TED Conversations

  • Brent O
  • Ventura, CA
  • United States

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Transhumanism

The history of Artificial Intelligence goes back to the Greek and Roman era with stories of Talos, a bronze guardian, made to protect the country of Crete from pirates. However, within the past century, this abstract idea has become more realistic as our comprehension on technology is beginning to apply itself in practicality. In the summer of 1956, the first formal conference on the topic of Artificial Intelligence took place at Dartmouth College to build the framework of AI Research. This begs the question: should AI beings be considered human?

Do these robots lack the inherent nature evident within all of humanity such as morality or rationality? Is there any evidence proving humankind to be the only self-sacrificial, moral, and emotionally-responsive beings alive? Since the dawn of the 21st Century, a robot by the name of "Kobian" was created specifically to express emotions. This robot has been programmed to express feelings of delight, sadness, a startle response, and distaste. From this example, the world stood in awe as the robot demonstrated his ability to open his mouth wide and smile with delight just as much as he could hang his head low and sob like someone grieving. THis robot has been the closest breakthrough to the wonders of humanity and poses several questions:

Is emotional response based solely on chemicals in the body capable of being reproduced in a metal box and expressed almost exactly as it would be in a human? Or is emotion much more than that and clearly only something possible within humankind?

Are we, humankind, taking too much control over the "wonders of the human body" with the construction of these mechanized lives? Or are they just that: mechanical beings with no human qualities.

Is our comprehension on these mechanical beings outweighed by our misunderstanding of the repercussions of having them? Why or why not?

Thank you for your time.

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    Apr 28 2011: When it comes to transhumanism, there are two ways of looking at the Artificial Intelligence that fuels it. The left brain dominant notion of transhumanism is sort of a continuation of scarcity-thinking of today with a lot more technology. AI will be used to control the masses and subject them to the whims of an existing ruling elite. In the left brain scenario, humanity is not part of the AI but simply subject to it. We become the robots and serve the AI, not the other way around. It is pessimistic and depends on total stagnation of human potential for its carry-through.

    The right brain view is that we are all a dynamic and integral part of the AI. We are hooked up to this dynamic artificial intelligence which reads our intentions before we have conscious awareness of the intention. Because every human is hooked into it, the ability to connect people places things and the "know-how" is incredible and immediate. This scenario makes the Dynamic universal AI a dream come true machine.

    First we had to type on a keyboard, then we could do voice to text, now we can do thought to text. Soon, the AI will be able to know what part of the brain the thoughts originate from. This will reveal whether they are seriously a danger or threat.

    The Right brain view of Artifical Intelligence requires everyone's full participation in it. There are no secrets, there are no leaders. Goverment is an immensely beneficial Artificial Intelligence Master-mind made up of the sum total and constantly growing body of human thought, synthesized and refined. Our individual desires are immediately fulfilled, either by matching us with the object of our desire, or making us feel like we have it whether we do or not.

    There is no shallow way to sum it up. You can see the erosion of privacy in our Facebook worlds, we are cyborgs already with cell phones attached to us, we won't stop ourselves so we better design the future to our highest possible.

    www.empressoftheglobaluniverse.wordpress.com
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    May 6 2011: @ Brent O..."Is emotional response based solely on chemicals in the body capable of being reproduced in a metal box and expressed almost exactly as it would be in a human? Or is emotion much more than that and clearly only something possible within humankind?"

    Emotion and complex thought are not strictly human characteristics. I would argue that animals have similar, though not necessarily equivocal capacities. If you have never seen the look in a grieving Bonobo chimp's eye over the death of its offspring I suggest you check it out. Other creatures are capable of forming strong social bonds, developing complex relationships, intentionally organizing groups for express goals and purposes such as strategic hunting or evading predators, and are capable of feeling and expressing wide ranges of emotion. A thought or a feeling is a cascade of electro-chemical synapses firing and reacting to stimuli. modern neuroscience has identified many of the underlying processes by which a memory is accessed, or an emotion is triggered, or a new and unfamiliar physical terrain is mapped in the brain and how. Everything that happens within an individual's mind is a physical act and theoretically is reproducible in technology. I think we are still a very long way off from developing mechanical technologies that will be capable of comparable feats. But I do think it is possible and even likely that it will happen.
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    Apr 28 2011: The idea of artificial intelligence is just one of the many ideas circling around transhumanist!

    "Is our comprehension on these mechanical beings outweighed by our misunderstanding of the repercussions of having them? Why or why not?"

    Well, I usually thought that it would be wise to have kill switches on all robots and not program them with the awareness of such kill switches. If it ever came to the point where one robot would recognize another having the kill switch then we got some issues lol.

    Indeed to be able to learn is a fear when involving AI and human life. Which is why a lot of the time transhumanism just wants to use the technology to enhance our bodies before we create robot slaves to do our bidding.

    So, to answer your question, that Erik brought up with "the Jurassic park" theory is that there will always be room for error when involving humans. We are mortal we are not perfect. Although we strive to be all knowing, sometimes calculations are so complex the slightest error with make the Terminator a reality.

    For all those who are unfamiliar with transhumanism, search engine it! These minds want to better the world with technology! AI is only one of the many philosophies created.
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    Apr 27 2011: I recently ask questions about robot and artificial intelligence to me.
    Can we accept that?, It is human?, What would be the difference between human and robot now?..

    I still questioning me:P