Monthly Archives: April 2015

Future, technologies and (over)excitement

Today we had a nice lecture on the technologies and future by Dr. Jose Cordeiro in a beautiful hall at the University of Sofia. It was supposed to be great, except… that is wasn’t. Or maybe I had too high expectations. Wish the content was somewhat deeper and little more analytical. Rather than that it was mainly a brief collection of facts and news. All so exciting. Yes, we all know the Moore’s law. And we all know the kilo-mega-giga exponential growth of the devices. And we’re so excited. And we read the news, too.

To be more specific, I have some notes to add and questions that could be asked when thinking of such matter:
– It is amazing that there’s a project in Japan to give human rights to robots in the future. But are we careful enough with the A.I.?
– Ideas of connecting human brains into a network and using devices to enhance their electrical signals to achieve telepathy are interesting and also possibly very useful. Surely they are very interesting to hackers, too. Stealing information right out of people’s minds will be possible. Digital security is going to be a hard task to do.
– Reading human genome and having a backup – great! I admire it. Possible new niche for insurance companies – absolutely. New industry to regenerate human tissues, organs and parts, also. There is a currently working project led by dr. Anthony Attalla whose team managed to reproduce organs, even (still in research stage) a kidney out of patient’s own cells.
– Preventing diseases, aging and extending human life possibly to immortality – this is a vast area to discuss. There’s an assumption that, due to the speed of medical and biotechnology researches, the first human that lives up to 150 years could be born only 10 years before the first human that lives up to 1000 years. Are we really ready to face that?
– Robots shall be developed soon that can not only do work but also to have emotions. Let me disagree with that. While computers can be astonishingly good at detecting human behavior and expressing reactions, this is not equal to having real emotions. This is a mimic, simulation of emotions.
– The A.I. itself that could soon reach the level of human mind. Please, let me disagree again. There is a huge difference between super-fast processor with an enormous database of information and the real ability to have intelligence, learning and adapting yourself. The results might look similar but the reasons can’t be more different.
– Comparing GHz-processors with the ‘slow’ human brain is incorrect. Raw clock speed and effectiveness are two separate things.
– Improving our “brains” with computing power and access to a database of information can be a tool to make things easier for humans. Yet, this is what makes us lazy – the easiness of getting information. If you want consumer society with habits that make it is easy to control, you’re on a right way.
– Nano technologies that could bring us practically everything, with no waste of matter, high quality and cheap. This is great but also leads to similar result – people get used to it. And when things are easy to get, they get underrated. Beware, before you make things that easier you need to make sure you’re conscious enough to handle the easiness.
– The possibility of transferring a major amount of human work to robots leads to necessity of rethinking the world economy model. If, for example, 30 % of the workers in the world are replaced by robots and left unemployed with no alternative income, this might become an enormous structural problem for the whole world with no predictable consequences and huge risk of world-wide civil conflicts, instability and expanding economy gap between the top 1 % and the rest.

So, how do you like some ultra-technological future where you are connected to a brain-network and can restore your whole body from your pre-recorded genome? And are you ready for the risk of being hacked when this can literally erase all of you memories, not just some documents and pictures? Technology is not a toy. Having more computer power in the pocket than it took to send the Voyager station out of the Solar system and using it to take selfies, most of humanity is still like a teen.