Aasof on AI
This week on Facebook: Having thought that AI had been laid to rest for while (at least by me) the notion of thought control and AI caught my attention. No not killing a goat, although the way that AI and the human interface is going made me wonder when an implant makes us a cyborg. At my local Asian takeaway ‘dim mak‘ is not on the menu, I know, I asked. The attractive young lady behind the counter never said a word — she just touched me gently. It hardly induced la petite mort, then at my age any approaches by an ingénue would be called a success if it only fired my imagination (that is if I could only remember those experiences I was supposed to imagine).
My grandson has an interest in AI, for my part I’m undecided about wether or not the developments in AI will ultimately benefit society. In this I hold the view that the benefits offered by integrating AI with thought control will enhance the lot of the few and increase the misery of the many. Then it may simply be that such developments in AI are like the curate’s egg in which, perhaps, I lack enough true humility to savour the good parts.
Using Thought To Control Machines: An ability to decode thought in this way may sound like science fiction. But brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) like the BrainGate system used by Mr Kochevar provide evidence that mind-control can work. Researchers are able to tell what words and images people have heard and seen from neural activity alone.
Brain-Computer Interfaces Are Already Here: For the first 54 years of his life, Dennis DeGray was an active guy. In 2007 he was living in Pacific Grove, Calif., not far from the ocean and working at a beachside restaurant. He surfed most mornings. Then, while taking out the trash one rainy night, he slipped, fell, and hit his chin on the pavement, snapping his neck between the second and third vertebrae. DeGray was instantly rendered, as he puts it, “completely nonfunctional from the collarbone south.”
Brain-Computer Interfaces Are Coming: ‘Consensual Telepathy,’ Anyone? What that system would look like is not entirely clear. Words such as “neural lace” and “neural dust” have been bandied about, but all that has really been revealed is a business model. Neuralink has been registered as a medical research company, and Musk said the firm will produce a product to help people with severe brain injuries within four years. This will lay the groundwork for developing BCIs for healthy people, enabling them to communicate by “consensual telepathy,” possibly within five years, Musk said. Some scientists, particularly those in neuroscience, are skeptical of Musk’s ambitious plans.
Artificial Intelligence Could Hijack Brain-Computer Interfaces: Now, according to a collaboration of 27 experts—neuroscientists, neurotechnologists, clinicians, ethicists and machine-intelligence engineers—calling themselves the Morningside Group, BCIs present a unique and rather disturbing conundrum in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). Essentially designed to hack the brain, BCIs themselves run the risk of being hacked by AI.
Ethical Questions Raised By Brain-Computer Interfaces: BCI has been discussed by the media, and by science fiction television and films. Sometimes this technology is positively portrayed, such as the prosthetics seen in Robocop. Other perspectives warn about how far this technology could go, such as the literal plug-in brain interface in The Matrix, or the game in Black Mirror’s episode “Playtest” that can create a person’s worst nightmare. Though these examples are very futuristic, some companies have research goals that could be straight out of a science fiction movie: for example, Elon Musk’s company Neuralink plans to create brain implants that improve memory. The current reality of BCI, however, is more limited than suggested by these futuristic portrayals.
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