Transhumanistic trends and developments
I was always excited about the subject of Artificial Intelligence (“A.I.”) and its potential but admittedly and as written in
earlier in the year, the increasing control which algorithms yield over human life is becoming a concern.
Where is this trend going and what’s next?
Recently I was looking for my friends “Mahavyoma” videos on YouTube1. Searching for the term on Google only returned results about “Mahayana”, with the search engine innocently assuming I would have misspelled the term but without offering the “Did you mean XYZ instead?” note as it used to.
I’m fully fine with AI giving me a hint that I might have misspelled, but overruling its own (and probably last) algorithmic doubt (which it should have had that humans may indeed mean what they say), speaks volumes. What use is a search engine, when the results presented have nothing to do with the search at all, because the AI simply decided on its own what we had meant without asking us for clarification?
There is a method to the madness though, as AI isn’t as “intelligent” as we’re made to believe. A friend sells mixtures of non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juices online. He calls his products “Prisecco” — inspired by the famous Italian sparkling alcoholic “Prosecco”. However he wasn’t able to put up online ads for his “Prisecco” range on Facebook and Google as the algorithm had decided: Prisecco = Prosecco = alcohol = not in line with our policies for online advertising. This type of algorithms aren’t the AI wonders I dreamt of as a kid.
When beginning of the year I was planning for a longer trip overseas and wrote to my 1st level connections on LinkedIn who I wanted to go and see (personally addressing each one by name and with a unique message), LinkedIn shut me down after one hour saying “you are using automated tools to message our members and will be blocked.”
Compelled by the algorithmic intervention to pause my work for another hour and after resuming my task in the same fashion, LinkedIn finally locked me out completely and forced me to admit in writing that I used automatic tools (which is against their policy and which I did NOT violate) in order to just get back into my account.
Admitting something you didn’t do (and that didn’t hurt anyone — if anything at all my friends wondered why I didn’t reply them any more on LinkedIn) rarely is right, but it definitely feels wrong when you’re forced to do it in order to get back into your account — all caused by an algorithm fed with the criteria of “nobody can type this many different messages in such a short time”.
Lack of Transparency and Misuse in Censorship
But who or what is responsible for these obvious algorithmic failures?2 There is a definite (and perhaps even conscious) lack of transparency as to how they come into being and there is no accountability for it, not even an “AI ombudsman” (perhaps this will be a well respected future profession!) — to whom I could have addressed my concerns.
“We are now in the Woke Age of Censorship, where the outrage of the day results in mass censorship by the masters of deception and deceit.” […]
“The government, regime media, and social media did restrict people from seeing what the ruling elite decided was “false information”, about Russiagate, Wuhan lab leak, Hunter Biden’s laptop, election fraud, effectiveness of ivermectin & hydroxychloroquine, ineffectiveness of masks, useless & dangerous covid vaccines, and what really happened on January 6.” — Jim Quinn3
In line with Jim’s quote, I find that in today’s interpretation of AI the underlying algorithmic outcomes are designed to equal a “0” or “1” which is quite the opposite to what humanity’s actual intelligence (with its broad spectrum of stories, cultures and opinions) is all about — read more here:
What are Humans and what is Biology?
Considering the technological advances over the past two centuries where we went from a mechanical age all the way through an electronic revolution to the digital innovations of today, it is a question worth asking.
What an irony then that AI itself is requiring us to identify ourselves as being human4 — luckily we’ve been well trained for a few years already by now:
Maybe it’s that our current way of living “conveniently” has impacted the commercially driven technology roadmaps of the world too much whilst our scientific achievements were financed by global think tanks strategically mapping5 our future way of life out for us6, that we stopped asking ourselves:
How much of what is really good for us as a species? Where does a machine (or AI) begin and where does the human (mind and body) end?
After all, we typically don’t ask ourselves the same question in the case of animals (e.g. where a horse ends and a zebra begins7) though we should probably change our view on that, too:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that after robocats, biohybrid moths and pigeons, and with RatCar already being publicized over a decade ago8, an artificially engineered biohybrid fish can now swim with human heart muscle cells9 whilst a group of scientists recently created a mobile cybernetic entity combining robotics with the manipulated muscle mass of a dead animal10.
Many decades ago, John C Lily wrote a book called “The Scientist”11 and whilst controversial in many aspects, as the man who pioneered interspecies (human-dolphin) communication12 and as the inventor of the floatation tank sensory deprivation technique13, I wonder what he would say to these bizarre “scientific” experiments.
Why aren’t more scientists asking where such Frankenstein14 experiments are taking us on our human journey and whether (especially on the topic of research where limits are hard to accept anyway) we should perhaps question ourselves more often: when is enough enough?
The Brain — AI Connection
If you think AI will come to our rescue, think again. Yes, there is a fair chance that AI will help us to solve some of the problems we have:
“AI will not be able to tell us what we should and should not do as it is further distancing ourselves from taking responsibility for our actions, our hopes and our dreams.”
— Dr Keryn Johnson15
In fact AI may already be controlling us far more than we’re comfortable to realize, simply via the devices we’ve come to love16 and that we’ve developed a strong symbiotic relationship with:
AI thus does its best to create reality by modeling, simulating and stimulating our minds. But even if the entire human race could potentially be controlled by AI17, what would be the purpose to reprogram peoples thoughts, emotions, and neural networks?18
The reality is that despite many decades of research, our brain remains one of the most fascinating mysteries, and why should AI now “crack it”? Well, our brains are reacting to sounds and noises with a natural resonance, so AI may well use this feature as a bridge towards further compatibility and integration for which research, e.g. in the form of merging human brain cells with AI has already begun19.
Such an “Organoid intelligence” (OI) is an emerging multidisciplinary field aiming to develop “Biological Computing” (or biocomputing) using 3D cultures of human brain cells (brain organoids) and brain-machine interface technologies to create faster, more efficient, and more powerful than silicon-based computing and AI solutions, requiring only a fraction of the energy20.
This could lead to some kind of a Human Brain/Cloud Interface21 which could be linked up with a “Hive Mind” where our entire world is mirrored and we’re all connected via our DNA in real-time:
Far out? Sure. Too negative? Perhaps. But impossible?
It’s already been proven that the human brain can pick up on physical stimulus on the Earth’s magnetic field22 and that China‘s People’s Liberation Army just last month announced how they’re developing high-tech weapons designed to disrupt brain functions and influence government leaders or even entire populations, according to a report by three open-source intelligence analysts23 and though the development of “Neurostrike” type of weapons isn’t new24, it’s certainly a trend of concern:
What could possibly go wrong? Or asking differently: is it already too late?25
We’re about to find out but my guess is that we will have to work hard with and on our Self to go beyond the Mind and carve out (or find) the space between AI driving us insane26 and accepting AI as a new religion27.
Technology may be just a tool and AI (at least for now) may still depend on us humans to keep developing it, however:
“Having moved away from family, community, and friendships, people increasingly seek salvation through technology – with some highly negative results. By empowering individuals, PCs, smart phones, and the rest have seemed to reduce the need for human connection. Increasingly, people are coming to see each other the same way machines see us – as data points to be fed into algorithms.”
— Patrick Wood28
Combined with the rapid downsizing of major computer circuits from centimeters to mere nanometers (being so tiny now that and with extremely sophisticated delivery mechanisms so that you could inhale them as smart dust, eat/drink them or be injected with)29, the wet dream of transhumanists30 could (have) become a reality for far more than those who have actually opted in31!
Besides obvious health reasons of course, it could even become important to study our “Blood”32 more deeply and understand how we could prove in future that we’re still “human”33 — just in case we have to.
From today’s perspective where the gender debate is all over the place, one could also argue that (especially in the West) populations are being “groomed” to more easily accept transhumanism via the booming transgender industry34.
However, as the word “trans” indicates, it’s merely an intermediary step towards a post-human world that nobody asked for in the first place.
Beyond the Rabbithole
Where there is darkness — light appears;
If people dream — hope is born;
When hope is born, solutions arise.
In this heavy article I don’t want to leave you without some light at the end of the tunnel as there are many solutions appearing which are worth spending time researching in order to understand them better:
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