AI would be less affected by external interference and could potentially operate at lower energy levels.

5. Is the concept of AI made of light purely fictional?

While AI made of light does not currently exist, there are ongoing research and development efforts in this area. The concept is not purely fictional, as it is being explored by scientists and engineers. However, it is not yet a reality and may still be many years away from being a practical and widely used technology.

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