Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Humans will be Hybrids

Ray Kurzweil, Director of engineering at Google, spoke those words in 2015.  I heard them quoted by T Bone Burnett in a CBC interview yesterday.  He is a legendary American record producer, musician  and songwriter.  He says he had a recurring dream in his youth

"When I was a kid I had a recurring nightmare from the time I was five until I was fifteen that these stormtroopers dressed all in black, looking kind of like Darth Vader really, came into our church and would start cutting each person's right hand off and replacing it with a new hand that would be their memory and their guide and their communication system, and it was this amazing new thing. But it was a nightmare - I would wake up from it every night in a cold sweat, that they're doing this. Then the other day, I picked up my iPhone and I realised, oh, they didn't have to cut off our hands. They just put it in our hands, you know? This is what they're doing – we're living in a surveillance state. This beautiful communication system that we developed, that was supposed to destroy all of these old, archaic structures, and a lot of them needed to be destroyed to be sure. It's funny because my empathies are so with the anarchists on one hand, but on the other hand, there is this deep history and it's the only way we remember who we are."  This quote is from a quietus interview HERE

Back to Kurzweil: what he predicted is that humans will be hybrids in the 2030s - our brains will be able to connect directly to the cloud, where computers will augment our existing intelligence. It will happen via nanobots - tiny robots made from DNA strands.  

The Globe and Mail story yesterday has a story about brain augmentation:  "For the past four years, Morgan Barense and her research team have been developing a virtual hippocampus, using digital technology to mimic a brain structure that is critical for consolidating memories. Their result is a phone-based app, called the Hippocamera, designed to allow Alzheimer’s patients to compensate for damage to this area of the brain.
A core function of the hippocampus is something called “hippocampal replay,” she explains. That is, the hippocampus acts like a movie projector, replaying memories over and over in high speed. Over time, with repeated broadcasts, the cortex, or the large outer portion of the brain, learns these memories, she says.
The Hippocamera, then, is like an external movie projector, designed with only two modes: record and replay. It allows users to record short video clips of daily events they wish to remember, prompting them to first give a brief verbal description. In the replay mode, the videos are shown in high-speed with audio of the user’s verbal description played over top."  There we are - a step in the journey to human hybridization.  

In just over a month from now early spring flowers will be blooming. Victoria being well ahead of us starts its Victoria's Flower Count tomorrow.  


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