Ray Kurzweil is currently Director of Engineering at Google, so something futuristic is being developed! Pre-curser technologies for overcoming cognitive deficits (brain injury, phobias) are already in progress but what is the next step?
Kurzweil is working towards connecting the Neo Cortex of our brains to the Cloud, firstly by perfecting AI ‘Smart Reply’ at Google. On hearing this, my immediate thought was: ‘So telepathy Will Happen’.
I’ve always thought we will eventually achieve mind to mind communication, envisioning it being used in the Justice System, I just didn’t know how.
Three Disruptive Thoughts
Firstly, if we develop ‘mind to cloud’ connection, linking the higher level of our brains – neo-cortex to the cloud as Kurzweil suggests, then it becomes perfectly possible to progress from mind to cloud, to ‘mind to mind’ connection via the cloud. Bear in mind we are talking about an enhanced version of ourselves here, so mind to mind connection would be different, I suspect instantaneous and experiential in some way. Literally getting into the heads of each other, by choice of course. This could be a kind of Telepathy that would enable ‘disruption’ in the fields of Mental Health, Education and the Justice System. For instance, we might enter the mind of a psychotherapy client to serve them better, enter a student’s mind to enhance their learning, or enter the mind of a criminal to get to the truth.
Many studies are already linking mind with computer, the cloud is next. Currently, MIT researchers are getting robots to do what humans ‘think’ them to do! Times this by ten and we find ourselves being able to see what a person thinks – their internal world is revealed. This could be used to help a person (mental health, education) or with ‘Justice’ ascertain truth.
Secondly, if we can achieve mind to mind connection via the cloud, then there is no reason why we cannot achieve ‘mind to collective’ communication, or ‘collective’ communication. This hints at major changes in how we connect and communicate with each other at large. It is as if we are merging as a whole psyche, or as Jung puts it – collective consciousness. We could have a positive collective effect on each other if we wanted to. We might change as a species.
Perhaps the cloud itself, will become a new form of consciousness that elevates us to a new level of being: encompassing new forms of communication and new ways of experiencing.
Thirdly, all of the above – mind to mind and collective communication, could become wireless. Brain and cloud connection initially, wireless later. By that time, we might have got so used to a higher version of ourselves that we might have integrated it – becoming a natural part of us. It’s as if technology might have trained us, helped us through a transitional stage of human evolution.
For now, I would like to see a process that catch’s a person’s internal mental frame of reference. Perhaps this will be predictive at first, but eventually connecting with another person’s actual real-time experience for positive use. We are getting there.
Quantum consciousness incorporates many wonderful ideas, but past physicists came to a halt in defining what consciousness actually is. Early physicists hadn’t anticipated a brain-cloud interface, but their ideas seemed eerily close, even from my limited scientific perspective.
For instance, if we take Roger Penrose’s idea that ‘momentary awareness’ describes ‘consciousness’ we might create momentary awareness in the hierarchical thought processes of an AI. We might input random time limits on each thought, so that perceptions naturally die off, just as our own thoughts do when they come and go.
If we consider quantum field theory: memory states as particle systems, how do we connect these many fields of particles (AI thoughts) to create ‘order’ in an AI memory system made up of reactions and signals.
Does ‘quantum randomness’ best describe consciousness as sequences of mind states moving from one to another. And will we incorporate randomness so that AI’s are ‘human’ up to a point of control or censor. How will we then consider safety – Elon Musk has already set up a tentative ethics committee.
Quantum Consciousness physicists concluded that the brain was too big to be a quantum device, but hadn’t considered an AI interface.
Creating a Mind (Relational AI)
Merging with technology and making AI’s human-like is thought to be insane and frankly dangerous for many ‘non-disruptive’ thinkers. But as long as we do this wisely, for human benefit and with caution ‘it will be a sensible thing to do at each point’, says Kurzweil in a recent interview with Peter Diamandis.
There is no doubt that Ethics will be re-defined, Musk is explicit about this, but many of us still need to grasp the fact that we are heading towards merging with technology in order to advance ourselves positively. We are a ‘Tech Species’ (Kurzweil/Diamandis interview). We have evolved so much, becoming the species that produced Tech! Awesome! Communication is moving away from a reliance on mere talking. Other senses are coming to the fore: visual and experiential. Talking is too slow – an advanced version of ourselves would be able to assimilate information at a much higher, more immediate and instantaneous rate, words would not keep up. Experiential communication would be more immediate and effective, this is increasing already.
The human brain’s processing ability is thousands of times greater than a computer – we can spot something far quicker than an automaton could. Yet the signal transmissions in our brains are much slower than digital signals. Linking to the cloud would overcome this speed issue. But the brain has a unique hierarchical structure where many layers talk to each other, as opposed to the linear arrangement of a computer that churns through a list of information to get end results.
Kurzweil is working on an AI with a hierarchical system, a logical system not too dissimilar to the mind, moving towards a mimic of the human brain if you like. The lower levels have all the possible options and answers, and a higher level decides which option to choose. The AI operates with a given system of hierarchy, in a way creating a kind of ‘relatability’- a trigger leads to a resulting decision.
Later, we could include epigenetics – switching our genes on or off to avoid abuse related thinking for instance, or reversing unhelpful inherited gene sequences that lead to a pathological mindset. Perhaps we might combine Nano-technology in order to do this at a cellular level. Imagine being able to eradicate certain mental or physical pathologies and switching on dormant positive genes to enhance ourselves.
Nano Robots in our immune system is just the start of finding ways to improve on our own human deficits.
I fall into the ‘disruptive and dangerous’ category in my futuristic and visionary thinking, but prefer to call myself Unrestricted.
As a psychotherapist I am always interested in people attaining a higher version of themselves – truth and justice for all. I have observed that human beings are speeding up in terms of emotional evolution. People are well able to integrate hacks that in the past would not be mentally possible. We are ready to be enhanced, if you like. I can see a move from ‘a person developing largely through self-awareness’ to ‘a person developing largely through experience’.
Kurzweil says that human beings don’t have to be seen as only biological – in a linear fashion.
‘Perhaps we need to evolve in order to save ourselves’.