This is what could happen if we merge the human brain and computers

Why are we about to create a technology that will combine the computer with the human nervous system in one complex? How will a person change after connecting to an electronic machine? Can a computer system handle the flow of data from billions of living neurons? I will try to answer these questions in this article.

In the previous article “Individual artificial intelligence: a new technology that will change our world”, we talked about the fact that a new type of artificial intelligence will become a bioelectronic hybrid in which a living human brain and a computer will work together. Thus, a new type of AI will be born: individual artificial intelligence.

By combining fundamentally different components (a living human brain and an electronic system), we are going to see how the emergence effect works (the birth of new properties that are not inherent in combining elements separately).

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Individual artificial intelligence as a bioelectronic hybrid will have fundamental advantages over both the biological brain and any computer system. We also talked about some technical features of a new type of brain computer interface.

The previous article raised several ethical questions and even concerns about our future. I will try to answer some of them.

What will happen to all of us? Who will we eventually become?

I will say what I think: we will change a lot ourselves. I don’t want to be a moralist and please everyone. As a physician and scientist, I know that the development of science and the birth of new technologies cannot be stopped or slowed down for moral or spiritual-philosophical reasons. A person with individual artificial intelligence will not get worse or kinder – he will get stronger. I say this because I understand that the main source of human strength is not in the muscles, but in our heads.

But the main question is how much a person with individual artificial intelligence will be stronger than us ordinary people. Apparently almost no one in the modern world understands what it is about and does not realize the magnitude of the upheavals to come.

I’m currently preparing an article where I want to talk about the military aspect of this technology. I will not specifically analyze the prospects of a fighter pilot, or a tank commander equipped with his own artificial intelligence. I want to talk about a simple infantryman who, in symbiosis with AI, will turn into something much more dangerous than a tank or a fighter plane.

We are waiting for the inevitable transformation… which is already underway

If you look closely at the human essence, it becomes clear that the main difference between our biological species is the ability to change material objects and the environment around us.

Everything we create – houses, mechanisms, clothes – all this is the product of our intellectual efforts, a direct result of the work of our mind, which, by inventing something new every time, changes us a little.

The truth is that our inventions change us…

A man in clothes is different from a naked man, and one who lives in a modern house is not like one who survives in the wild jungle. Someone who drives a car starts to feel different after a while than someone who has walked all his life.

It’s the same with a computer

Look around you. We all spend a lot of time with computers, smartphones and various electronic devices. We are getting used to being in constant contact with the technical devices we make, and this started relatively recently. We are literally changing before our eyes, and the fact that at some point our brain will fully integrate with the electronic system is an inevitability that will be the start of a new type of AI: artificial intelligence consisting of a computer and a human brain.

Look around you and you will see millions of people whose attention is drawn to the screen of a smartphone or laptop. They are all evidence of the inevitability of our association with an electronic intellectual system.

I’ll say more: “The moment we consciously took a stick and turned it into a tool, creating individual artificial intelligence became a matter of time.”

Do you think personal AI is an unusual idea?

In fact, over the past 65 years we have done everything we can to realize this concept as quickly as possible!

Let’s remember together how it was

The concept of artificial intelligence appeared in 1956 after the ‘Dartmouth Seminar’, a conference on artificial intelligence at Dartmouth College.

The original idea was to create a mechanism that can replace a human calculator. As part of this concept, it had to create a machine capable of simulating the multitude of neural connections using an artificial engineering neural network.

In the late 1980s, information processing becomes the main goal, rather than creating a rigid computer mechanism. The main difference between the new systems was the use of flexible algorithms.

At the beginning of the 21st century, based on the growth of computing power, another new idea emerged, which we now call machine learning. The new algorithm not only kept its former flexibility, but also became able to move the limit parameters, changing the whole range of a possible answer.

Soon, the use of powerful computer systems made it possible for the machine to learn and gain experience using huge databases and multi-layered engineering neural networks.

This resource-intensive process became known as deep learning. A good example of this relatively new technology is Google’s instant translation system. Instead of unraveling and clarifying logical connections in the structure of natural language, Google’s new model performs a simple comparative analysis of ready-made versions of the original language.

The new method works on the principle of a black box and at the same time impresses with its accuracy and efficiency.

A similar technique was used by DeepMind when creating an AI for playing the game Go. This system (deep reinforcement learning) uses two deep neural networks at once (one analyzes position and the second analyzes the strategies used in the protocols of previous games).

Keep in mind that with each new phase we are getting further and further away from the idea of ​​creating an alternative for us: technical AI. Instead, we try to construct an intelligent tool to help us solve specific problems.

The history of recent decades suggests that we don’t really need a competitor, but a tool – a new mechanism that allows us to solve various problems!

The new brain-computer interface will be one such tool – this is what will enable the brain to turn a computer into a part of the nervous system.

Functionally, individual artificial intelligence can be compared to a group of deep learning programs that our brains will create and develop on their own without the intervention of an outside programmer. This will be possible thanks to the brain-computer interface.

Can a computer system handle the flow of data from billions of living neurons?

The human brain contains about 86 billion neurons, but we are only interested in a small part, about 16 billion in the cerebral cortex. While technically the interface of individual artificial intelligence will be able to monitor the response of a single neuron, in practice no such discretion is required. Working with neural groups of several thousand neurons can provide quite acceptable clarity in signal formation and interpretation.

The brain computer interface scanner is a gateway and controller of the amount of incoming data

The key element of the interface is a scanner that reads information from molecular beacons (binary marker objects) injected into brain tissue. The main part of the scanner is a dense network of sensor elements based on specially adapted and well insulated multilayer carbon nanotubes. In the test version, this part may be on the surface of the epidermis. In the working version, the network of carbon nanotubes works in the inner layer of the skin (in the layer of fibroblasts).

The procedure for installing the scanner will be similar to the procedure for applying a tattoo, although it should be much easier in terms of the degree of invasiveness (injury) because the cells of the immune system (macrophages) cannot “eat” ” particles from the scanner material.

It is important to understand that the power of brain neuron data flow depends not only on the distribution and activity of beacon molecules, but also on the number of signal fixation points and the sampling rate on the scanner. For proper operation, the scanner must be updated to a frequency of at least 250 Hz, but at critical moments (for example, in a real battle) the frequency may increase due to a narrowing of the scanner bandwidth. In addition, the system architecture suggests the ability to modify these parameters, not only to reduce or increase the flow of incoming data, but also to combat disruptive artifacts.

Thus, by changing the scanner’s sensitivity or refresh rate, the amount of data always corresponds exactly to the capabilities of the system.

This article was originally written by Alex Kostikov and published on TechTalks, a publication that investigates trends in technology, how they affect the way we live and do business, and the problems they solve. But we also discuss the bad side of technology, the dark implications of new technology, and what to watch out for. You can read the original article here.

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