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The Impact of Computational Cybernetics on Human Conscious

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posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 04:15 PM
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I have long been interested in the field of cybernetics - specifically, the coming interfaces between the human mind and digital devices.

Current digital devices are quite... minimal. Further, the very nature of neurology makes a number of popular concepts quite impractical ("download-based learning" for example). Each of our brains has developed along a very unique path to arrive at the point it is, now. While we all have similar structures and topographies - each person's brain functions in a very unique way that will make interfacing with digital devices/implants more of a training procedure than anything else.

Your brain has to learn to understand what the device is trying to tell it, and vice-versa. It is not unlike how children must first learn to use their arms and figure out what it is the various nerves are telling them (such as what position their arm is in). This is why babies will often flail about in random directions - it's a raw trial-and-error process where the brain slowly begins to work out how to make the limbs move in a desired manner (it's not quite as simple as this, as the motor-neurons also have a sort of memory and "compression format" - but that's beyond the scope and point of this).

The first cybernetic devices will be artificial limbs and sensory organs (such as eyes and ears). These are rather basic, in terms of cybernetics. Some of the following revisions will come after less invasive methods of interfacing with the brain (the previous classes of devices involve medical issues where surgery was already part of the ordeal - where it's far easier to justify installing an RCA jack in your skull to allow you to use your legs again). These will consist of direct computer interfaces - thought-to-text, rendering of one's spatial awareness (certainly useful in CAD careers), audio, etc. Out of these will come interfaces to your mobile devices (perhaps where the strongest public growth will come from).

For example - let's say you want to check the weather. Why fiddle around with your phone in the bright sunlight when you can simply issue the assignment to check the weather to your phone, and 'feel' the answer when it gets it. This will revolutionize calculators, to be certain.

It is interesting to speculate on exactly how you would get your answer. This may depend upon each individual and how they learn to interface with the device. Obviously, during the training process, one would have to have some other means of communicating with the device (a small display combined with the neurons it is stimulating would help to establish a correlation between that pattern and that answer - which could come as a display, audio, etc).

Beyond this, the technology will be largely restricted by the training process and methods. Younger children, obviously, would likely adapt far more quickly to cybernetic interfaces and would likely progress farther with them through their life than someone introduced to them in the teenage years. This is due both to the neurology being more adaptive in children, but also due to the limitations of a training to use the interface, which will end up having to build a more complex relationship with the brain.

However, it is conceivable that we begin to reach a point where digital devices and programs begin executing our very thoughts. I design, say, a program to crunch the numbers and give me the most time-efficient route through the store to get what I need. That program reflects my personality - my goals and objectives... if only just. Eventually, however, we will begin designing more complex relationships with our digital devices such that 'where' a thought originates and where it is executed becomes very difficult to determine. Did the thought come from the biological brain? Or is it a returned value from an algorithm that was running on my behalf? ... Does it really make a difference?

And... here is where I take this a slightly different route.

"Cloud" computing and networking has become quite popular. It is more, however, than internet storage and backup - the entire system is running via the network (ominously similar to the concept of SkyNet). Even in the very early phases, when we are merely interfacing with, say, our desktop computers... the operations and files of that desktop become accessible to you from virtually anywhere within range (and, possibly, where you have access to the internet). Files you've accrued, bots you may have running on your behalf, and programs that you would otherwise have no interest in running (because you are not at your computer all the time - or you current UIs limit the amount of useful information and commands that can be issued at any given time) all will persist whether you are asleep, comatose, or deceased.

Combined with the former concept of the inability to determine where thoughts and priorities originated (in the organic brain or in the digital counterpart) ... this has made me re-think the idea of "downloading our minds onto machines." Our consciousness - or, more specifically, elements of our consciousness - could well persist beyond our death within the "cloud" that comprises our networked cybernetic digital process companions.

Now - there may be a few questions, such as "why would I create programs?"

This will be an adaptive response to the interface. At the very basic level, you would learn to use a routine to interface with a device. For example - you have a simple calculator and want to add up numbers on a page - your brain is going to develop a behavioral pattern for accomplishing this with respect to the cybernetic calculator - whether it is capable of sequential adding or not. As cybernetics become more advanced and the programs supporting them do, as well, people will begin inherently programming their digital devices to handle a greater range of tasks with less conscious effort.

These are merely a few of my own thoughts based upon what I do know about the field. I am also very deeply rooted in digital electronics and computer programming with some grazing knowledge of Neurology (though with nothing approaching the formal education I have in electronics and programming).

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?




posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 01:33 AM
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A few things to remember, take them for what you will.

Any interface wetware, hardware or otherwise can be breached and used as an access point even if it is not meant to be. You are basically vulnerable to hacking, and I don't mean mind control. Strong enough electrical impulses, EMP, and other issues arise that could kill, incapacitate, alter brain waves or even wipe memory and motor function capability.

Also, the whole idea that we can expand our minds is ludicrous. When do we cross the line from augmentation to substitution or elimination? I have heard the straw man that we only use 10% of our brain capacity, and that we can evolve or adapt to gain the ability to use 100%. That is simply a misconception. The human brain operates at about 10% capacity at any given time, though it has long been known that the majority of the brain is assigned to a task or mission, and if that task or mission is not actively being required the part of the brain doesn't lay dormant, but it certainly isn't full of some mystical untapped power. It's the parts of the brain for survival, higher thinking, putting the latrine lid down and so on, things rarely needed in today's society.

Our species is defined by our lineage, our DNA, and other characteristics that would either force us to redefine species and thus redefine alien, and human. If we augment, replace, inhibit or enhance things about ourselves artificially, is it nature, evolution or something of a transcendence?

Of course, the real question is that if we were capable of becoming gods, or immortals through machines and technology, do we even deserve it? What would religion become if we declare ourselves God? What might our planetary and galactic mission statement to all other civilizations look like? Assimilate?

At what point is the machine serving you, and you the machine? If you augment yourself with glasses, is that to live a better life or to do your job feeding the machine more efficiently? What are we as a race if the gears and cogs stop turning? It depends on how you choose to define things, I suppose.

I believe that with all our cars, technology, science and other explanations and adaptations of things, we aren't much better off than our ancestors. That's where I get to a catch 22 of sorts. Either we are silly for living such seemingly lavish, though in reality wasteful, lives or we are being told to think this way so that we opt to eliminate ourselves with self indignation.

The ancients built structures from stone that still stand the test of time today, and we build things that are inherently designed to break and call it advancement. We make the center of our culture a consumer driven wet dream, and expect that designed obsolescence isn't a symptom of the disease but rather a desirable quality of life.

We work to aquire stuff, so that our lives are easier. In the end, our lives are rushed, and we serve to create and tend to our technological masters from the television to electricity. We keep the veins of energy flowing across the heart of the planet, and pump the veins full of feul to keep the spark burning but we never ask ourselves what the real costs are.

Praise your robot gods, just don't feel too let down when the promises of immortality are always just a few decades away.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 08:51 AM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 

I've got three thoughts on cybernetucs:

1. Given military budgets can be generous, I think something like this will be one of the early applications of cybernetics:

Real-Life Iron Man: A Robotic Suit That Magnifies Human Strength

In fact I've seen a video of DARPA testing something long these lines. It looked a little clunky and was a prototype that wasn't very refined yet, and certainly not ready to go into battle, but it looked far enough along that a decade from now there could be a battlefield ready version.

If I was an enemy soldier, I'd hate to go up against a real life version of "Iron Man", it doesn't seem like a fair fight.

I don't think an Iron Man suit is that far off. This one is already here:

Full Body Armor Exoskeleton Suit Now Reality

It doesn't have a real cybernetic interface yet though.

2. Further in the future, we can speculate about how far the integration will go. As sbctinfantry suggests, it could get scary. Since science fiction sometimes becomes science fact it's interesting to ponder the Star Trek TNG episode titled: 11001001. It's about a race of creatures that becomes so intertwined with the computers they interface with, that they can't survive without the computers.

Actually, we're pretty dependent on computers already. So it's not too hard to imagine that becoming even more dependent on them with cybernetic links could end badly.

3. And my third kind of random thought on cybernetics, is how cool it would be if we could develop complete video game immersion, like we see on TV, but doesn't really exist yet. Some pieces of it exist in rudimentary form, but the link and the immersion of fantasy just aren't here in reality, though I wonder if that will happen in the future?

This is pretty close to what I'm thinking of, but maybe with a less clunky interface:

Virtusphere - Full Body Immersion Virtual Reality


This could have good applications not just for gaming, but also for training soldiers, etc.
edit on 13-10-2011 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 09:11 AM
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reply to post by sbctinfantry
 



Any interface wetware, hardware or otherwise can be breached and used as an access point even if it is not meant to be. You are basically vulnerable to hacking, and I don't mean mind control. Strong enough electrical impulses, EMP, and other issues arise that could kill, incapacitate, alter brain waves or even wipe memory and motor function capability.


This is a little bit of a "yes and no" situation. The digital component will always be subject to spyware, malware, and other malicious coding. This, however, will only be able to affect the function of your linked systems. Rather than the interface being a screen, keyboard, mouse, etc - it is all done more directly with your brain in an action akin to moving your arm or looking in a different direction.

All of the typical hazards of malicious code exist - but the impact on you would be a bit more annoying as it would be less like a device that was not working properly, but a part of your body being on the fritz.

This does, however, get a little more hazy when we get into more advanced interfaces and components.


Also, the whole idea that we can expand our minds is ludicrous.


I think you misunderstood.

As interface technologies improve and our digital electronics become even more advanced, our personality will begin to be expressed within our digital components by the programs they are instructed to run - much like your computer already expresses elements of your personality such as your priorities and your interests (it simply lacks the power and interface to really express forms of autonomy and garner the nuances of your personality).

For example - I love getting into a debate that forces me to go dig up -real- sources (publicly released research reports released as massive 600 page pdf files). I enjoy running across terms I don't understand or new concepts to visualize. With a more advanced computer interface, I would accrue a series of instructions and eventually compiled them all into a program with the goal of digging through hundreds of internet search results at a time, determining their relevance (from context cues and its own data about my discussion history), analyzing their content, and pulling up relevant facts and figures from dozens of reports in a few seconds - a task that would have taken me hours.

Over the years, this would become more refined and added to other programs designed to, once again, express my personality. These all get built to work together and exchange information, and my brain is in a constant bi-directional communication with digital components. Simulations are running on one device and being monitored by myself (and programs on other devices programmed to alert in the event of bad things), another is busy crunching through research on Neutrinos, one is running a sort of chat-bot on forums to ask for field-experienced individuals to give feedback, etc.

Where is my conscious thought? It's all over that system. It's not limited to simply in my brain - there are countless actions going on that are all direct extensions of my mind's will and character. Presuming they are capable of continuing on, even when I am asleep - what would prevent them from continuing well after I am dead?

Now - depending upon how far this process goes, you are looking from "a mere shadow" being left behind to a "spitting image." For some, it would be a digital zombie stuck in its last set of commands... for others, it would be capable of carrying on as a representation of that individual's personality and character.

This sounds kind of haunting, at first... like the adult offspring of some technical genius stumbling upon an old bank of computers and greeting some semblance of their just-passed father.

But, remember - children will be brought up into this world interfacing with the parents (and many others who will eventually be lost to the forces of mortality) through these devices and concepts, as well. The digital component being left behind will not necessarily be all that haunting. Further - I believe it could lead to a sort of 'ancestral memory' or even ancestrally led culture. These entities would persist for hundreds of years, provided their operating infrastructure was maintained (and a few other program-specific concepts related to just how autonomous these entities are).

This was not, in any way, meant to be a suggestion on how we may attain immortality. This was more of a prediction on my part - something we are not really accounting for in our concepts of a future with cybernetic enhancements.... that our cybernetic enhancements will continue to compute long after our organic bodies - and may have inherited quite a bit of our personality in their relationship with us.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 09:18 AM
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I think the first Cybernetic device would be this
Emotiv
and as far as i know, it doesnt require any invasive surgery of any sort.
This headset is pretty much all we'll need to interact with digital devices.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 11:08 AM
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The Nazi's were working on it and Project Paperclip brought their scientist to America to work on it.

They did the research on monkeys writing the software to interface the brain with computers.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxIgdOlT2cY


Look at the latex glove on that mans hand. What year were latex gloves that high quality?

That video is from the 80's or older.

The German Scientists from Project Paperclip have been returned to Germany. Here they are working on the newer stuff:

hirnforschung.kyb.mpg.de...


It would blow your mind if you knew their capabilities today. The brain to computer interface was mastered decades ago.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 12:39 PM
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It is you whom has misunderstood. I am telling you that you can run a billion thoughts through your head but it is common knowledge among those educated that your brain would not be able to process it all. Your experience would wreak havoc on the body's functions, hormone levels and organization. I want to say it would feel like a vision, dream, seizure all at the same time, but maybe it would be more like taking ourselves outside of time and space, an astral projection might explain it.

In order to activate the whole brain, there would be no cause/effect and thus, causality would cease to exist, along with some serious psychadellic implications. To use 100% of the brain would be very detrimental and actually decrease our ability to organize, be conscious, scrutinize and even observe our world. I guess we're starting to see in the fourth dimension at that point, where time is just a force like any other, and the constraints of our world are in the eye of the beholder and thus can cease to be at any time. It does pose some serious questions, but I'm digressing into things you probably don't care to hear about.

Although, keep in mind I don't proclaim that we could see in any extra dimension. I just believe that would also be the best way to describe seeing such an abundance of dimensia (or dementia).



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 01:33 PM
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reply to post by sbctinfantry
 



It is you whom has misunderstood. I am telling you that you can run a billion thoughts through your head but it is common knowledge among those educated that your brain would not be able to process it all. Your experience would wreak havoc on the body's functions, hormone levels and organization. I want to say it would feel like a vision, dream, seizure all at the same time, but maybe it would be more like taking ourselves outside of time and space, an astral projection might explain it.


...

This is not really the case, much at all. Your brain cannot handle, in a lifetime, the math a computer will handle in a minute - yet you are still perfectly able to interact and interface with a computer.

What I am talking about is cybernetics, essentially, allowing computers and the brain to interface in such a way as to allow the consciousness of an individual to 'leak' through the interface and into the digital components interfacing with the brain. The brain, fundamentally, is limited, yes. However, what I am talking about is the consciousness overcoming these limitations by expression within the faster world of digital computers and programs. This post, for example, would not be difficult for a computer program to compile, particularly if there is another program that emulates my 'personality' - selecting humorous quips to insert and the like. The brain doesn't really even need to be aware it happened - yet the conscious whole will still know that it did.


In order to activate the whole brain, there would be no cause/effect and thus, causality would cease to exist, along with some serious psychadellic implications. To use 100% of the brain would be very detrimental and actually decrease our ability to organize, be conscious, scrutinize and even observe our world. I guess we're starting to see in the fourth dimension at that point, where time is just a force like any other, and the constraints of our world are in the eye of the beholder and thus can cease to be at any time. It does pose some serious questions, but I'm digressing into things you probably don't care to hear about.


... I don't really see why there's a need to "activate 100% of the brain" - The reason for cybernetics is to enhance the function of the brain by offloading operations to much more efficient processing architectures. At some point, it makes sense that the architectures would begin to emulate the consciousness that originally developed in the brain (and has now expanded to include both the organic component and the electrical/mechanical/digital/whatever).



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 08:26 PM
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What do you think would happen if you had a cybernetic interface and you could record all of your thoughts, on a single notepad, simultaneously and instantly. Think anyone would understand it?

How about a computer?

Exactly.



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