Fascinating material. Putting on my mind-as-software hat, this screams to me of abstractions and meta-systems. A pattern can be learned, let's say, and a higher-level governor can then apply it elsewhere, running on different but analogous hardware.
I have for a while now nurtured the presumption to a hypothesis of higher-level intelligence as arising from a capacity for metaphor. Cat is to mouse as python is to missionary, so to speak. By picking up relationships and patterns independent of their objects and applying them to unrelated objects, my hypothesis goes, we can come up with novel ideas very efficiently.
What could support this better at the neural level than some capacity to pick up a pattern of firing and run it elsewhere, on different groups of neurons?
There is something about the concept of uploading a human mind that provokes a kind of denial. Even very irreligious commentators sometimes react to the idea with what I see as a manifestation of Cartesian dualism. The following is my effort to put the case that this reaction is misguided.
To begin with, I need to get a couple of terms nailed down. The first is dualism, used above. Here is the philosophical definition given by the Oxford English Dictionary: “A theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles, especially mind…
Collapses tend to be, ahem, interesting times through which to live. For that reason I'd be grateful if the next one could be deferred until I am safely dead. (I'm currently 55.) Having said that, an awful lot of signs and studies all point to some sort of climacteric. People tend to have no intuitive grasp of just how fast exponential growth goes in its last stages before exhaustion of a resource, and it seems to me that a lot of resources, including atmospheric sink capacity, are in their last stages before exhaustion.
But we're an inventive species. If we understand how close we are to collapse, perhaps we can make it a managed decline.
Firstly, of course we know about how a neuron fires based on its incoming connections. We don't know EVERYTHING yet, but by the same token there is no reason to believe that everything is necessary to make up a person. Dump drugs into the body and the firing thresholds change, but I've never seen anyone claim, except for legal purposes, that you are not YOU when stoned. Clearly the firing threshold can be altered without killing the person temporarily. Moreover, the author even admits that some connections can fail 90% of the time. …
Maybe it’s the evil smell emanating from the keyword “let”. This is the disgusting spoor of the organisation that gave us Visual Basic, keeping alive for decades after its natural life one of the worst “educational” languages. Its presence doesn’t fill me with enthusiasm about the new language.
The thing is, though, there are already…
Indeed, yes. I would only add that taxes on capital and inheritance ought to be part of the mix. The returns of capital are growing faster than those on work, pace Piketty, and by far the most effective strategy for becoming wealthy is to be born into wealth. These forces need rebalancing.
I find it interesting that such alert minds can be so unimaginative. Turkle has grown up in a world without general artificial intelligence and with only human minds to provide empathy, and seemingly cannot imagine how it will be for a generation growing up after the arrival of GAI.
Future AIs may, very well, be embodied. They may be very well able to imagine or experience ailments of the body. Hells, for all we know they may be able to scan our own brains and lift the subjective experience of being us on a hospital bed and experience our own…
Good article, but do not overestimate the "reach" of US development aid. On per capita development assistance the USA comes in at #16 in the world. On the gross figure, the better measurement of influence by nation, Germany, the UK and France combined provide 50% more aid than the USA. Of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee's aggregate contributions, the USA provides 20%, and European nations an aggregate of 63%.
Interesting and slightly chilling prospects. It has to be said that globalisation has had mixed benefits, and the political left have been aware of this at least since "No Logo". On the other hand, global trade has enabled many countries to lift much of their population out of poverty - while confining other parts to slave-labour production facilities.
It seems to me that there are inherent forces that will defeat any attempt to disintegrate on national lines. Firstly, there is the inherent freedom of information. China has allegedly managed to erect a Great Firewall, but I wonder how long it…
If you have not seen the Brexiteers saying "we should go back to being an Empire" then you have not been paying attention. Equally so if you have not taken note of the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents.
I'm sure there were people in the 1930s who could use "Rothschild Bankers" without understanding the stereotype to which they were appealing, just as their heirs today use the Straw Man of "globalism" to the same effect. Confused substitutions with "nation" for "global" do not help to clarify matters, as the demand for national supremacy does not map to the demand for…