Microsoft predicts everyone will soon have an AI "second self" to boost intelligence
Microsoft researchers work to create a digital "alter ego" that will know everything about you and make you much smarter.
A new book by two industry titans predicts that in the near future everyone will have a digital “alter ego”.
The book “The Future Computed” comes from Microsoft’s President Brad Smith and the EVP of AI and Research Harry Shum. In this freely-available (and worth checking out) look into what's just around the bend, the two argue that companies have to embrace AI if they want to be successful going forward. But progress can move faster if researchers do not sit on the knowledge they are developing but share it with competitors, ensuring that AI will reach its full potential.
One big AI advancement that the two tech gurus predict will be created within the next 20 years is the advent of digital assistants. We are not talking the current versions of Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa, but assistants that control all aspects of your life, knowing everything about you (with your permission). Internally, Microsoft uses the words “alter ego” or “a second self” to describe the kind of amazingly sophisticated digital help you’ll be getting.
Microsoft president Brad Smith and EVP of AI and Research Harry Shum. Credit: Microsoft Corp.
Another interesting point the tech giants make involves the importance of humanities. The authors propose that once AI is close to being given decision-making responsibilities, researchers with backgrounds in humanities will be needed to guide the AI to become more human-like in its thinking. Tech companies can help create the tools, but how the society uses them should be part of a much broader conversation. Smith and Shum also highlight the significance of starting to discuss and coming to a consensus on the ethics of AI.
"We make the point that tech companies will know more than anybody else about how the technology works, but that doesn't mean that tech companies will know best how AI should be used in ways that are societally responsible and beneficial," Smith said in an interview with Business Insider.
What are some of the abilities that your future digital “alter ego” might have? While Microsoft hasn’t necessarily shared many details of such plans, other industry insiders have some ideas. For one, our communication with such an assistant will likely be conversational, but instead of talking to one out loud, the interaction might take place entirely in your head.
Elon Musk is betting on that kind of future as well, founding Neuralink to create a brain-computer interface.
Another advance to look forward to - the AI second self will likely make you much smarter. It will be able to not only keep track of where you need to go, who you need to see, what pill you need to take, or order things for you based just on what you are thinking, but it will be an inexhaustible supply of immediately available information, calculations and well-informed decisions for you to make.
An AI layer will be “amplifying human ingenuity in untold ways”, write Smith and Shum.
If we don’t get enslaved or somehow destroyed by AI, as Elon Musk and other experts also often caution, a future with a digital second self is certainly worth looking forward to.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
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Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.