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Brain/Computer Gateways, Cybernetics, and Artificial Intelligence

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posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:24 PM
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Not long ago the thought of human beings controlling computers and robots with the power of thought made possible by brain implants like BrainGate was the stuff of science fiction stories like The Matrix or Ghost in the Shell.

These realities are becoming far more real as time and research progresses in the field of cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence. Researchers are busy creating an array of technologies that acquiesce to the naturalism of human movement and control. With technologies like the above mentioned BrainGate and research into an artificial cerebellum the concept of replacing body parts with robotic counterparts is ever closer to being widespread reality. The vet that lost an arm in a far off conflict can regain the use of that arm with a combination of state of the art robotics, software, and brain implants to substantiate control of these limbs with little difference in movement. We have come a long way folks. And we are going further.
edit on 7-7-2012 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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The past several years have seen my interest in electronics merging with neurology and ultimately biology/genetics. I can stand toe to toe with Masters' degree holders in each subject (broadly speaking), and am highly intrigued by the implication of the developments across all manners (recent research has indicated a number of biological functions utilize quantum superpositions and other phenomena of quantum mechanics - something formerly thought impossible due to thermal interference).

I'll pull out my crystal ball and do a little fortune telling.

The merger of our organic physiology with technology is inevitable. Just as levers enable us to bring hydraulics to bare on tasks, transistors (or some technological equivalent thereof) will bring digital computational power to bare on the next frontiers.

This will also address a critical lack in current interface systems - which rely almost entirely upon the individual to catalog information and manage its referencing to other material. The bulk of information out there can never be realistically analyzed by any one individual which invariably leads to inefficient scenarios and even data alienation (where relevant data from another segment of research is never taken into account because of the vast amount of more local data).

Cybernetic interfaces are a natural evolution of our desire to conveniently influence our environment. The mouse and GUI succeeded the command prompt (for most user actions), the keyboard succeeded the punch card... people seek ever more intuitive and convenient ways to control the resources at their disposal. Cybernetics, so long as the implementation can match the expectations of the concept, offer the most convenient and intuitive interface with computational resources currently obvious.

I do not expect cybernetics to be much more than an interface system/standard - think of it more like a Blue Tooth adapter for your mind as opposed to a computer in your head. While some computational activities will be possible internally - most will be involved in correlating the data received from neural activity and initiating responses. A wireless data link could put your interface in direct connection with far more powerful computational resources (such as your cellular phone - most certainly a beast of a computer by time cybernetics mature).

This is where things get really interesting. "Cloud" computing is somewhat enigmatic - but it will begin to play an increasingly important role in technology. Remote Desktop programs are becoming increasingly popular (and are a very narrow concept of "cloud" computing) - and the concept extends to this, as well. Utilizing mobile networks (likely through your computer) - software would be installed on your more fixed computer resources in your home to search for relevant information/interests on the internet, correlate it, and present it to you for consideration.

As things typically go - people will customize these programs (and they will likely be designed to be highly customizable). These programs are SIRI/IRIS on steroids - not only servicing requests, but predicting your requests and taking interests and personality into account. Invariably - you will become imprinted upon these programs. Your work - hobbies - purchases - possibly even some of your memories (depending upon how advanced cybernetics become) all exist outside of your direct conscious being - assisted by a virtual representation of yourself.

This has exceptionally interesting implications, culturally. These programs will exist well beyond our death. I postulate this will lead to a sort of ancestral memory as 'constructs' or 'virtual shadows' of our past individuals persist hundreds - even thousands of years after the death of their 'real' person.

Depending upon how advanced computer hardware becomes, and how capable their code becomes - these could eventually be recognized as actual emergent AI imprints of the individuals they were developed from.

I doubt we will ever be able to "Cold create" an AI outside of human form. Too much of our identity is tied to our physiology for a 'box entity' to be able to relate. I believe AI (as humans would identify) is only possible as derived from human form (else it would not be human and difficult/impossible to relate with as sentient). Though one could argue that the programming of a computer would be the seed of human form and therefor invalidate the principle.

Throw genetic engineering into the mix... and the future looks to be quite an interesting world of paradigm shifts.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 


I am convinced that if AI is to ever be sentient that the program itself has to be at such a state so as to invite sentience, not "create" it. While technology, including our own physiology, is all physical, thought is not. Thoughts are certainly things, but of a different substance than the stuff that makes up physicality. Sentience, more than likely, exists outside of the physical realm. This may seem to sound like spirituality, and I suppose it is, but thoughts cannot be reasonably measured, and because of this then perhaps thoughts are spiritual.

Cool thread project! S&F.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 05:36 PM
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posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


I've postulated that AI would be born form a "zero state", much like an infant's brain is. The underlying hardware would be present, but blank, and individual concepts such as "shape" and "color" would have to be learned, not programmed. We are taught as children the "names" of things, and even what "language" to speak, but that is based firmly upon a geographic location.

I'd like to state that intelligence is based upon "identity", and is a self-referencing loop, whether biological or artificial.

I'll agree that technology is taking us into uncharted waters. The other day I heard that new washing machines come with a bluetooth interface, and will send you a text message when your clothes are done. Convenience? Do we really need our washers and dryers connected to the internet?



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 11:37 AM
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reply to post by Druid42
 



much like an infant's brain is.


This is, however, not supported by computer simulations.

For example - computational research into language fails to produce computers capable of 'understanding' language without being programmed with basic axioms. Some kind of scaffold has to be provided for the computer to start from.

From a more general standpoint, if infants were genuinely born with "blank" minds, then we would have far more variance in culture than we currently do. We currently share a social structure most similar to a number of birds - many species often choosing mated pairs living in larger collectives (with females and males occasionally practicing infidelity; a good parental mate can be fooled into raising the offspring of a physically more preferable mate). Of course - under favorable situations, centralized cultural/political influence leads to the development of male oligarchies dominating access to a harem.

Don't underestimate the importance of genetic-borne instincts.


and individual concepts such as "shape" and "color" would have to be learned, not programmed.


Neuropsychological research has provided results that disagree with this notion.

The eyes are largely autonomous organs. Optical illusions illustrate this concept - between the retina and the visual center of the brain, a form of image processing occurs during transmission (some of the most basic being edge-detection and object recognition). We are also programmed to respond to various ratios - an electric plug, for example, triggers facial recognition centers of the brain (which rapidly determine it's not a face - but the reaction is autonomous and triggered by the structural ratio of the observed object).

There are things that are hard-wired. There is a huge range of neural plasticity - but there are commonalities that are absolutely essential for the brain to begin to make sense of the flood that would, otherwise, be noise.


I'll agree that technology is taking us into uncharted waters. The other day I heard that new washing machines come with a bluetooth interface, and will send you a text message when your clothes are done. Convenience? Do we really need our washers and dryers connected to the internet?


Honestly seems a tad gimmicky to me. Unless you wanted to provide some "developer tools" that allow you to create custom wash and rinse cycles (or to make your washer run an extra rinse cycle remotely for whatever reason).



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 12:31 PM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 





fails to produce computers capable of 'understanding' language without being programmed with basic axioms.


There has been vast improvements in "natural language" comprehension by computers, but it does require a huge database by which the program derives answers from. The problem is being addressed by increasing the size of databases, not creating a basic library from which to build upon. We don't have instant access to Terabytes of data, we have to learn one word at a time, and allow our biological minds to develop it's own database.



if infants were genuinely born with "blank" minds, then we would have far more variance in culture than we currently do.


The reason for certain lacks of cultural disparity is because those infants are raised in a particular culture, and taught within the confines of said culture. I'm not seeing the relation between infants with "blank" minds and culture variances. You are what you are taught by your parents and/or peers.



There are things that are hard-wired. There is a huge range of neural plasticity


All sensory feed-back is hardwired into the human brain, it's the result of millions of years of evolution, and based upon Darwin's "survival of the fittest". We have binocular vision because it gave us an evolutionary edge while descending from the tree tops and venturing into the grasslands. Our hearing developed as a survival mechanism to avoid the noises that predators made. Speech became a prerequisite for moving from a hunter-gatherer species to one which began to farm and build settlements. Language, in any form, is the precursor to advanced intelligence, but not solely. There must be interaction with the environment in order for an individual, whether real or digital, to develop intelligence. True intelligence adapts to it's environment.



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 



We don't have instant access to Terabytes of data, we have to learn one word at a time, and allow our biological minds to develop it's own database.


This is only part of the picture.

Computers investigating language structure and development are incapable of learning a language without first setting up ground rules to understanding a language. IE - a computer cannot (nor will it ever be able to) look at, say, a text book and be capable of drawing information from it without first being programmed with basic concepts of language (such as the concept of a noun, verb, adjective, etc).

Even though language is a highly ordered and structured process - computers will never be able to draw meaning from that order (even if it is identifiable) without being first programmed with a basic understanding of what language is.

Natural Language Processing is simply dependent upon the instincts of language. Our instincts drive us to create language - and do so in such a way that common structures and concepts appear in all language structures. You consistently refer to an object as a certain string of sounds. You use permutations of these sounds to apply different contexts or meanings (or add other sounds in a consistent manner to further describe the subject).

Throw some hay over the fence to the horse.

Throw the horse over the fence some hay.

We can inherently understand both sentences and derive their meaning. Because we have basic concepts of how language should exist bound to our minds by genetics. Without these axioms, computers would be helpless to interpret languages.

For another example - you don't have to be taught what the phrase: "Bend over backwards" means in order to understand it. You know what bending over backwards is - an uncomfortable task that makes you vulnerable. With only the definition of the words and the knowledge of their order - you derive a meaning.


The reason for certain lacks of cultural disparity is because those infants are raised in a particular culture, and taught within the confines of said culture. I'm not seeing the relation between infants with "blank" minds and culture variances. You are what you are taught by your parents and/or peers.


To overlook environmental and nurture effects is a mistake.

However, no one taught me to get an erection when presented with an attractive female. Yet the state can be brought about voluntarily or involuntarily (this is also true in females - even more so, blood flow to the vagina will increase involuntarily in a number of situations that are not at all desirable to the female - but blood plasma will seep across the membranes to become lubricant for an encounter, anyway).

No one taught me to give a death glare to a guy looking at a female I'm accompanying. If anything - I was taught to be wary of such impulses - but I cannot deny that there is the immediate instinct present. If a guy pursues said female - the instinct is literally homicidal.

From the standpoint of natural selection - this makes a lot of sense. Fewer of my partner's kids would be mine if I had no problem with other guys hanging around. Similarly, my partner's resources and security would be jeopardized by my keeping of a mistress. Her offspring are threatened by the presence of another female.

These instincts are hard-wired into our being and form a cornerstone of our society. Sex is a universal topic across all cultures. There are variables, to be certain - but it's a universal concept and the emotions involved are essentially identical across all cultures. Women from the Philippines find those with lighter skin attractive - it implies wealth and status (something women care about in societies - and other species - where women typically leave the family group to follow their mate). Skin whitening cream is as popular there as tanning lotion in other parts of the world.

Men in many other parts of the world will go to salons to get manicures and facial treatments - because a man who can afford to take care of himself can afford to take care of a woman and a family (or - more importantly - a man who can't afford to or does not have the desire to take care of himself certainly cannot do so with a woman or family).

While the particulars of the culture may differ - the concept is fundamentally the same: the opposite sex advertises to the other to be desirable. It's not cultural that they do this - it is genetic. What form it takes is certainly influenced by culture - but genetics make it an issue of culture to begin with.



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 02:33 PM
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The memristor is a huge key to actually simulating the human brain and now most major chip companies are doing research in that field. Here's an article about Intel researchers playing with the thought of an artificial brain chip.

www.technologyreview.com...

Can you imagine a chip 1cm3 in size having the same amount of neurons/synapses as a human brain but operating 1000x faster than its clone? Can you imagine 1000's of these chips operating in tandem tirelessly 24/7? What truths will we discover having artificial geniuses at our disposal? What role will humans have in such an infinite brain power scenario? Will the machine become self aware?



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by broli
 


A better question is:

Will the already self aware(us) be made profoundly more aware by augmentation using these machines?



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


It's hard to say, perhaps to paraphrase your question "Will a million Teslas, Beethovens, Einsteins, Lincoln.. make us smarter"?

Perhaps they'll be able to solve problems beyond our comprehension. Do scientific research beyond our grasp. Discover things 100 years ahead of us. Genetically alter humans, exceptionally advance technological research in any area.

With all the research and knowledge they acquired, such smart machines should be able to evolve themselves after a while. At such point could we even comprehend the intelligence of such machine? Or would we be the equivalent of bacteria in a petri dish?

In my opinion the above is the usual Hollywood scenario of AI machines turning against their creators. However I personally believe a symbiotic relationship to be more true. The machines will become us and we will become the machines.



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 03:10 PM
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reply to post by broli
 


Well in that case we agree.

Indeed AI will be requisite for thr augmentation of human abilities. Especially when it comes to cybernetics.



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 03:41 PM
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As with any technology, it needs to be used with great care. The potential for good and bad are great. Can you imagine an I robot (Movie) scenario where all of the robots are linked and controlled except in this scenario humans are the robots? Governments implement "Social Programs" (which are really computer programs) to control the population. What about hackers? Someone with a laptop or smartphone hacks into a wifi chip imbedded into someones brain. Imagine someone being controlled to walk out into traffic? Open a door on a plane at 30,000ft , All because someone didn't like that person or worse....dare I say it?......terrorism.


24/7, Everything you see, Every move, breath, sound, thought and memory recorded, logged and saved in someone else's database.


www.youtube.com...

Don't forget, that the technology that is becoming available now was already being used years ago according to some sources. Now one of Einsteins famous quotes about WW IV and sticks and stones..........becomes clearer.






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