Artificial intelligence will never be intelligent in the human sense until we find a way of organizing machine process, storage and retrieval that is mediated by an emotion-emulating algorithm.
Information moving about within our brains, even what we believe to be pure logical thought and fact is attached to emotional preferences and dislikes (intellectual passions if you like), and these emotional tags or neurological links assist us in making efficient and meaningful use of the primary sensory chaos present in the unprocessed perceived environment. Emotion plus other data equals meaning, and meaning is everything in both thought and emotion, and in action or communication.
Comprehending what meaning means aught to be our main target as we pursue the grail of artificial intelligence. We can eventually understand and build an operational concept of meaning, but it will be difficult (or maybe impossible) if we only stick to the computer science worldview. The difficulty will be somewhat eased if computer scientists go to lunch with psychotherapists who teach and use psychodynamic theory.
In a simple mind experiment, think of an idea or a theory, perhaps some fact or strong belief you have been working with. Are you fond of it? Do you defend this belief or theory when colleagues challenge it’s validity in meetings? Your defense is not purely logical. It is also strongly emotional.
We are motivated by emotion first, logic second. We store away and remember our observations and scientific ideas with ‘tags’ that connect emotion to logical thought.
If computation is ever to be deeply companionable with humans, we must build computers that process data the way humans feel and think, this is not improbable. Because they exist together within the brain, emotions, logically, must be merely another quality or kind of information in the brain in the same way as are logical propositions.
Emotion is not a halo of irrational spiritual vapor hovering outside our brains. It is more likely central to the brain’s own deep logic. Perhaps emotion is a faster pathway to learning and remembering in animals, including humans, and will eventually provide the same functions within computer systems and their application programs.
Perhaps, if we keep our minds open this avenue of investigation may also lead to a better understanding of the mysterious process of human thought and emotion.