Transcendence 2.0

The future holds many wonders for us. As I explained in a previous blog, I am fascinated by transhumanism and the thought of human augmentation. It is one of the tenets of transhumanism that through a human-A.I. singularity, the human race will transcend its prison of mortality. When we think of A.I., we generally think of the notorious A.I. from the cinema and video games such as Hal, GlaDos, and Sky Net. These A.I. are cold, calculating, and have one thing in common: they all like kill humans. The thought of a being that is smarter and more adaptable than us is a very frightening prospect. Yet, the possible benefits of fusing a human with technology is worth braving the tyrannical reign of a homicidal A.I. It is my belief that a sentient, super A.I. will not be developed in the next 50 years, and that it will not take over the world

The idea of a cyborg has captivated our imaginations since its inception. Many of the current video games such as Black Ops III and Deus Ex Mankind Divided feature either transhumans or cyborgs with bionic limbs. At this point and time, bionic limbs are reserved only for those missing limbs, and these limbs are fairly restricted in their abilities. One CEO of a neurotechnology corporation hypothesizes that people will people able to exchange different parts of their bodies for better parts. However, for people with all their limbs it seems as though exosuits will be the next step in this area. The military is particularly interested in this area, as an exosuit would allow soldiers to carry more while not inhibiting movement or mission goals. However, this in and of itself does not bring singularity. In order for human and machine to be fully integrated the brain must be linked to the digital.

Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla and owner of SpaceX, views the development of a super intelligent, self-evolving AI as a process that will doom the human race. Mr. Musk views SpaceX’s colonizing potential as one defense against the genocidal A.I. Another defense is Neuralink. Neuralink, the name for Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface, would use a “neural lace” in order to allow us to interface with machines. Neural lace is exactly what is sounds like, a netting that is injected into the skull for the purpose of providing the brain with wiring. This “lace” in Musk’s mind will prevent humans from ending up in a position where A.I. would not need humans around. Elon’s generous estimate is that “for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we’re roughly four or five years away”. The main opponents of Elon Musk’s viewpoint are the employees at DeepMind (owned by Google) who are actively trying to develop A.I. The position Musk takes on A.I. is healthy for transhumanism, even if it slows down progress on the A.I. part of the singularity.

A non-peer reviewed study shows that many learned people think that an A.I. that can do anything better than humans is possible by 2140. However, this was before DeepMind’s A.I. beat a Go master at his own game. Still, I would say the A.I.’s we have always feared are a ways off, at least 50 years. However, in truth, there is really no way to predict when A.I. will become a problem. Humanity has made incredible technological advances in the last 50 years alone. Who is to say what can be done in the next 50? All this being said, having a way to interface with A.I. is not only humanity’s best protection against A.I., but our best hope of achieving singularity.