Moving just a little bit faster towards that Star Trek future with Google’s competitor to Siri – “MAJEL”

THAT IS WILD!  Interesting thoughts. (The name “Majel” comes from Gene Rodenberry’s wife – “in various roles, Barrett participated in every incarnation of the popular science fiction Star Trek franchise produced during her lifetime, including live-action and animated versions, television and cinema, and all of the time periods in which the various series have been set) [Ed Note: Thank you Mr. Foutz for this arcane trivia].”
The AI stuff from Google, of course, is not surprising.  Data Exhaust built the greatest spell check and language translator in history.  Beyond it not being surprising, it is unbelievably exciting, if the report is to be believed.
It’s the natural evolution of things.  It will become relatively self aware before we understand it.  If, philosophically, a temperature attentuator has some of the qualifications for the base definition of sentience, it will be interesting to watch when this thing sort of “switches on”.  I am not saying it will be “in existence”, but if it can attenuate in a linguistic matter, I think we need to start discussing the fine line of what it means to be self aware.  Some of you might think that is insane to even consider, but then again none of you are reading this, so that helps.
Of course, this has been discussed for decades. In case the AI isn’t human-like, enough, for you… why not try and make humans more like an automoton droid, or use a clever algorithmic trick to make us smarter?
Also… Darpa is testing out mind control for soldiers (not like “move your arm” control, more like “it’s not as hot as you think it is” mind bending)
And you can now download stuff into your brain, like the Matrix.  It sounds much fancier, however, by it’s proper technical abstract title:
“It is controversial whether the adult primate early visual cortex is sufficiently plastic to cause visual perceptual learning (VPL). The controversy occurs partially because most VPL studies have examined correlations between behavioral and neural activity changes rather than cause-and-effect relationships. With an online-feedback method that uses decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals, we induced activity patterns only in early visual cortex corresponding to an orientation without stimulus presentation or participants’ awareness of what was to be learned. The induced activation caused VPL specific to the orientation. These results suggest that early visual areas are so plastic that mere inductions of activity patterns are sufficient to cause VPL. This technique can induce plasticity in a highly selective manner, potentially leading to powerful training and rehabilitative protocols.”
It reminds me of a thoughtful comment from Samuel Collins:
So….
Walking, shuffling, or however androids, robots, cyborgs, and human machines amble…. forward…. we would be wise to consider all of this.  It may be comforting to know, at least, in some arenas – these ethical issues are being grappled with as we speak.
In fact… it reminds me of the recent publications of the Avian Flu experiments, meant to help us understand the mechanics of the influenza itself. However, in a lab setting, they did the first 10 minutes of a horror movie, and altered the virus such that it is airborne and can spread in a much easier (read that as: dangerous) manner.
The Feds couldn’t do anything but make a recommendation not to publish the findings, and to truncate their publishing, so no bad guys could get wise and make it happen in the real world.
“But biosecurity advisers to the government recommended that the journals Science and Nature publish only the general discoveries, not the full blueprint for these man-made strains. Tuesday, the government announced that it agreed and made the request.”
Is that censorship?  Or is it a *very* proactive, thoughtful, engaged discourse towards resolving a complex and potentially fatal problem.
“This is a sort of watershed moment,” said Alberts, noting it’s believed to be the first time this kind of secrecy has been sought from legitimate public health research.”

 

People are concerned. It used to be a world of just *DO* science without our full awareness of the consequences. It was just a general thirst for knowledge coupled with a panic of discovery driven by a primal human capitalism. I believe this led to be the blood on his hands, of which Oppenheimer spoke about. *Now*, there is an awareness that scientific discovery has very real consequences now and in the immediate future, while we prepare to innovate ourselves towards perpetuity. Like Nellie said in Contact… if we can get through our technological immaturity, and learn without killing ourselves in the meantime, the human race has the capacity to be infinite. What we look like at the end of it, however, is just what these tiny conversations are currently about. The current ethical issues will be forgotten in time, and our future selves won’t understand how much we cared what we become… but the nature of evolution is as murky as how human the human race will be when we get to the finish line. I am hoping distant relatives intone a slight humanity at the end of time, while being evolved enough to withstand the infinite crispness of entropy, moving through a frozen time where energy has ebbed to a blackened figment. No one beats the outcome of this universe, but I still have hope a vestige of the human race will be party to it.

About Uncle Fishbits

I'm.. just this guy, you know?

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