Bart Kosko, whom some of you know, has an op-ed today in the Los
Angeles Times, at
(that link may not work after today):
The movie "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" raises the wrong questions
about our future with computers because it gets the technology
wrong. It will be far easier to make us more like computers than to
make computers more like us.
Chip implants will make that possible because chips have so many
advantages over brains and robots. Brains are wet and have random
wiring. They need sugar and oxygen and sleep. They risk stroke and
need a special cooling system for their thick skull-based housing.
...So the real question is not whether robots will replace humans
but whether chips will replace brains.
That question may raise many ethical issues, but the answer to it is
surely yes. ... Moore's Law ... chips in 2020 or so will have the
raw processing power of the human brain and will forever exceed it
Of course he is glossing over the tremendous difficulties involved
in interfacing a chip to the brain in such a way that it can provide
meaningful information, especially if it is going to extend our memories
so that chip-based memories and data "feel" normal.
The distant but inevitable step is not just to back up the brain but to
replace it outright. Then the music of the mind will play on a digital
instrument with almost godlike powers. Such chip minds will have a
bit-based omniscience because they could access all knowledge and
all databases at the speed of light and never forget any of it. They
could easily relive and edit and alter any past physical or emotional
experience and do so with the same "real" intensity as when someone's
flesh first experienced it.
Chip minds will have a bit-based omnipotence because they could
create entire virtual worlds simply by imagining them. Let's not
forget that the world we see "out there" is but an illusion in the
neural circuitry of our brain's visual cortex.
Even our subjective sense of time will change. We find the second a
meaningful unit of time because electrical signals travel so slowly
through our nerves. Chip time, or "nanotime," will be millions or even
billions of times faster. One second of brain time will equal years
or even decades of chip time. This will give chip minds a bit-based
approximation of eternity. That also will mean a robot with a chip
mind would find brain-based humans frozen as if they were clay models
in a time-lapsed animation.
This part isn't consistent with the idea of chip implants, or even
chips replacing the brain within a biological body. Apparently he must
be talking about an upload scenario. Obviously you wouldn't want to
replace your brain with a chip going billions of times faster if your
body is still going about its business the same old way.
I thought this inconsistency weakened the article somewhat. While I
can understand that presenting the idea of uploading would undercut the
attractive picture he is painting, it's confusing at the end as we picture
our bodies standing around frozen while our minds zoom off into infinity.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:43 MDT