The past few months have been unapologetically silent from a blogging perspective due to my move to the Netherlands. Having lived in three cities over a duration of six months, I discovered that there is no other option than to approve of this nomadic lifestyle. Revising the topics that I plan to contribute to in the foreseeable future, I thought of technologies that are worthy of my personal commitment. In terms of 5 years, 10 years and a project that ideally spans over a lifetime. There is one topic that keeps coming back. The topic that might have cultivated my interest in computers. Which is Artificial Intelligence. Or more specifically, its transition into a field that delivers the exact opposite. Creations that are anything but the consolidation of artificiality and intelligence. I remember watching the Ghost in the Shell series and embracing its story as a great narrative of the struggles and challenges that computer enthusiasts face. Their incompatibility to relate to human reasoning, emotions or mortality. Frustrations that are most certainly solved when computers are your allies . Nonetheless, one’s decision to work with logical and estimable systems does not diminish one’s curiosity to use the computer as a medium to gain insight into human reasoning and its future. As Ghost in the Shell put it in 1995:
Advancements in Computational Neuroscience make this statement more of a reality as opposed to unthinkable. Whereas Artificial Intelligence defines the practice to mimic human intelligence by developing applications we think are intelligent. There is a shift to Intelligence Amplification. Which is the practice to develop applications that are directly wired to biological neural networks to represent or extend human intelligence in its purest form. Instead of copying information from one object to another without access to its source, we can directly subtract information from its source. I share the following motives that strengthen my fascination to contribute to the field of Intelligence Amplification:
I – When Alan Turing (inventor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence) committed suicide in 1954, he was unable to finish his work of a lifetime. Notes about infinite mechanical consciousness were already described in his Computing Machinery and Intelligence paper. It is an honour to contribute to a movement that tends to accomplish the future he envisioned.
II – Although having firmly contributed to the philosophical fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence in as early as the 17th century, I grossly disagree with René Descartes’ statements in Discourse de la méthode, Part V and Principes de la philosophie, Part IV. In particular his views on animals being automata, mere machines incapable of suffering or feeling. The pettiness of Cartesianism still being the base of 21st century education and the manner in which humans perceive and interact with animals. Opposing his writings is a challenge from a rebellious nature. Notably the mind/body problem and his statement that no matter how humanlike an animal or machine could be made to appear in its form or operations, it would always be possible to distinguish it from a real human being by functional criteria.
III – Stephen Hawkings has publicly voiced his concerns about the impact of advanced Artificial Intelligence on the future of humankind. I share his concern, in that it is intriguing.
IV - Resources are more accessible and fundable to start working in IA. Consumer brain-to-computer interface sets (based on EEG technology) are being sold for €800 and computer-to-brain sets for approximately €500. This is a fair entry point without having to spend a serious amount of time on having to reinvent the wheel or €50 000+ for a medical institution set-up. There are obvious differences in the quality of the neuro oscillations (14 channels versus 256 channels), but you get the point.
V - Global communities like NeuroTechX offer a sounding board and a platform for collaboration.
VI - Companies are already jumping on the bandwagon. DARPA announced their NESD (Neural Engineering System Design) program in January. They’re actively recruiting scientists to build a neural interface platform and the application is still open.
I will further elaborate on the scope of the project that I’m developing in following posts. In the meantime: