David Gelernter imagines the next leap forward in artificial intelligence:
Emotion summarizes experience. If the subtle emotion you happen to feel on the first warm, bright day of spring (an emotion that has no name) is similar to the emotion you felt the first time you took a girl to the movies, this particular emotion might connect the two events; and next year's first warm spring day might cause you to remember the girl and the movie.
No computer will be creative unless it can simulate all the nuances of human emotion.
We tend to think of emotions in a few primary colors: happy, sad, angry…. But our real emotional states are almost always far more subtle and complex. How do you feel when you've hit a tennis ball hard and well, or driven a nail into a plank with two perfect hammer blows? When you first re-enter, as an adult, the school you attended as a child? When you spot the spires of Chartres on the horizon, or your son's girlfriend reminds you of a girl you once knew? Or the day turns suddenly dark and a storm threatens, or your best friend is about to make a big mistake but you can't tell him?
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