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The next stage in human evolution - part XNUMX human machine interface

Will the technological developments in various fields leading to our ability to empower ourselves bring us to the singular point, and what are the ethical implications of human empowerment

human machine interface. Illustration: shutterstock
human machine interface. Illustration: shutterstock

In the first chapter We have seen that, although human empowerment is not a new thing, there is quite a chance that we are within 5 to 30 years (yes, this is quite a range in terms of the life of a single person) of a significant leap in these technologies, a leap that can fundamentally change the creature called "man" and the world where he lives Three areas of research and development that have an impact on human empowerment can be defined today. In the previous chapter we discussed the consequences of developments in the field of biochemistry and genetic engineering. In this chapter we will deal with the human-machine interface.

The dimension where there is a chance for a significant leap forward in not long periods of time is the human-machine connection. This connection already exists to a large extent through smartphones that allow a person very fast access to knowledge and action options. The vision for the human-machine connection begins with moving the connection with the smart phones from the outside - inside: creating an internal implant that will allow us immediate access to information and applications that we can activate within our consciousness. But this is only the beginning of the vision. The famous futurist and director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil, chest that in 2045 a point will occur which he calls the singularity and our consciousness will be able to merge with computers that will already operate on the basis of advanced artificial intelligence. This point is much more than "just" an implant that will allow us to search Wikipedia without any device, it deals with the connection between human consciousness and infinite intelligence and even touches on the possibility of eternal existence and the elevation of consciousness to cyberspace. It could be that the second season of the series Westworld depicts a possibility of existence similar to what Kurzweil predicts.

The entrepreneur and founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, founded neuralink two years ago, a company whose stated goal is to develop implanted chips that will allow a person to connect to a computer. It is not yet clear what exactly is the scientific model behind neuralink and if it will be able to solve many problems related to this connection. Elon Musk has announced several times, unlike Ray Kurzweil, that he is Watchman That artificial intelligence will be a significant threat to man and the ability to upgrade man's abilities and perhaps even create the possibility of fast and immediate communication at the level of thought and ideas between humans is critical to the survival of the human race, already in the next 20 to 30 years.

The human-computer connection is not something futuristic. Systems capable of deciphering thoughts and "talking" at a very basic level the thoughts of people suffering from paralysis or disabilities that limit their ability to communicate already exist, as well as systems that allow people to control artificial limbs. We may not be far from being able to turn on the TV with the power of thought and control electrical devices. Most of these systems are based on the progress in brain imaging capabilities and making brain imaging devices more accurate, smaller, cheaper and more portable, and the progress that these devices enable in identifying brain activity patterns. In order for a person to control the device or express his thoughts, a "training" process takes place in which the device learns the connection between specific brain activity patterns and specific meanings, and when it learns that a certain pattern means "I'm thirsty" or "pick up" - the system can translate this into action. In the field of genetic engineering, we said that the basic model on which it will be possible to reach far-reaching developments may already exist. Does the ability to perform an image of brain activity and "translate" the mapped neural patterns into actions already offer a sufficiently accurate logical model for human-machine connection? In my opinion not yet. The "pattern reading" model, the technology behind it and the existing knowledge about the relationship between electrical activity in the brain and the phenomena of consciousness themselves are still not close to dealing with the wealth of knowledge, thoughts and the complexity of human problem solving.

An application of human empowerment, which more or less belongs to the field of human-machine connection, is "transcranial direct current stimulation" (tDCS). It is a helmet with electrodes that is placed on the head and sends electric currents to different areas of the brain. row Studies Conducted by Dr. Michael Weisend, who, according to rumors, worked for several years at DARPA (the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Agency), showed that the use of this helmet dramatically improves performance in a variety of capacities such as reaction speed, speed and accuracy in decision-making, visual perception, composure, Learning speed and more. The effect of this stimulant system is temporary to use, but stronger than modafinil. Wouldn't you want your surgeon to wear a helmet like this?

If we have already mentioned DARPA, then it is important to say that they are working on the talos , a combat suit that resembles Ironman's armor and improves the warrior's performance from a physical and cognitive point of view. Talos, by the way, is a figure from Greek mythology of a robotic giant made of bronze designed to protect Greece from pirates and enemies.

We're not really there yet. Human empowerment exists, but for the most part it does not yet improve human performance and the human being in an unimaginable way. A very talented sprinter who will use every training method, steroid and hormone possible will break Usain Bolt's records by maybe 0.2 seconds, not something we would appreciate as the formation of a new person. However, smart, leading and resourceful people are seriously working on human-computer interfaces, biochemical preparations and genetic engineering developments that may dramatically change essential dimensions of human ability and being. Personally, I have already heard of people in California injecting themselves and their children (!!!) with genetic materials produced with the help of CRISPR in order to "improve" them.

It is also not clear what the scenario is for the development of human empowerment. Will it happen step by step, with a more portable and more effective Griya helmet, a new generation of modafinil or its competitor, a primary and basic human-computer connection that will be perceived as very reasonable for its time? Or will it happen in a leap, that a point will come that will change everything?

And are we ready for that?

Part A - Where is the technology?
To part C - the ethical consequences

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