Extending Human Intelligence


I will start with a paragraph from one of my favourite books on AI, Life 3.0, where it quotes the following:

Imagine a “landscape of human competence,”
having lowlands with labels like “arithmetic” and “rote memorization,”
foothills like “theorem proving” and “chess playing,” and
high mountain peaks labeled “locomotion,” “hand-eye coordination” and “social interaction.”
Advancing computer performance is like water slowly flooding the landscape.
A half century ago it began to drown the lowlands, driving out human calculators and record clerks, but leaving most of us dry.
Now the flood has reached the foothills, and our outposts there are contemplating retreat.
We feel safe on our peaks, but, at the present rate, those too will be submerged within another half century.
I propose that we build Arks as that day nears, and adopt a seafaring life!

- Hans Moravec

A wild thought. AGI could be inevitable and I want it to be. In this kind of world, human beings should not just be viewed as pets in the eyes on these new beings, but as adversaries and even partners in the game of life. Life 3.0 will require that human life transcends from merely being physical to being digital. Just the same way that we can move our hands with our minds, we should be able to scan a computer, traverse the web, perform data analysis, fight and contain a virus and do all of this using our minds and not user interfaces. We have user interfaces like mice, keyboards and touchscreens. Now we have voice and even eyes, but what if our brains were the interface? Or even better, we became the computer itself. We can move from the physical to the digital and act just as naturally as we did in the physical. Just as we learn how to walk, we will learn how to move from directory to directory, website to website, computer to computer, network to network, device to device. With each shift, we learn how to operate within that framework, just as a child would learn how to walk. Flexing our digital muscles and practising more complex movements and maneuvers. We are already General Intelligence, let's make ourselves better by plugging into technology and becoming the true and undefeated intelligence.

The reason human beings are the most dominant species on earth is not just because we can think but because we can communicate with one another. Therefore, there should be a way for one general intelligence to communicate with another for extended periods of time, without the need to have the physical element to direct this. In essence, one would have a digital mind that communicates and learns from other digital minds continuously and indefinitely. Once the physical element is no longer present, the digital mind still exists and can be interacted with. It is persistent in this digital realm.

The internet allows human beings to communicate with one another and leave traces of who they are through the trails of information that they post. This information is kept in data centres and transmitted over large geographical distances through undersea cables in optical and electric form. Is it possible to have entire minds to communicate with other entire minds through these systems? Let's perform a Gedankenexperiment or thought experiment as Albert Einstein would put it. It would make sense that the digital minds would operate in a server, where they are generated in a sense. Let's call this the digital mind generator. Like electricity being produced, it produces intelligence of a certain essence that is similar to a certain physical mind. This intelligence is simply information that is streamed. The generator sends these communications over the internet and communicates with other digital minds that are copies of other physical minds. In doing so, there is continuous and indefinite knowledge sharing at a large scale. In fact, it is at a scale of global propositions at an unprecedented computational rate.

It is with this model that many discoveries will be made. It is with this model that we will have aligned general intelligences that can act on our behalf as humans and act in our best interests. Instead of building an artificial one and hoping that it will like us, we must replicate ourselves in the digital realm and effectively become the digital general intelligence. Instead of training an AI model that believes in what we believe as a whole, we can have many AIs that believe in the atomic unit of the human race, the individual himself.

It is in this moment that I express the need for individual AIs, a project that is based on the fundamental idea that lead to the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Capitalism and Technological progress. I am taking about individualism. It is the belief that the individual is the maker of his destiny and he has the agency, the permission and the responsibility to make of his life as he wills it. This idea must also extend to AI, technology, commerce, governance and so on. It is with this idea that I make my argument. However, individualism doesn't mean that people do not collaborate and fend for themselves in a free-for-all. Not at all. It means that all people are allowed to express themselves in a society that encourages this expression. Individualism can only be achieved in a societal framework, and in a sense, it is a belief of a large group of people to maintain and even protect their individual selves and reject the tyranny of the group. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.". Groupthink is not always good and can be a fatal catastrophe in many cases. The biggest wars, genocides and famines have always been caused by blanket ideologies that seek to control all things in a society at the expense of the individual. They do this in the ethos of peace and security. If only the victims knew the cost of that peace and security.

In the race to build an Artificial General Intelligence, we need some people thinking about building an Extendable Digital Intelligence for all human beings to compete in this new world. As the story of Noah goes, the flood is coming and we must build an ark and adopt a seafaring life.