Why 'upgrading' humanity is a transhumanist myth

Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.

  • Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
  • Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
  • Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
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In VR, boys and girls learn differently

Study looks at who/what they prefer learning from

  • In a study, 33 girls preferred to learn from a young VR researcher named Marie — 33 boys did better with lessons from a robot drone
  • It's expected that the future of learning is VR
  • Is it better to be guided by someone like you, or something else entirely?
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How to be a good parent to artificial intelligence

Human values evolve. So how will we raise virtuous A.I.s?

  • Until we can design a mind that's superhuman and flawless, we'll have to settle for instilling plain old human values into artificial intelligence. But how to do this in a world where values are constantly evolving?
  • Many of our life choices today would be considered immoral by people in the Middle Ages — or even the 1970s, says Ben Goertzel, whose family personally experienced the sad state of LGBTQ acceptance in Southern New Jersey 50 years ago.
  • Raising an A.I. is a lot like raising kids, says Goertzel. Kids don't learn best from a list of rules, but from lived experience – watching and imitating their parents. A.I.s and humans will have to play and learn side by side, and evolve together as values adapt toward an increasingly technological future.
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What would it take to create a fully immersive virtual reality?

How could we create a technology capable of replacing our own reality?

The Cave by Wikimedia
  • Immersion would consist of a complete perception of existing in another world.
  • This idea has been the backbone of numerous stories and would be akin to The Matrix world.
  • Our current VR technology is nowhere near close to giving us this science fiction experience.
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Humans take psychedelics. Should robots?

Psychedelics are crude drugs. Could neuroscience and super-intelligent AI help us design something better?

  • The illegal status of psychedelic substances is a terrible thing, says Ben Goertzel. With everything happening behind closed doors, our societies are not developing the right set of cultural institutions to guide people in the productive use of psychedelics.
  • Once scientists have mastered artificial general intelligence (AGI), the psychedelic experience could be engineered for the modern world – it would be safer, less haphazard, and more meaningful. We would "trip" by jacking our brains into the superhuman AGI mind cloud.
  • "We're going to be exploring states of consciousness that go way beyond anything we can imagine now and way beyond anything that the very crude psychedelic drugs that exist allow us access to," Goertzel says.
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