Psychology Tech

A brain without a body

Artificial intelligence is like a brain without a body. Instead of billions of neurons, computers contain bits and bytes of varying voltage levels so it can do stuff like provide directions or beat humans at chess.

Deep Blue beat Kasparov not by matching his insight and intuition but by overwhelming him with blind calculation. Thanks to years of exponential gains in processing speed, combined with steady improvements in the efficiency of search algorithms, the computer was able to comb through enough possible moves in a short enough time to outduel the champion.

Machines have faster processors. Even the most effective Ritalin in the world would leave a person at a loss. Yet, AI is a factory of nothingness without human programming. It is ‘competent without comprehension,’ although the human mind often falls guilty to automatic pilot.

The future superhuman will no doubt combine the two to make a cyborg.  We’re a brain chip away from the computer-powered brain, scampering closer to a new culture of memes galore.

images via giphy

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

12 replies on “A brain without a body”

Most of us already have a computer-powered brain, and most of us are already super-human. We use the internet, via our mobile devices, to feed information into our brains, to augment what’s already there. We use the same technology to make it possible for us to communicate with other humans across great distances instantly. We have nearly instant access to nearly all of human knowledge. If you ask me, that sounds pretty super-human to me.

The thing with technology is that we adapt to it over time so it’s quite hard to appreciate it for what it is. How many people think of sunglasses or contacts or mobile phones as making them a “cyborg”? Yet that’s exactly what they do! 🙂

Indeed, it’s so good we have to intentionally step away to avoid getting trapped in a ludic loop.

And while there are bad parts to screen culture — distraction and “information viruses” aka fake news — there are too many benefits to interconnectivity and having a second brain.

Is all simulation? Maybe. Getting the devices embedded into our devices will literally change our DNA along with the animals around us. It’ll be fascinating to see how our genes change over the next couple hundred years.

Whatever human manifestation: Hunter gatherer, industrialist, bot, I think I’ll still be blogging in my underwear!

Thanks for the response Raam, big fan of your work!

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