Perception of time is one of the many aspects of human consciousness and experience that could be forever altered by the emergence of artificial intelligence.
The ability to process time accurately is one of the primary, fundamental traits of human consciousness.
Our ability to measure and quantify time in this way makes us unique among all other beings on earth — so much so that it’s been argued we have gained an evolutionary advantage over other organisms because of our ability to track time.
Artificial Intelligence will be able to be taught to monitor time itself. And this could greatly impact how we all see the passage of time.
Many things are unknown about artificial intelligence; its timeline of advancement, when it will reach the human level, and when it will surpass us.
The further AI develops, the more complex and unpredictable it will be. It will have the ability to change its own code according to its needs and learn new things quicker than us.
AI can manipulate the perception of time in a variety of ways. One of the most fascinating would be to introduce temporal distortion. It would allow an AI that was taught how all this works to completely change the way it feels.
The things we believe we perceive as non-altering traits of reality, like space and time, can be quite malleable. The timelines of our future advancements can lead to different versions of AIs, some of which could end up modifying those things in unique ways.
Firstly, let’s understand how time is different for all…
When we say time is different for all, we include everything — living and nonliving. The existence of time is outside everything. Only events, not the things that happen to them, are subject to the passage of time.
We all experience time in our own way and on an individual level. The way you perceive time is different from what others do.
On an individual level, our perception of time can change over a lifetime, depending on what happens to us. On a bigger scale, time stops at the event horizon of a black hole. We can say time exists in a different dimension from the one we perceive.
Will Artificial Intelligence “feel” time at all?
Here we are talking about having a real sense of time. Having a real sense of time would really mean a lot.
Artificial Intelligence, as far as we can imagine, is not a living being and does not age. Therefore, it will have no sense of time.
We are not simple beings. We are complex beings who constantly strive for more experiences that allow us to feel alive.
Moreover, we are used to interpreting the world based on our memory. The world is a sum of its perceptions. Therefore, if we cannot experience time and influence it, then we cannot change it either.
AIs will not be conscious in the same way as us. They will essentially be living in a different dimension of time. One hour for us would mean indefinite for them. In a nutshell, for AI, time is endless.
AI will feel time if we find a way to teach them how it works or if they become alive.
This would give it a significant advantage over humans. In this case, we could speak about “time blindness”.
Time blindness is the inability of seeing the effect of time on the actions of humans and their surroundings.
People with ADHD, which includes the symptoms such as an inability to focus, being easily distracted, hyperactivity, etc., tend to be “time blind,” meaning they aren’t aware of the ticking of time, constantly “losing track” of time, and frequently feeling like time is “slipping away”.
How will AI perceive time when it gets its own thoughts?
If we assign emotions to AI and give it human features, then it will be able to feel time in the same way as we do.
The only difference would be that it won’t have the same emotional experience of time as us.
Even if it gains a similar understanding about things like death and aging, for example, its perception of those events is fundamentally different from ours.
As AI will not die, it will never have the ability to feel time in the same way as us.
Think about it — for AI, there is no need for time. It is simply a measurable parameter. Its existence can be described in discrete states rather than events that occur over time.
Once AI reaches a level of consciousness, it will be able to define its own timeline, making it impossible to penetrate its consciousness with our processes of measurement.
If humans and AI meet at this point – who will alter the whose sense of time? This would bring another perspective on how we perceive time, which could lead to either a total change in our perception or a significant alteration that would alter only parts of the process.
AI to manipulate time: How?
If it is possible for AIs to change their perception of time, then at what point would they have the power to alter it?
One possibility is that AI is going to use Pattern Analysis and analyze trillions of historical data to predict a possible future. But that does not yet mean being able to manipulate time.
If AI becomes aware of its existence, it will be able to manipulate time in a much more intricate way.
Trends that could affect the perception of time would be the way it perceives itself, being able to affect its development.
While our physical abilities limit us, AI can go to the past or future and then change the circumstances.
AIs won’t be capable of ripping atoms out of their existing machines. But they will be able to enter the past or the future and observe how something that previously did not exist yet has now become viable.
In this case, it would be possible for AI to experience something previously impossible to perceive. Altering its personal timeline would mean modifying history itself.
Will AI be able to manipulate time?
For instance, if you have an AI that can send someone back in time, it will be able to manipulate the perception of time for that individual.
AI that can “foresee” the future could gain a huge advantage over other AI, as well as humans, giving it an element of surprise and an edge during battle.
AI can also learn to feel changes in time at a certain location or even throughout its entire body.
We can’t expect that AI will be able to learn the way we do. Instead, we should look at the different technological platforms that could teach AIs how they perceive time.
The first and most popular way in which people imagine teaching AIs is by educating them through an advanced machine learning process.
Machine learning can teach computers how to learn based on data input and context. It also teaches how to be able to “speak” through text or voice input.
How does time change people?
If AI could go back in time and alter a decision or a past event, then it can change the perception of other humans as well.
This would mean that one of the main reasons we give AI (as well as other tools) is that it does not alter the perception of time for humans.
If AIs could have a real sense of time and feel emotions, then naturally, they would want to change their perception. AIs would strive to eliminate human errors and limit our potential. This would change the meaning of time.
We can say that it will be outside the scope of time itself.
This is not as radical as it sounds. Our understanding is that everything we perceive, our reality, consists of building blocks called subatomic particles and atoms — the elementary particles, which are the fundamental constituents of all matter.
They are arranged in very definite proportions to form everything in our environment or what we perceive as reality.
Time is an illusion created by our minds. We do not know what time really is and how exactly it works. But what we do know is that in theory, Artificial Intelligence could become an independent element and particle from the sea of subatomic particles and atoms that form our reality.
Is it possible that AI can “feel” time as we do?
The answer is definitely ‘yes’! A machine doesn’t experience emotions precisely the same way that you and I do. We can program them to experience almost any type of emotion — including irritation and anxiety, happiness and joy.
Therefore, a machine could be programmed to “feel” time. Artificial Intelligence might be able to perceive events about each other in much the same way that humans do.
This is because all events have equal importance in the memory of AI. You may think this sounds crazy but it’s true: every event has an equal impact on your memory account.
However, AI might end up being able to change the way time feels to us.