The Threat And Promise Of Humans With Technologically-Boosted Superintelligence

radically amplified human intelligence

Via Sentient Developments, futurist and Singularity Summit co-organizer Michael Anissimov on radically amplified human intelligence (IA) as potentially even more powerful, and dangerous, than artificially intelligent machines:

The real objective of IA is to create “super-Einsteins”, persons qualitatively smarter than any human being that has ever lived. There will be a number of steps on the way there.

The first step will be to create a direct neural link to information. Think of it as a “telepathic Google.”

The next step will be to develop brain-computer interfaces that augment the visual cortex, the best-understood part of the brain. This would boost our spatial visualization and manipulation capabilities. Imagine being able to imagine a complex blueprint in high detail, or to learn new blueprints quickly.

The third step involves the genuine augmentation of pre-frontal cortex. This is the Holy Grail of IA research — enhancing the way we combine perceptual data to form concepts.

Chemicals are not targeted enough to produce big gains in human cognitive performance. The evidence for the effectiveness of current “brain-enhancing drugs” is extremely sketchy. [And] attempts to overclock the brain usually cause it to break, as demonstrated by the horrific effects of amphetamine addiction. To achieve real strides will require brain implants with connections to millions of neurons. This will require millions of tiny electrodes, and a control system to synchronize them all. It will be a while before this is possible — at least 15 to 20 years.

Improvement in IA rests upon progress in nano-manufacturing. Brain-computer interface engineers, like Ed Boyden at MIT, depend upon improvements in manufacturing to build these devices.

One of the most salient side effects would be insanity. The human brain is an extremely fine-tuned and calibrated machine. Most perturbations to this tuning qualify as what we would consider “crazy.” Even in the case of perfect sanity, side effects might include seizures, information overload, and possibly feelings of egomania or extreme alienation. Smart people tend to feel comparatively more alienated in the world, and for a being smarter than everyone, the effect would be greatly amplified.

The problem with IA is that you are dealing with human beings, and human beings are flawed. People with enhanced intelligence could still have a merely human-level morality, leveraging their vast intellects for hedonistic or even genocidal purposes. [AI robots], on the other hand, can be built from the ground up to simply follow a set of intrinsic motivations that are benevolent, stable, and self-reinforcing.

12 Comments on "The Threat And Promise Of Humans With Technologically-Boosted Superintelligence"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | May 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm |

    Intelligence without an evolutionarily adaptive morality is nothing but suicide. All individuals must die, but it’s an open question as to whether the species as a whole is viable in the long run.

    We already have the means to provide a standard of living far better than anything our ancestors ever dreamed of. But some of us seem stuck with a medieval mindscape that can’t imagine a purpose for man beyond murder and theft from his fellows.

  2. Simon Valentine | May 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

    15 to 20 years?
    based on what analysis?
    *gets out the NP instrument and harps on it*

    yeah maybe 15 to 20 years for each brain, or to develop a system generic enough to be within tailoring tolerance of a personalized [time frame]. that time frame is what the market willwould manipulate, eliminate, frame, profit, use, … it would be how current ‘economy’ would saddle the technology into tiers. you’d have an expensive quick & accurate, a cheap & quick, a slow & accurate … you know … this part is easy. ..and brotarded philosophic crime.

    anyway. hook me up.

    i’ll even tell you how to solve the problems faster.

    let me know about that cosine integral algorithm Vc. Calrissian

  3. Adamas Macalz | May 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

    I for one think this would be amazing… regardless of the consequences… and it’s not like they can’t “modify” the individual to be extremely empathic(just look up a light switch for neurons, Ted) prior to the process… anything that gets us closer to being living gods is worth the risk

  4. BuzzCoastin | May 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm |

    it’s all based upon 18th century ideas about machines
    they think the brain is the thinking machine
    and if they tweak it like they tweak a car
    it will think faster & better

    “Of all the words yet spoken,
    none comes quite as far as wisdom,
    which is the action of the mind”

    • Anarchy Pony | May 30, 2013 at 12:55 am |

      Fuckin’ mechanistic reductionist worldview.

      • The Well Dressed Man | May 30, 2013 at 3:56 am |

        Perhaps the TM teacher who described meditation as “mental technology” is as much to blame for my decision to study mechanical engineering as anyone. Sometimes mechanistic reduction is exactly what the doctor ordered.

  5. Noah_Nine | May 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm |

    this strikes me as being science fiction….

  6. The Well Dressed Man | May 30, 2013 at 4:06 am |

    Amphetamines have been around for quite some time, and when abused it’s not so much the (arguably psychological) addiction that does people in, as the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation and lack of sustenance. The newer ADHD and anti-narcolepsy meds seem to have a much more focused range of effect in therapeutic dosages. Nootropics including the racetam family have also shown promise in cognitive enhancement. Better living through chemistry is one element of transhumanism that has been in beta mode for decades.

  7. misplaced desires are the root of all sins. realize that all this and more can be accomplished without having to depend on technological/ritual objects. why tap into google when you can tap into the akashic records? why use a cell phone when you can learn telepathy? don’t depend on technology. all you need is now.

Comments are closed.