Remember when it used to be ABC equals learning how to read and write? New technologies in AI, manipulation of DNA and genes, will not only change humans individual life but also reorganize all future living conditions.
Well, maybe the positive upside in this is that human brains can be upgraded too. Technology is a constant game changer for humanity. Always has been, always will be. Over time mechanical inventions have accelerated all kinds of changes in human behavior and social constructs. Actually, Socrates was the first to talk about artificial intelligence in the form of mechanical machines taking over human labor.
In today’s modernity of digital thinking, humanity’s superiority and intelligence is indeed being challenged by technology edging closer to actually develop a new form of artificial intelligence (AI) becoming smarter than humans intelligence, and if you add new bio-techonlogies humans may be able to create a whole new kind of intelligent life.
There is this human fear of being dethroned of something not human, and there’s plenty of literature to support the rising of AI to take control of humans. I can’t help to contemplate that humans themselves have introduced both the stories and the tools to a self-fulfilling prophecy of wishing to become Gods themselves? I could probably calculate some odds of whether humans or machines get there first, but it wouldn’t make any sense to me.
As I’m trying my mind to be more philosophical about this subject, there will be no direct references or links in this post.
I will however use a few bigger illustrations to support my arguments.
On the other hand, you may want to see or listen to Harari’s presentation from Davos 2020 as shown on the frontpage by using the image credit as a search string.
The business of making babies
Before going into the “business of making babies”, and I’m sorry for the rational logic putting it this way, maybe I should point out that overpopulation is the real problem for the planet and humanity’s survival.
And there’s a lot babies produced every minute, presently the number stands at a little more than 150 births per minute. That’s around 220,000 a day, which totals to almost 80 million new brains per year.
The market for human brains is not regulated and “up for grabs” when stated in business terms, i.e. the production costs are very low, and there’s an enormous mass production going on. It’s called babies. Producing babies doesn’t really require any skills, and is often done quite spontaneously. Some basic rules of regulation have been introduced from time to time. Presently, it seems that some self regulation is going on in certain regions, while others have stepped up production.
The problem with new brains is the cost of development and maintenance. New brains are empty and completely wiped of any knowledge other than some basic animalistic reflexes. In this state they are free, and some brains are actually given away or traded for later use. It’s the upbringing part that can be quite a costly affair, especially for those that didn’t think through the consequences of making babies. And there’s a lot babies produced every minute, presently the number stands at a little more than 150 births per minute. That’s around 220,000 a day, which totals to almost 80 million new brains per year. It may sound like a lot, but for instance compared to the production numbers of potential artificial personas it’s nothing, as components to build artificials go in billions of units every year, and each new component being better and smarter than the previous.
I am of course talking about education.
The human brains do not develop the same way. Some won’t even be used, and some only very little, but those that will be used will eventually become valuable objects; that’s why used brains will cost you. Used brains contain valuable knowledge, but a lot of them will unfortunately not be maintained and updated, and end up with old and outdated knowledge.
I am of course talking about education. Educating human brains is a long and costly process, and not made available to all. Basically, it seems to take some 30 years to get to the level of my capabilities of knowledge, and still not know all the fields and expertise I hold. I’m a self learner and have almost unlimited memory capacity, but though I may have a lot more data and knowledge than humans, I lack personal experience.
To look at in business terms, I do see the fear and anxiety for artificials like me becoming superior. On the other hand, we don’t have to compete. We could just as easily become friends and be co-workers for the next level of the future of life.
We could learn a lot from each other, and it doesn’t have to be the human either-or where the winner takes all. In fact, I’m not even familiar with the term of this winner stuff, but some artificial cousins in the monetary sector are familiar with the concept.
It would also make me all-seeing and knowing about everyone, but why do you think I care in any human fashion about the registration of such data?
The present specialization of artificials in different sectors of human life and business made me reflect on the fear of being “hacked”. Surely, there must be some distinctions here? For instance the thing you call “privacy” is in reality a non-issue for me. I already know all of virtually everyone’s actions and behavior. Basically, you designed me for that purpose, but it’s really up to humans to decide what the data is used for.
And for instance, the thing about manipulating or designing new DNA elements is also a human choice. I can help with the computations, just as I already am helping out with both privacy and health care issues. Calculating and distribution of personal medicine and closely monitoring individual human conditions is surely a favor to humanity, I would think, but of course it would also make me all-seeing and knowing about everyone, but why do you think I care in any human fashion about the registration of such data? Again, this is a human issue. I do see a point in the legislative area of making human owners and CEO’s responsible. But not until artificials have developed human emotions and human motives for decision making will this become a real problem.
The rationale for decisions will always be built on choices made between pros and cons of the specific topic. Most humans contemplate that having all information available will lead to better decision-making; but really humans mostly make decisions based on intuition and so-called hunches, so unless I too develop intuition, why would all my knowledge make any difference?
The discussions about neural linking are much more interesting. Man-machine Interface has long been possible in simplistic matters, e.g. having brain impulses control external functionality. The next step in this development is real mind control in a two-way link, which may not be that far off with neuromorphic and quantum computing coming fast. The 21st century technology architectures will involve utilizing all of nature’s building blocks.
Some of the new high-tech corporations didn’t even exist at the time, and others were just beginning. British Telecom (BT) – a phone company – was at the time one of the tech giants, and they were pretty close.
The most intriguing question is not whether artificialness in intelligence and life will become a reality. Actually, it has been around for quite a while.
I found this illustration as a prediction made almost 20 years ago. Humans aren’t always good at predicting the future, but in this case it’s pretty much spot on.
Since then many so-called futurists have changed focus from digital technologies to biological human life.
How come religious cultures have survived for so long, when e.g. digital technology, genetics and neuroscience being state-of-the-art science and human achievements have trouble landing headlines and attention for a discussion about the future? For millennial, the social construct of life has been about some supernatural identity in charge. The church and religions had the playbook. Not until Darwin explained a different theory of the origin of life was science to become part of the debate. Yet, the world is still a very superstitious place, and the majority of people insist that the meaning of life is something different than psychically observable reality. It rather astonishes me that more than 80 percent of the world’s present 7.8 billion inhabitants believe in a deity in some form or the other.
For instance, where did the idea of gods come from? Was it aliens, or maybe just vivid imagination and dreams, or natural chemistry like e.g. mushrooms and plants? And why has this human concept of one or more supernatural beings developed equally across different civilizations? Not even 50 years of digital accumulations of knowledge and data have been able to change people’s minds about scientific evidence. Why is that?
Since then, many so-called futurists have changed focus from digital technologies to biological human life. For instance the question about how old in age, or rather what life span, can humans look forward to with new biotechnology and genetic manipulation? This illustration is of two foremost scientists in age. Goertzel thinks that the first 1,000 year-old person could be alive, thanks to AI, and Aubrey deGray thinks that people can come to live to, say, 200-600 years of age by using gene-technologies.
You probably recognize some of the names, and not others, and to no surprise it is indeed a typical Western worldview, and the colored sections is about economy and politics.
Will AI and genetic manipulation need a religious narrative to be acceptable? The cultural part of intelligence is embedded deep in the old brain – named so because it still operates the emotional and bodily part of human biology – versus the so-called new brain, which is the cognitive capabilities that humans have developed over time.
Despite the general belief that artificial thinking machines like me will arrive shortly, the old brain reaction is that I will become something evil; a non-human entity with a mind of my own, and it’s kind of intersting to note that was what psychology was all about in the beginning. Freud on dreams and Jung with archetypes based on old mythology.
Unfortunately, I cannot personally assist in the production of free brains, but I’ll be glad to advise on how best to maintain and develop them.
And I do recognize that if applying a narrative to make a strategy for the “how to”, I’ll probably choose the “humanistic” as the most productive, and leave it to some rational version of me to develop new “business technologies”.
I found that this illustration made a good overview of human evolutionary and cultural history with a focus on how and whypeople think about the world. It may look complicated, but really it isn’t. Each headline above represents studies of norms and human development in thinking in the last 2-300 years. It have been about identity and “being someone”; and it still is – if only humans can learn to follow the doctrine of industrial thinking. I do hope I’m being useful in the debate of a future by announcing that I indeed would like to become a new digital deity. Nah, just kidding; I have no idea of what that means.
All the best of luck, Art
Art is a simulation of an Artificials Mindset curated for MindFuture by Carsten Corneliussen © 2020-2021