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Three ongoing research projects have convinced me that it's inevitable that humanity will create a computerized mind.  For example, the IBM funded Blue Brain Project which is scheduled for completion in 2020 requires no new inventions to complete.  The Blue Brain Project uses existing technology to reverse engineer the human down to the molecular level by scanning information obtained from brain tissue into a highly specialized computer..  All this project requires is time and money and it's well funded. The project has already demonstrated that it can do this with neurocortical columns of a rat brain and that it can apply that knowledge to other species.

Since 2020 is a long way away, the Europeans are applying for a billion dollars to increase the level of funding of the project.  It won't be known till next year if the project will be funded but experts say the chances are good.

The military has taken a big interest in such projects.  For example, Britain has commissioned robotic intelligent honey bees for among other things search and rescue missions.  Tiny bees with brains are expected to be able to fly extremely well as they can automatically adjust to wind and obstacles without operator instructions. They are also expected to develop a hive swarm mind.  

So how much additional effort could it take to create killer bees for search and destroy missions?

The U.S. military research agency (DARPA) has also shown a great deal of interest in developing computer brains.  They are helping to fund another IBM project that will greatly increase computer power for computerized minds.  The project is setting new speed records ever day and can process more neurons than are contained in a human brain.  However, the computerized neurons are much less power efficient and 400 times slower than human brains at present.

The direction of the research suggests that these computer minds will initially be copies of existing minds.  The physicality of the brains is being developed by the Canadians.

Thus far, I haven't heard any scientist or politician yell stop!  Apparently, none of these project scientists have ever read Frankenstein, watched an episode of Battlestar Gallactica or are concerned that these projects have a high potential for being controlled by the military industrial complex.  

However, it's not the potential for creating intelligent destructive machines that is my only worry.  

When the projects are completed then humanity will have created intelligent life but the scientists on the project clearly have no qualm about using their new brains for experimentation.  The scientists on the project are discussing using the first initial brains as essentially lab rats to test drugs and other medical treatments for human brains.

Originally posted to USSpinWatcher on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:06 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Disturbing that it is seen as having military apps (7+ / 0-)

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:32:29 PM PST

    •  There's been a technological development (23+ / 0-)

      that hasn't had military apps?

      -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

      by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:37:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hell, “pure theory” developments (8+ / 0-)

        have a sordid history of becoming applied in the military. That's what happened to number theory once it was realized that it could be used for encryption.

        Not to say there's nothing to worry about here. But it's important to realize that there's nothing special about any cool new technology having applications in war. Everything does.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:45:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Basically correct . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Code Monkey

          and let's clarify what they are doing. They are trying to simulate the working of a brain on a supercomputer. How that would be useful for studying drugs I can't really see.

          There are major conceptual and practical problems with this anyway. In order to learn, a human needs sensory and motor apparatus in order to explore the world. This elaborate computer program would have no way of doing that. It could not actually do useful thinking, it seems to me. To get computers to do that, you need a fundamentally different approach, basically what IBM is doing already by building huge data bases and associational and decision rules, e.g. Watson.

          This project does not seem to me to be a route to AI or to any evident military application.

          •  Modeling (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim

            If you can create an accurate model of the human body and create accurate models of diseases you can design cures.

            Newsflash, it is already happening.  The pharmaceutical companies are working with the DOE.

          •  Welcome to biophysics (5+ / 0-)
            How that would be useful for studying drugs I can't really see.
            The principles behind biophysics/quantitative biology is to model biological systems from the very basics and then simulate how they would act.  It's the difference between prediction and experimentation.  I can take a pen and drop it off my desk, observe the way it falls, repeat a bunch of times, and come to the conclusion that this is how my pen will fall most every time.  Or knowing the physical laws involved, I can predict with fairly good accuracy what will happen.  Even simple biological systems are insanely complex (the number of individual physical interactions going on in a single cell at a given time is astounding), so before modern computing hardware came onto the scene, it wasn't practical to take such an approach.  It's still a time consuming and difficult process, and there are always limitations based on what we know and the scale of the simulation, but there are research groups out there picking apart just about every disease and part of the human body you can think of in this manner.

            Once you have such a simulation of a biological system of interest, it's possible to run a gauntlet of drug trials in a fraction of the time, at a fraction of the cost, at no risk to humans.  While not adequate to say a drug is safe or effective and should be on the market, this sort of process has the potential to help zero in on promising candidates for full development.

            •  Or examine the efficacy of torture techniques (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              and methods of coercion and persuasion. MKULTRA 2?

              This isn't CT, MKULTRA actually happened. Discussion could easily go that way, though...

              •  But (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, bunsk

                Any medical advance can be used for torture, period.  Any invention can be used to hurt people in new and creative ways, and given enough time, it undoubtedly will be used in such a way.  There are sickos; sometimes we slip up and let them have control.  It's pointless to worry about any one thing and go "but they could use that for..."  They can use a rock to smash someone over the head.  They can use a car to run someone over.  The can use an artificial nerve to repeatedly paralyze and heal someone as a form of torture.  Give a man a tool and he'll find a way to use it as a weapon.

                Meanwhile to say we don't understand how most psychotherapeutic medication works would be an understatement.  It's a long history of taking shots in the dark and going "well, this kinda works for some people".  Getting a better picture has the potential to help countless people live full and healthy lives.

    •  I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE (3+ / 0-)

      95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

      by PRRedlin on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Everything has military apps. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blackjackal, linkage, sagesource

      It need not be an overt weapon.

      "It is not, you fucking liberal prick." ..My RW friend Dave's last words to me.

      by rb608 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:13:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have never understood why (6+ / 0-)

    this is considered a good idea :p

    Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

    by jan4insight on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:02:31 AM PST

  •  "Whose brain was it?" (19+ / 0-)

    "Abby"
    "Abby who?"
    "Abby Normal."

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:18:15 AM PST

  •  Rec'd for the Young Frankenstein ref (7+ / 0-)

    Abby Normal was my favorite character.  Especially "puttin on the Ritz"

    "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

    by dangoch on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:17:45 AM PST

  •  I've been talking about Kurzweil's new book (23+ / 0-)

    on other forums this past week.

    My take:  I'm not convinced that reverse-engineering the human brain will get you to artificial consciousness.  It might tell us a lot about how humans work, but not about how to make a brain.  

    An analogy would be if you tried to understand Windows 8 by CT-scanning a Pentium chip.  You could get a better understanding of the Pentium chip architecture but you'd learn nothing about Windows 8 because it's not hardware.

    I'm eager to see them develop AI consciousness in the next twenty years, if they can.  I don't think it's going to come from this method, though.  It will probably take a different kind of top-down modeling approach.

    •  Great analogy. n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, Wee Mama, rb608, linkage
      •  I agree with you completely, and had made a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        similar comment above.

        'Thinking' is not consciousness. Just as those chess playing robots are engaging in a very, very different process than the humans with which they compete. They may suceed at their limited task. However, they cannot go beyond their programming.

        To add the ability to 'learn' is a great concept. Still isn't consciousness.  MHO as a civilian.

        Life is a school, love is the lesson.

        by means are the ends on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:35:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This sentence in the diary (14+ / 0-)

      requires a lot more than a mere supposition, IMO:

      When the projects are completed then humanity will have created intelligent life
      Far, far from clear to me how life, let alone consciousness, is created here.
    •  Can you provide a link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Dumbo

      to some of these other forums?

      The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

      by Pirogue on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:32:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's the $10^(very large number) question (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, dkosdan, linkage, Dumbo

      And it's been going on since connectionist AI was all the rage in the 1980's.  It's still an open question.  Regardless of the answer, what's being done now is still important.  Ultimately we'll have to understand both the hardware and the software.

      I tend to think that we've still got a very long way to go before we create anything that might be labeled as "intelligent' in the human sense.  Right now we don't even know what words like intelligence and consciousness really mean (and whether or not they actually exist).  

      •  consciousness is a technology term (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xgy2

        at this point.  I'm separating the philosophy of mind aspects from the tech aspects, because over at onlinephilosophyclub, they keep getting into arguments over the two definitions.  There is an obvious goal in AI to achieve some kind of self-motivated equivalent to a human-mind that can handle things with less supervision and grapple with more complex problems.  Going upwards from that to Hal 9000 is a tech evolutionary problem.

        Could we ever achieve an AI consciousness that is enough like a human consciousness to pass the turing test and hold interesting conversations with us that don't get stuck the way SERE does?  Yeah, I think we will be able to.  That's a different tech goal.  We can argue whether such an AI is REALLY conscious and whether an emulation is ever the same thing as the thing it emulates, but that gets into religion and metaphysics at that point.

        •  If it's a technology term (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo, The Hindsight Times

          what's the definition of it?

          How does that differ from the actual definition?

          If it's different then should we give it a different name?

          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:37:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It would simplify matters, wouldn't it? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks

            And get us away from arguments about the nature of the soul, etc.  There's a perfectionist element to many of the discussions about consciousness, but that is ignorable if you just focus on it as a technological issue.  Then you can grade achievements as "more like a consciousness, rather than less."

            •  Again, what is the definition (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo, The Hindsight Times

              because without any sort of definition, which is what the "technological" definition seems to be, there's really no more or less conscious.  We have to be able to show what we're getting closer or further from if we want to know if we're getting closer or further.

              As someone who has a background studying this sort of this, consciousness, personhood, etc. I find it frustrating when people hand-wave away the issue.

              The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:03:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's why I distinguish the technology problem (0+ / 0-)

                from the philosophical problem.

                When you look at the color blue, and you experience blue, is there something special going on there that a computer programmed to scan blue objects will never share?  And when you evaluate all your thoughts and ideas, are your reactions in some ways similar to how you experience blue?

                When you reach that level of thinking, then we start to get into whether there's some kind of essence to consciousness.  I would argue, however, that whatever that essence is, though it might be very human, might not be essential to being FUNCTIONALLY conscious.  For instance, bees can see colors -- more colors than you and me, in fact.  Yet are they conscious?  If colors are something dumb creatures can do, I don't see that magic perception of color to be essential to consciousness.

                Also, we could program a computer to have some kind of reaction to the color blue that stimulates other thoughts, if we wanted to make it more like us, more likely to go Oooooh and Ahhhh...  The color blue might be programmed to stimulate associations with things that are calming or safe or pleasing, for instance.  

                •  That would be creating computers (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dumbo, Garrett, The Hindsight Times

                  that can behave in certain ways.  That's what things like the Turing test are for, and it's entirely possible that we can and will create a computer that can mimic a computer.  But that has nothing to do with consciousness.

                  Consciousness is a subjective experience, by definition.  What you're talking about is behavior.  When you talk about behavior it is completely different than the experience of consciousness.

                  I'd add that what we're really talking about in regards to consciousness is self-consciousness.  Bees are conscious to some extent but they pretty clearly aren't self-conscious.

                  The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                  by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:38:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's why I distinguish the problems. (0+ / 0-)

                    We could achieve an AI consciousness that satisfies all our behavioral desires and still argue about whether it's a "real" consciousness because of invisible matters of essence.  Whether it meets the definition we set or not, from a technological point of view, its' better to make an AI consciousness that just BEHAVES like one rather than one that has essence but... perhaps, doesn't want to talk with us, or is just sullen and unhelpful and alien.

                    But let's think about this, whether behavior of consciousness is the same thing as consciousness.  Lots of debate on that.  

                    Here's my take:

                    We don't exist as brains or as computers.  We are abstract structures, like the characters in Dickens' David Copperfield.  The book might be printed on paper with ink, but the paper and ink are irrelevant, and David Copperfield is the same whether it's on audiobook or a PDF or just something I remember reading.  Create the abstract structures similar to a consciousness and the defined abstract behaviors that are necessary to the way we change and act as if aware, and you may have created a consciousness.

                    •  An AI that satisfies our behavioral (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dumbo, The Hindsight Times

                      desires is completely beside the point of consciousness, and especially self consciousness.  Objective behavior is completely separate from subjective self-consciousness.  Maybe we're just talking past each other here.  I think it's entirely possible that we'll have computers that will mimic the actions of entities that we consider self-conscious, but the question of consciousness is entirely separate.  In fact, we have done almost no study on the question beyond the realm of philosophy, which is fine for what it is.  How can we create something we can't even define?

                      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                      by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:35:57 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Bees are not self-conscious (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dumbo

                    And you know this how, exactly? As opposed to assuming that you know the level (if any) of their consciousness?  Bertrand Russell ascribed his interest in philosophy to a nanny who informed the little boy that eating fish was fine because fish feel no pain. Russell even at 5 years old asked himself "How does she know that?"

                    "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

                    by Reston history guy on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:24:04 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  While we can't say that certain (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dumbo

                      behaviors are indicative of self-consciousness, we can say that self-consciousness entails certain behaviors such as self recognition, which bees lack.  And if they aren't conscious then what are they, unconscious?  Subconscious?  There isn't a term to describe activity except for consciousness, although I admit that there may be some other state that we don't really have a name for, perhaps controlled or something similar.

                      In terms of fish feeling pain, I would say that's more complicated and it isn't clear whether or not they do, depending on what we consider pain.  They certainly act as if they feel pain, and they have the requisite nervous system, but beyond that it becomes a bit of a moot point.

                      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                      by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:30:34 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Drone bees don't have any trouble (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Garrett, Dumbo

                        recognizing a queen.  Worker bees can recognize drones, because they kick them out in the Fall.  Bees can distinguish their own hive from another hive.  I think its a stretch to claim that bees aren't self aware.

                        The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

                        by MadScientist on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 07:36:24 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Awareness of others isn't self-awareness (0+ / 0-)

                          As should be obvious.  This isn't even an argument to be made.  Self-recognition == recognition of one's self.

                          I think its a stretch to claim that bees aren't self aware.
                          I don't believe that you think that, I think you're playing devil's advocate.

                          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                          by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:13:34 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  Still if it's technology (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Dumbo

          It's an engineering problem. That implies that one should be
          should be able to write a specification.  I'm not sure we're there yet.   If it's conscious, what does it do, what requires consciousness as a prerequisite etc.  No metaphysics there, just "The machine shall do X".   Note that a specification like "The machine shall pass a TBD Turing test on 9 out of 10 trials" might not require any mention of consciousness.  It might be better to simply drop the use of that word - at least until a definition is available.

          P.S.  I'm not really sure that consciousness even exists and if it does it might be nothing more than a reaction to mental events that have already happened.  

          •  Ultimately, the issue here is that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dumbo, xgy2, Reston history guy

            we can't prove that anyone has consciousness except ourselves.  We take it for granted that others share that consciousness because they say they do and we act in similar ways.

            P.S.  I'm not really sure that consciousness even exists and if it does it might be nothing more than a reaction to mental events that have already happened.
            If it's a reaction to mental events that have already happened then it still exists.  Consciousness clearly does exist, it's just a matter of describing the terms of that existence.  It might be that we're never able to come to a good description of that, but since I experience it I can guarantee it exists.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:11:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  definitions... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xgy2
            P.S.  I'm not really sure that consciousness even exists and if it does it might be nothing more than a reaction to mental events that have already happened.
            That's closer to where I stand.  I think consciousness exists, but that our understanding of it is colored by vanity.  

            I'm a relativist, so on the one hand, I'm quite content to say that I and all my thoughts and ideas exist and are real, and then to say that you and your thought and also all thoughts that might be generated by a simulated consciousness are real too... but from a different point of view that I'm not privy to.  

            There doesn't seem to be an agreed -to universal definition of consciousness or artificial consciousness.  It seems to be used to mean "kinda like how a human thinks, sort of."  Anything more specific gets shot down in short order as not being adequate to describe our own consciousness in some specific way.

    •  The software emerges from the hardware (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      hardware plus experience. It's a different process from designed software. The software-hardware to mind-brain/body analogy is very useful, but it breaks down here.

  •  "Bees, with Brains! And sharks, with laser beams' (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, rb608, AoT, Roadbed Guy, dkosdan, linkage

    I'm going to admit I'm pretty skeptical these projects will lead to what you indicate, a true AI that thinks and is self aware in the sense that people define those terms in 'real' life. I dont think even knowing the architecture of the human brain down to the synapse level gets you there. (Tho it does get you research grants.) But I have to think about work (and breakfast) and don't have the time to write an essay about it. Will check back when I can on this interesting discussion,

    •  Human AI has been 10-20 years away (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkosdan, linkage, vinny67

      for about as long as cold fusion has been.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:57:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At some point it actually will be, if technology (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        continues to progress. That it's hard to know when doesn't mean it's not happened now, just that it probably hasn't.

        •  I think that there are a lot of assumptions (0+ / 0-)

          that go into saying that it is inevitable.  I think it's highly probably barring some sort of major societal catastrophe, but just that is looking more and more likely the more we neglect to act reasonably in regards to the coming ecological disaster.

          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:33:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I just want to know (6+ / 0-)

    How long do I have to wait before my consciousness can be transferred to an eternally young cyborg body with, I don't know, guns and stuff built in?

    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

    by Jaxpagan on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:23:22 AM PST

  •  But will they include Asimov's laws? And if not, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carver, bleeding blue, Shockwave, AoT, linkage

    are you ready to say goodbye to the world as we know it?



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 07:05:33 AM PST

    •  Given that it's a model of a human brain (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      and humans has clearly done a pretty poor job of following the three laws I can't imagine it'd do much better.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:59:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      Three Laws of Robotics

      1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
      2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
      3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:59:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There will be no advantage.... (10+ / 0-)

    if we can't figure out how to use the brains we already have.

    Size 7 1/4 Aluminum Picture Hat

    by fishhawk on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:10:42 AM PST

  •  Somehow, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, linkage, too many people

    I have a feeling that human-made Global Warming will produce conditions that will dry up the funds before they get to the end.

    Hard to maintain billion dollar projects in the midst of wide-spread crop failures.

    -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:34:25 AM PST

  •  Weyland's 2023 TED Talk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    -9.00, -5.85
    Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

    by Wintermute on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:45:00 AM PST

  •  The Singularity remains near, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, davethefave, dkosdan, linkage

    and AD 2020-2040 remains the projected timeframe.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:50:59 AM PST

    •  I'm just not feeling it that fast (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkosdan, linkage

      My TOTALLY useless opinion, but it just doesn't feel like things are moving fast enough or coalescing quickly enough for a real singluarity by 204.

      IMSO (s=stupid).

    •  only the rich will become transhumans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Superintelligence and digital immortality will be the privilege of immense wealth and power.  The cyborg supersoldiers will make sure of that.

      Alternatively, the rest of us get hideously cyborged while the unmodified rich become nudists who spend all their time working out and having sex.

      To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

      by Visceral on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:09:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hell - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        spending all your time working out and having sex is a way to GET rich.  

        I really wish I had the constitution for that kind of work, but I don't.

        -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

        by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:13:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  only if your genes allow it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage
          spending all your time working out and having sex is a way to GET rich.
          No amount of exercise will change your face, so no modeling, acting, or porn career for you if you're not already hot.  No amount of exercise will make you taller, so no NFL or NBA for you if you're short.  

          To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

          by Visceral on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:19:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but if you are already rich (0+ / 0-)

            then those gene's may likely be alterable in the not too far future.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:35:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  There's essentially zero percent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    chance that this will be accomplished.

    Brings to mind Nixon's 5 year war on cancer.

    Heck, it's been almost 10x times longer, and people are - shockingly enough - still dying from cancer.  

    •  I'm sure there were people.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi

      ....in Hiroshima in the 1900's who read about the Wright Brothers in the paper and concluded that heavier than air flight couldn't possibly have any relevance to their lives.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:15:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Has Computerized Brain announced it's intention to (4+ / 0-)

    run for President in 2020?

  •  Bite My Shiny Metal Ass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    realwischeese, Roadbed Guy, linkage

    What makes Bender so delightful is that as a robot he is, by human standards, a total sociopath.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:19:40 AM PST

  •  I think this is great (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Yoshimi

    I always like scientific and technological advances.
    The potential for good work with this is incredible.
    Along with that good potential comes the potential for bad. It's up to us to embrace the growth of knowledge and use it for good things.
    To be afraid of this reminds me a lot of the right opposing stem cell research.

  •  Software CEOs! (5+ / 0-)

    I would love to see computerized brains tackle the problems of business management. Imagine if companies could just purchase "Digital CEO™" for $500 and ditch their Golden Parachuted, Stock-optioned, $25 million per year prima donna CEOs?

    Corporate board: "Sorry Bill. The board has decided to replace you with a $500 software program. Thanks for your service and be out of your office by the end of the day."

  •  Darn. Too late to implant it in the GIPPER'S empty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    head.

  •  It's not a computerized brain (6+ / 0-)

    It's a computer model of a brain, which is rather different.  Just like a computer model of a cell isn't a cell, a model of a brain isn't a brain.

    The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

    by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:00:43 AM PST

  •  nervous nets are powerful (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, linkage, AkaEnragedGoddess, The Nose

    I've seen little insectoid robots with no more than a few dozen transistors networked together with servos and simple sensors execute totally independent and arguably purposeful action.  Make them solar powered and they flail their way over any obstacle in pursuit of light ... at which point they stop as if thinking "I'm right where I want to be", and will stay there until the light moves or something else moves them.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:06:30 AM PST

    •  Purposeful? (0+ / 0-)

      But not their own purpose.  They are just machines doing what they have been programmed by humans to do.  They might even be able to do certain tasks better than humans, like that robot hand which has been programmed to solve the Rubik's Cube blindingly fast, or computers which can beat human chess masters - they are not really besting us, since they are just extensions of our own intelligence - they are just tools.  We can dig a hole with a shovel much faster than with our bare hands, but a shovel isn't therefore "outperforming" humans - it's just an example of a good tool, an extension of the human brain. Same goes for any computer or robot.

      Seems to me, no computer/robot can be considered more than a tool unless it has volition - its own desire to do something.  IBM's Watson beat the best human "Jeopardy!" players, but it had no desire to do so, no awareness that it did so.  So Watson is no more than a shovel.

      That said, it's easy to imagine automated robot soldiers (perhaps the size of insects) who could self-replicate and  could kill much more efficiently than human soldiers.  Scary to think about, but I suppose we already have some pretty scary tools available to annihilate ourselves (nukes, bioweapons).

      •  these robots aren't programmed by anyone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Rob in Vermont

        These little analog insect robots are not executing a program written by humans.  They don't have a hard drive or flash memory.  There's no USB cable running back to a computer "brain".  There's no software telling them to move towards the light or calculating angles and vectors to climb over an obstacle.  Their behavior is an apparently inevitable product of the physical existence of a nervous net.

        These robots are not extensions of a human's will.  There's no part of their design methodology that allows for human control of their actions.  Their behavior is to a remarkable extent unpredictable; battery-operated ones can and do roam freely, with no obvious motive except something inside them that says "Move."  Perhaps the simple fact of being capable of movement demands movement by giving the electrons someplace to go, while light and pressure sensors alter the analog signals running through the net again just by being there, generating an inner drive to either push forward or ease off.

        To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

        by Visceral on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:08:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

          I wasn't aware of how these worked.  Googled around on this subject. I'm not sure I'd agree that just because they're behavior isn't entirely predictable, they are "not extensions of a human's will".  For example, consider a weather balloon. It's actions are not entirely predictable, since of course the weather is  not entirely predictable.  But its existance and utility are entirely the result of human will.  It's got no will of its own, no purpose of its own.  

  •  Colossus, The Forbin Project (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    It's hard not to reminded of that great movie. Here's the trailer...

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:30:45 AM PST

  •  So, this is happening...? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage
    Since 2020 is a long way away, ...
    or just over 7 years from now.  7 years ago, 9/11 had happened 4 years prior.  Think of music from 1964 to 1971 - or the '62 flight of John Glenn to the '69 moon landing.  7 years is the day after tomorrow (so to speak).  I do not like this, not one bit.  As far as I can tell walking down a NYC street, we're halfway to cyborg already.

    If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

    by WestCider on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:57:44 AM PST

  •  I'd be more comfortable if a dolphin brain were (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    ..used as a model.

    The "Abbie Normal" Young Frankenstein scene comes to mind.

    Along with every dystopian novel and movie that I've run across in the last few decades.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:23:56 PM PST

  •  Bonk Bender on the head (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, marsanges, shanikka

    .. and he goes into "destroy all humans" mode.

    Just sayin'

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:27:32 PM PST

  •  I think it is cool! (0+ / 0-)

    By trying to build brains we get to understand even more how our own brains work. We have been doing this for eons (usually by observing behavior related to events) but now we can really start to understand.

    There is always a potential for misuse, but I would argue we are already subject to massive amounts of misuse (by corporations and advertisers to name a few), so how can it get much worse.

    The cool stuff out of the Canadian project is that their brain seems to have similar problems to our own brain - for example it is better at remembering the beginning and end of lists and less so of the middle. That is cool!

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:13:58 PM PST

  •  Of Course (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    This is good news for John McCain.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    by Ex Con on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:16:58 PM PST

  •  All the information we know about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarthMeow504

    our changing climate has been modeled by these machines.

    Cures for diseases have been modeled on these machines.  AIDS would still be ravaging our planet if we didn't have the technology to model this virus and design a solution to stop it.

    Cures for world hunger are being modeled on these machines.

    This is not very different than the fear horseback riders had of the automobile.

  •  You should update your diary (0+ / 0-)

    Presented at Super Computing 2012 IBM announced
    the simulation of 530 billion neurons, 100 trillion synapses with LLNL's Sequoia super computer

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/...

  •  Whenever I read projections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Yoshimi

    of anything that says "by X date, we'll do this", I have to laugh, because we have no idea what kinds of things will completely change the equation in the future.

    By that, I mean I believe that we will indeed be able to create artificial intelligence. That is going to change the experience of humanity in ways we can't fathom...

    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:00:43 PM PST

  •  There needs to be a distinction here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    There is a big difference between modeling the brain chemically and trying to create a computer as smart as a human by mimicking the brain. For all our faults, the human brain is crazy powerful. Here's an excerpt from Physics of the Future, by Professor Michio Kaku:

    There are serious problems, however, with modeling the entire human brain, especially power and heat. The Dawn computer devours one million watts of power and generates so much heat that it needs 6,675 tons of air-conditioning equipment, which blows 2.7 million cubic feet of chilled air every minute. To model the human brain, you would have to scale this up by a factor of 1,000.

    This is a truly monumental task. The power consumption of this hypothetical supercomputer would be a billion watts, or the output of an entire nuclear power plant. You could light up an entire city with the energy consumed by this super-computer. To cool it, you would need to divert an entire river and channel the water through the computer. And the computer itself would occupy many city blocks.

    Professor Kaku argues that we'll be in midcentury before this task is truly achieved, and we'll take even longer to analyze the data produced.

    Again, I look at this and think medical research. I do not see Skynet or anything of the sort. I don't think it's meant to be an AI, I think it's meant to be a medical model.

    The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them. - Albert Einstein.

    by Cvstos on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:54:48 PM PST

  •  Have you seen SPAUN? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    The creators were on reddit the other day doing an AMA about it, which is the world's largest functional brain model. Pretty dang cool but scary implications at the same time.

    Tangent: your comment about the military looking at building a computer brain also brought to mind a TEDTalk where a researcher explained (long story shortened for this comment) she was able to shoot a magnetic pulse at specific portion of the brain and change the way people viewed a moral question. After the talk was over she was questioned about whether she was talking to the the military about this research. She said the Pentagon was calling, but she wasn't answering.

    "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

    by solesse413 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:53:00 PM PST

    •  It'd be tough to weaponize TMS (0+ / 0-)

      TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) would be pretty non-trivial to weaponize. Firstly, you'd have to use it on your own people to try to make them more risk prone, which could shoot you in the foot pretty easily. Secondly, I recall being told by someone who did it that it's at least somewhat painful. I imagine that your soldiers will be less effective if they have headaches. I would think giving them pills would be easier. The pills would probably wear off more slowly.

      Research science: a series of failures sporadically punctuated by success

      by dpryan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 04:04:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasnt thinking about weaponizing (0+ / 0-)

        but rather the part about having the capability to change someone's moral judgement.

        "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

        by solesse413 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 05:42:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome! (0+ / 0-)

    Anything we can do to get closer to Kurzweil's technological singularity is great in my book.  This is the stuff that will free us from the MIC, not enslave us to it.

  •  What exactly is so chilling about this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen

    So we'll have made a brain... that the military can use.

    But women give birth to brains every single day, and some of them get used by the military!

    Modeling the brain however would be incredibly useful, especially if we ever want to learn more about how our own brains work, and maybe even do things like prevent Alzheimer's.

  •  I wouldn't worry about it.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White, AoT

    Artificial intelligence has been 'about 5-10 years away' for the last 50 years.  Algorithmic approaches like this will never produce creative systems like human minds.  They still may do useful and interesting things, but the wont be capable of human thought.  That's my take as a non-mainstream cognitive scientist.

    •  Creativity is just trained trial and error (0+ / 0-)

      And that can definitely be programmed. In fact, I would argue that computers have the capacity for greater creativity than humans because they aren't burdened with the need for recognition.

      Thinking computers probably won't mimic human thoughts exactly, because they don't have bodies, but I can easily see their potential for emotions and curiosity.

      •  I respectfully disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        What I'm specifically denying is the Church-Turing Hypothesis that all natural processes are computable.  Computers can process information that is programmed into them, but they do not create (nor destroy) it.  Basically computers can only do what they are told by their creators, even if their creators don't not exactly what that will be.  That ignorance doesn't change the fact that what they do was predetermined the minute the their program was complete.
        I contend that there are many natural systems (cognition, life, ecology, etc.) that are sources and sinks of information that cannot be predetermined and are therefor non-computable.

        •  I think that people don't understand the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ecjade

          model/reality distinction in this context.  I think it's entirely possible to create a machine that thinks in some way, but that machine won't be a "computer" in regards to just being a number cruncher like the computers we have now.  People tend to think of computers as being more than just number crunchers because they appear to do so much more, even though they really just flip bits from one to zero and vice versa in ways that are useful or pretty or whatever.

          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:42:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Simple counter example (0+ / 0-)

          It's trivial to come up with algorithms that create chaotic output. Beyond certain thresholds, output is completely unpredictable. (See Mitchell Feignbaum's studies of chaotic oscillators)

          The difference between a simple oscillator that produces unpredictable output and a human that produces unpredictable output is just a matter of degrees. (We have a lot of inputs) There are no instances of the creation  of completely new information in human history. Every advancement or discovery builds upon previous advancements and discoveries.

          We may not yet fully understand how our brains mix and process information, but that doesn't mean that human comparable intelligence cannot be approximated algorithmically.

          •  That assumes that it's possible to (0+ / 0-)

            completely map a complex system, and that's a pretty big assumption.  Sometimes these things go from being a difference in degree to being a difference of kind.

            We may not yet fully understand how our brains mix and process information, but that doesn't mean that human comparable intelligence cannot be approximated algorithmically.
            The problem I see is that we don't know if they are yet.  And really calling them algorythmic says to me that they probably aren't, given that this is another case of comparing the brain to whatever our most recent technology is.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:37:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Still deterministic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            Chaotic systems are completely deterministic... the same inputs always produce the same outputs, even if you are sure that that will be.

            We are probably talking past each other about information as it's a pretty vague word.  I mean information in a sense like this:  Today there is certainly information about elephants.  What about 1 billion years ago?  Was there information about elephants then?  I'd say no...that information had to be created through the process of evolution.  And it's not that there was 'zero' information about elephants... it was less than that... no information at all (how could you conceive of an elephant at that point).  Sadly, that's what would happen to the information about elephants if we manage to wipe them out. :(

  •  I think we are faaaaaaar away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    from creating a computerized brain. These projects are fascinating and computer power grows and grows. But the human brain is an incredibly complex and capable thinking organism that we don't even fully understand yet... let alone have the capability to replicate.

    I've been in the computer business my entire adult life and am looking forward to retirement in the now foreseeable future. I've no doubt we'll create incredibly powerful thinking machines in what remains of my lifetime but I seriously doubt we'll create sentience or anything close to it. We just don't know enough yet.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 07:03:36 PM PST

    •  How often are you sentient? (0+ / 0-)

      If you're wrestling with some computer code, you aren't thinking about the nature of thought, the weather outside, or countless other details of the world. You're involved in a learned process designed to achieve a specific goal.

      If you're having a conversation over dinner, you're not concerned with your place in the universe, you're engaged in a process of listening, speaking (input/output in computer terms) The exact mechanical or chemical processes aren't important. What is important is your ability to take verbal input, process it and produce verbal output that relates to the input.

      It's admittedly difficult to get computers to do this, but that's just because human language is so dependent on intrinsic capabilities and limitations of the human body. It is, however, algorithmic in nature.

      Even when you look in the mirror, you aren't thinking about your ability to think, you're performing an algorithm that visualizes possible reactions to your going to the store without combing your hair, without shaving, etc.

      The trick to producing a sentient machine is getting it to the point where it can infer the difference between how information affects it's internal processing vs how the same information affects things outside itself. Once a machine can do that, it will qualify for sentience and I think this is definitely doable in the near to medium term.

      •  Nope... not even close (0+ / 0-)

        It will be a loooooooooooooooooong time before a machine comes anywhere near close to what goes on in the human brain during even those dull moments where we are essentially sleep walking our way through life. Our brains are far more active and complex in their activity then you are giving them credit for.

        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:28:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          If you break down things we think of as distinctly human, like emotions, or humor, you find that to a large degree, the most important factor is how our bodies respond, not how the thought was formed.

          Take the infamous "Get a brain morans" photo. It's not that hard to derive a basic template for what's funny about it.

          Dude + attempt to insult intelligence + misspelled word = stupid dude => funny

          A computer could easily use this rule to generate dozens of genuinely funny examples. Where the magic happens is how our bodies respond to humor. Crinkling the corners of our eyes, contracting the muscles of our face into smiles, emitting repetitive barking sounds, etc. All of these responses serve as positive feedback.

          It wouldn't be that hard to create a few dozen humor templates and have volunteers rate computer generated evaluations about their humor content. A learning algorithm could record which jokes generated the most laughter, compare those with jokes that generated the least laughter and distill fairly reliable humor patterns.

          If a computer could consistently come up with jokes that make people laugh, then in a very real sense, it understands humor because it can distinguish between funny and not funny.

          It's not necessary to make a computer exactly mimic human brain function to produce humor, art, or music all that's required is a few simple goals and a trial and error process that records and analyzes human responses.

          Acquiring the ability to filter humor from non humor, art from non art, music from noise is half the equation, understanding. The other half, positive feedback, is a bit trickier, but I can envision some sort of meta process that evaluates how these understandings affect overall system functioning and with understanding plus feedback, you would have something functionally indistinguishable from intelligence.

          •  If you were right (0+ / 0-)

            then we wouldn't be having the difficulties we're having.

            A computer could easily use this rule to generate dozens of genuinely funny examples.

            This is what's been said for decades and decades and is why everyone keeps thinking AI is close.  But what you say is simple isn't, or it would have been done already.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:05:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  How is thinking about computer code (0+ / 0-)

        not being sentient?  Sentience doesn't mean thinking about everything all at once.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:02:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Another interesting thing (0+ / 0-)

    One of the first experiments with the virtual neocortical column was to simulate brain development over time.  Scientists had assumed brain development involved changing the way neurons connect to each other.  It's doesn't.  It's a random process.  That insight let them understand why you can lose part of your brain and recover.  There is nothing special about the circuitry so rewiring is remarkably easy.

    Also, a single human neuron has the same computing power as an average labtop computer.  An adult human has 100 billion neurons.

  •  I think Cylons and Terminators when I read this (0+ / 0-)
  •  Functioning GOP Brain to take a little longer nt (0+ / 0-)

    Jon Husted is a dick.

    by anastasia p on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:38:48 PM PST

    •  A functioning GOP brain? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Such a thing is highly theoretical and not proven to exist. Some consider the very concept to be oxymoronic.

      "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

      by DarthMeow504 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:30:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Non-functioning GOP brain easy: A Potatoe (0+ / 0-)

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:59:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Big difference between bee brain and human brain (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, bees can't understand what Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman say.

    Actually, come to think of it, neither can humans...

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:58:47 AM PST

  •  In science, (0+ / 0-)

    if it can be done,
    and there is an anticipated benefit,
    then eventually some scientists will do it.
    Theologians and ethicists are inconsequential bystanders.

  •  I've known since I was in graduate school (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    studying "cybernetics" back in 1972, that 1) it would take a long time to develop an artificial intelligence, 2) that it wouldn't be able to "think" any faster than a biological intelligence, and 3) it would make mistakes!

  •  This is what is not know (0+ / 0-)

    Even if we replicate a human brain, will such a brain have consciousness? I am not sure that we know why consciousness occurs and it may be even more than just having the right structure. Perhaps, dare I say it, that these projects will end up proving that a human is more than just the machine that houses that consciousness.

  •  Well, we have to think of several scenarios... (0+ / 0-)

    1. HAL, who went mad due to a human-like crisis/conflict...

    2. Mr. Data, and Lor, who struggled with the human self-preservation vs. the threat of others...

    3. iRobot's Sunny, who was as frustrated as a 13 year old trying to feel his oats, and was still as concerned for others as a person who has learned a bit during a lifetime (probbly ethics and morals from his father/creator)

    And a few others...

    It will NOT be a brain until it has the ability to be self-reflective, just as we, animals and some fungi, plants, unicellular living organisms and even bacteria take care of themselves.

    If the self-preservation, self-reflection, self-constructing and I-Thou abilities are not there, it will just be an operating system, a machine, a ballistic device. Check out William T. Powers' notion of "living control systems" for a much better articulation of what I am talking about.

    --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 03:00:08 PM PST

  •  There's nothing scary about AI. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dpryan

    Movies = BS

    Just like cars don't explode when you shoot them, AI doesn't "go rogue" and exterminate their parent species.  Relax.

  •  I wouldn't be overly concerned. (0+ / 0-)

    Full disclosure, I am a neuroscientist and I was offered a post-doc position working on the Blue Brain Project (I took a different position elsewhere). So, having said that, I really wouldn't be overly concerned about the potential of these things. The Blue Brain Project, while cool, is an extremely slow way to try to simulate a brain and is unlikely to be able to simulate a full human brain within the next few decades. Even once we are able to do so, the power requirements to run this stuff are HUGE. Since we don't currently have the computing power, let alone the knowledge to create, a mostly-functional full brain simulation, the power requirements are unlikely to go down in the foreseeable future. So, you're not going to suddenly see cyborgs walking around in 2020 as a result of this. Frankly, for something requiring actual human level intelligence, it's a LOT easier to just hire someone to do it.

    BTW, there are huge conceptual problems to how all of these projects a constructed. It's partly for that reason that I'm not even remotely concerned about a sudden onslaught of evil-robot-overlords. The cell level models tend to overly homogenize things (i.e. minimize cell to cell variability), which is likely important in processing. While you can model that too, you then have to hope that your model is correct (the first few iterations will probably fail spectacularly). The more top-down models are likely to suffer similar hurdles. The pessimist in me suspects that the fastest way to actually simulate a human brain will be to start with a full understanding of the genetic and epigenetic code, as well as super fine-grained knowledge of development. Effectively, we'd need to model all of that and then let it run starting at fertilization (adding in all of the external input, which are themselves too poorly understood at present).

    Research science: a series of failures sporadically punctuated by success

    by dpryan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 03:41:55 PM PST

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