Some in the Futurist community are focused on technology and ethics. Gerd Leonhard has been particularly vocal on the topic. I’ve dedicated a section of my keynote to what I believe will be a growing dialog. I use this slide to pose a question to the audience:
The example provided above comes from Ray Kurzweil, famous Futurist, Inventor and author. In an appearance at last years Exponential Finance conference, Kurzweil said this:
“Our thinking will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking. We’re going to gradually merge and enhance ourselves. In my view, that’s the nature of being human – we transcend our limitations. We’ll be able to extend (our limitations) and think in the cloud. We’re going to put gateways to the cloud in our brains.”
In a recent article by Singularity University co-Founder Peter Diamandis, he presents Kurzweil’s actual prediction:
“In the 2030s,” said Ray, “we are going to send nano-robots into the brain (via capillaries) that will provide full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system and will connect our neocortex to the cloud. Just like how we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud.”
In using this example, the question I pose to an audience is this: if you could do what Ray Kurzweil describes, would you?
More recently, Elon Musk (someone who fears the possibilities of AI) had this to say:
“The solution that seems maybe the best one is to have an AI layer. So think, if you have your limbic system, your cortex, and then a digital layer — sort of a third layer, above the cortex — that could work well and symbiotically with you. Just as your cortex works symbiotically with your limbic system, this digital layer would work symbiotically with the rest of you.”
Musk is reacting to the need to mitigate the risk of humanity becoming a pet to super-intelligence. He sees this neural layer enhancing our ability to process and communicate information. Although the Internet and devices grant us superhuman powers in real time, the constraint is input and output. Musk says we are IO bound – particularly output bound.
So I turn to my Blog audience to ask the same question as above. I’d appreciate you taking the poll below, as it will add your voice to the conversation. Also, feel free to provide detailed thoughts on the ethics discussion in the comments section.