Intelligence Augmentation and Cyborg Anthropology


There are different schools of thought among experts in artificial general intelligence whereby we reach the Singularity, but two of the categories are:

We will design a computer system separate from ourselves which will take over on its own
We will connect computers to our biological brains first, an advanced kind of "intelligence augmentation"

Of category 2, it's worth noting that we are already able to connect wires to the human brain as well as our nervous system at the location of amputated limbs and elsewhere, whereby people can learn to control a mechanical arm and other devices at a distance.  We also have already connected an array of light sensors to the human brain to give otherwise blind people the ability to see things.

(Indeed, the successes in humans' abilities to learn to control things by direct wiring to our nervous system has been so successful that the US military is already conducting research and development to allow operators to control remote weapons and other things just by thinking about them.  As is often the case, much of the money and work is coming from the military by tax payer dollars, and shortly thereafter fueled much further by an arms race by competing nations...)

Wiring our brains with chip memory for accessing objects stored there in a meaningful way is a whole different matter.  Wiring our brains with an external CPU and software is a huge leap beyond that.

I think it is safe to say that category 1 will come before category 2 gets achieved in a significant way, and even if not, category 2 is probably well beyond the timeline for extinction by genetic engineering, future biological pathogens, or nanotechnology.

Indeed, humans may not be intelligent enough to complete a working, category 2 singularity capable system, and may need help from a category 1 system for individual humans to become singularity-genarians.

The concept of a singularity-genarian generation may not mean much in the world of supernetworking whereby we lose our individuality to a considerable extent.  The concept of a singularity-genearian is for those trying to hold on to an animal individualistic legacy.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that computers are already providing us with an unwired "intelligence augmentation", albeit at a very basic level.

After all, at least for myself, it is difficult to imagine life now without my terabyte external USB hard disk with its perfect memory as opposed to my faulty and often fading human memory, as well as my laptop computer with its programs and CPU to quickly search for data upon demand, remind me of events on my calendar without failure, help me manage my projects, calculate the monetary value of my remaining resources, and so on. 

Those of us who grew up without computers (I was born in 1959) but are now heavy duty users (myself since 1985 when the IBM clones came out and were affordable, well after graduating from the university) especially appreciate how far we've come in the last half century of life on this planet.

(Notably, I designed, direct, and partially write a lot of my own custom programs, including the software used to create this website, as well as my EZ Project Management system for both business and personal projects.)

Much of this is covered in the fields of cybernetics and cyborg anthropology.



External links:

Wikipedia on Cybernetics

Wikipedia on Cyborg Anthropology

CyborgAnthropology.com

A curatorial site by leading Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case.


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This website is about
realistic human extinction
threats in our generation,
mainly genetics,
biotechnology, and
nanotechnology.
It also discusses the
realities of Artificial
General Intelligence
by computer advances
in 20-30 years, the
so-called Singularity.