Artificial intelligence is new electricity

The intellectual currents that accompany advances in modern technology are as fascinating as the technologies themselves. What kind of a breakthrough could this be?


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Artificial intelligence is new electricity Norbert Biedrzycki

The whole of humanity is becoming connected to the global web and, within years, every inhabitant of the planet will enjoy full access. This will place new communications options and unlimited digital data, products, services and content at our fingertips. Never before in the history of mankind have we faced a change so widespread and in fact so democratic. Thanks to the “wiring” of the planet, each of us can today or in the near future gain access to the entire global, intellectual and cultural achievements of humanity. And what would happen if we connected our brains directly to such global databases? Would a super-man be created? Next level in our evolution? Transhumanism? The unity of man and machine?


Human-machine interface

At the level of physical contact with the computer, we are still using our hands and nothing has changed for decades. The change, which can be significant – for efficiency, time saving, and even the feeling that we are closer to the content we create, may be constructing an interface that would allow direct transmission of impulses (thoughts, commands) from our brain to the computer.

Take, for instance, the American company Kernel, which does research into medical solutions to better understand how the human brain works. Kernel’s founder, Brian Johnson, hopes some day to be able to “expand” the human brain to make people smarter and healthier.

Today, Kernel scientists are working on software that will alleviate the effects of neurological diseases and, by the way, build interfaces that directly connect the human brain to the machine. It means direct manipulation of manipulators or robots by our thoughts.


Fathers of Artificial Intelligence

It is worth noting the historical and intellectual background of Kernel’s founder’s dreams. The incredible acceleration in technological advances over the last three decades and the related hopes paint a vibrant picture of visionaries who for years have been paving the way for the likes of Johnson.

I have repeatedly referred to Ray Kurzweil, programmer, inventor, writer, futurologist currently working at Google. He became known in the technological arena thanks to the formulation of the thesis that, as humanity, we are at the threshold of a technological breakthrough. The author of the classic position “Singularity is coming”, describing the law of accelerated development, came to the conviction that we reach the border, the crossing of which means moving into another existential dimension. According to the famous theory, we are approaching the moment (specifically, it is about 2030-2045), in which the computing power of computers for the first time exceeds the ability of the human brain to process information. It is at this time that the actual functioning of artificial intelligence will begin. The next years are to bring even more radical changes. According to Kurzweil (but not only according to him, because the ideas of transhumanism gain more and more supporters – both theoretical and practical) as a species, we will evolve so that we will eventually become a different being.


Man of the future. Transhumanism

Unified with information technology, today we are entering the “transhumanistic” period in which machines and living organisms merge into one. This integration will be possible thanks to the gains of nanotechnology and fast-growing medicine. For the time being, the merger is about creating a better connection between the user and the computer that engages all human senses, made possible by the rapidly growing computational power of machines. IBM Watson is one computer that already serves medicine, sifting through billions of data sets per minute, performing a job that would be impossible without algorithms based on neural networks (machine learning) and that could never be done by medical and scientific personnel relying on classical computers.

The machine is proof of how the cognitive abilities of our species can be enhanced to improve our psychophysical performance. In a study on the future of AI, the McKinsey Global Institute outlines the possible evolution of medical diagnostics over the coming years. What may soon be a routine set of activities and technical operations remains beyond our grasp, actually appearing to be fantasy. The incorporation of such processes into everyday life will have a tremendous impact on the human condition.


Artificial intelligence is new electricity

Andrew Ng, once key specialist at the Chinese technology company Baidu, has said: “Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years.”

Tens of billions of electronic devices combined with each other, equipped with programs and applications, are already a powerful force that, like no other before, allows analysis and insight into the minds of today’s customers and consumers. This in turn guarantees a more and more perfect optimization of the processes of creating services, production and sales, that is, UNDERSTANDING the client’s needs. It’s on the business plan. And on a purely human plane? I think that in this sense, contemporary technology based on Artificial Intelligence is in its entirety a more perfect tool that creates opportunities for a better understanding of our life and the potential that lies within us.


Time for the first selfie from space?

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, or leading players on the modern technology market, implement business visions, which are integral to the tools included in the area of ​​artificial intelligence. These three visionaries have been looking to the future for years. And for them, this future is also the possibility and temptation of “detaching” from the earth, or exploration of outer space. They want to enter the space industry in the spirit of modern technology. Each of them, however, has slightly different motivations. Musk founded SpaceX in 2002. His greatest passion is Mars, and the dream of life is the creation of “Plan B” for humanity in the event that we face a catastrophe. Finally in his vision, humanity will become an interplanetary species. Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, and revealed the existence of the company only after six years of its existence, dreams about the interplanetary economy of the future, in which a large part of production will take place outside the earth.

Wishing to plan for the conquest of the universe, seeking analogies that would make their sense credible, she likes to remember the times before the Internet, when only a small group of visionaries saw the basis of a new economy on the global network. It turned out that they were right. Today, just a small handful of dreamers still believe in “cosmic” business. But they – according to Bezos – will ultimately prove themselves victorious. So moving to a “different” dimension – intellectual and social, in this case will have one more form. The earth may cease to be the only planet on which, as a species, we can continue to evolve and evolve. Conquest of the universe is not only to be a beautiful adventure in these scenarios, but to release the economic potential that lies in us.


Let’s get down to earth

Supported by continually-developed deep learning models funded by such companies as Google, Facebook, IBM, Samsung and Alibaba, artificial intelligence is set to grow faster, in fact almost exponentially. The total “meta-intelligence” (artificial and human combined) can be the most critical success factor for companies and nations. Therefore, next to the new “arms race” in artificial intelligence, we will soon see a race to boost the combined human intelligence of entire nations.

Critics of the idea of ​​meta-intelligence and, more broadly, of merging humans with machines, leave us with no illusions. Skeptics in the medical world argue we don’t fully understand how the human brain works. We only have a faint idea of where exactly the brain stores the information it later retrieves. We are befuddled by how the brain performs its calculations. So far, it has only been in rat brains that chips were implanted to improve memory. Therefore, linking the brain to a cloud for common access to the intellectual achievements of all people will long remain unfeasible. One cannot be sure of being on track to “meta-intelligence”. Personally, however, considering that the evolution is still moving forward, I would not bet that it will not be possible to combine advanced technology with the human body. I think that as homo sapiens, we may simply speed up change.


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Leave a Reply


  1. Tom Jonezz

    Scary. I don’t want to live that long 🙂

  2. Check Batin

    Elon Mask thinks long term. I mean really long term. That’s why he thinks we all live in a simulation. His argument is compelling, but also so far out, that his AI warnings could be on a similar scale. I think Elon thinks about AI problems in centuries, not decades. Current AI is harmless and very VERY limited. What if we manage to build AI that simulates everything a human brain does but way faster. So in essence, if AI outsmarts his own creator. We have no idea what will happen then. We don’t know if AI will ever develop any conscience and personal wishes. If it does, it would be very dangerous. If it doesn’t, it’s a tool like a nuclear bomb. Very dangerous in the wrong hands, but not dangerous without external input and commands.

  3. John Accural

    I think an AI’s morality being set to the average human’s morality is a terrible idea to being with.

  4. Jack666

    It is easy to forget one is carrying the whole world in a smartfon.. What being connected to the web via a smartphone means to us mainly is an ability to access company and personal e-mails, social media, some YouTube entertainment and interact with our close ones. However, just as easily as we communicate with our friends, we can tap into the most outstanding minds of our time.

    • Adam Spark Two

      You know, I don’t think current AI is truly harmless. When you think about it, we already know that the feedback loop created by Facebook played a role in our elections. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently and personally have come to the conclusion that there is some danger to current AI because of human nature. Basically, I think that AI has the ability to heavily influence/drive human behavior in a given direction and by the time we figured out what was going on, it would be too late.

  5. Mac McFisher

    Not only electricity, whole nervous system of a planet 🙂

  6. Simon GEE

    One of the great flaws I have found in Kurzweil’s reasoning over the years is the way he imagines technological advances will be implemented as demanded by the market. If we had technology capable of answering on cue a witty remark at a dinner party, would that really be one of the most significant uses of that level of AI? I do research in international relations, and the way I envision these types of technologies impacting research in the social sciences is that a witty-riposte generating software could give a single, qualified person the tools to write a Phd-level dissertation in weeks, or to make very small, garage-based teams produce more sophisticated economic intelligence reports than the FED (given equal access to data of course).

  7. Tom299

    The downside to the progress in AI is the implication to the job market. If AI is especially good at doing whatever humans can do, then AI software will be in direct competition with people for a lot of jobs. It is already beginning to show signs of this now, but will be even more common in the future.

    Several years ago, researchers were using earlier generations of AI software and earlier generations of machine learning algorithms. Even when provided with more data, the performance of these systems did not keep on getting better. However, because of Moore’s Law and the utilization of GPUs, even if a Neural Network is fed a small amount of data, its performance far surpasses that of traditional algorithms.

    • AdaZombie

      All because vast increase of data and computer processing

  8. Adam Spikey

    Interesting read on transhumanity. We should promote discussion of possibilities for the radical improvement of human capacities using technology in the future, as well as of the ethical issues and risks involved in technological developments.We need to spread transhumanist ideas and to seek academic acceptance of transhumanism as a philosophical and cultural movement.

    • Jack666

      Why are we so sure that nanotechnology will improve our future? Will contemporary technologies extend our lifespans? What are the prerequisites for creating artificial intelligence? Will autonomously thinking computers deserve to be granted fundamental rights? Is evolution coming to an end and moving into the realm of cyborgization?

  9. John McLean

    The vast majority of transhumanists think that super­intelligence and nanotechnology will both be developed in less than a hundred years, and many predict that it will happen well within the first third of this century. Once there is both nanotechnology and super­intelligence, a very wide range of special applications will follow swiftly.

      • Simon GEE

        So, basically, in the future, we get to sit there dumbfounded while our AI’s carry on witty conversations trying to get us laid….. um… can we just have holodecks instead and leave our monkey brains alone while machines run the world outside our holodecks?

    • Adam Spark Two

      I see the “feedback loop” loop that you’re describing as social media manipulation. Organized astroturfing campaigns where a single programmer can manipulate thousands of accounts are doing a lot of damage to our world by manipulating our real behaviors. This isn’t “artificial intelligence” in the traditional sense, but maybe it doesn’t matter. It seems inevitable that we’ll use our technology to destroy ourselves. The only open question is which technology will be the primary reason for our demise?

  10. John McLean

    Interesting intellectual and cultural movement that acknowledge the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

  11. John McLean

    Transhumanism can be viewed as an extension of humanism, from which it is partially derived. Humanists believe that humans matter, that individuals matter. We might not be perfect, but we can make things better by promoting rational thinking, freedom, tolerance, democracy, and concern for our fellow human beings

    • Adam Spark Two

      That’s sort of my point. The behavior of many being influenced by the few with use of a tool. It is very primitively AI in the sense that someone wrote code to replace the human thought process of editing. By the time we realize we’re being manipulated into different behavior, it’s too late. This is just the beginning and I can’t imagine what more advanced AI could be capable of.

  12. Karel Doomm2

    Once Kurzweil wrote. “The human species, along with the computational technology it created, will be able to solve age-old problems … and will be in a position to change the nature of mortality in a postbiological future.” How do you sell God in the 21st century? More heaven, less hell. Like the theologians Kurzweil had his own historical narrative. He divided all of evolution into successive epochs. We were living in the fifth epoch, when human intelligence begins to merge with technology. And this is a threat to us as humanity