Artificial Intelligence, science fiction
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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us ‘Godlike’

Neural NanotechnologyAn artistic rendering of a neural network with an artificial connection in a nanotechnology concept.

Once we’re cyborgs, he says, we’ll be funnier, sexier and more loving.

Futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil predicts humans are going to develop emotions and characteristics of higher complexity as a result of connecting their brains to computers.

“We’re going to be funnier. We’re going to be sexier. We’re going to be better at expressing loving sentiment,” Kurzweil said at a recent discussion at Singularity University. He is involved in developing artificial intelligence as a director of engineering at Google but was not speaking on behalf of the company.

Kurzweil predicts that in the 2030s, human brains will be able to connect to the cloud, allowing us to send emails and photos directly to the brain and to back up our thoughts and memories. This will be possible, he says, via nanobots — tiny robots from DNA strands — swimming around in the capillaries of our brain. He sees the extension of our brain into predominantly nonbiological thinking as the next step in the evolution of humans — just as learning to use tools was for our ancestors.

And this extension, he says, will enhance not just our logical intelligence but also our emotional intelligence. “We’re going to add more levels to the hierarchy of brain modules and create deeper levels of expression,” he said. To demonstrate, he gave a hypothetical scenario with Google co-founder Larry Page.

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“So I’m walking along, and I see Larry Page coming, and I think, ‘I better think of something clever to say.’ But my 300 million modules in my neocortex isn’t going to cut it. I need a billion in two seconds. I’ll be able to access that in the cloud — just like I can multiply intelligence with my smartphone thousands fold today.”

In addition to making us cleverer in hallways, connecting our brains to the Internet will also make each of us more unique, he said.

“Right now, we all have a very similar architecture to our thinking,” Kurzweil said. “When we can expand it without the limitations of a fixed enclosure” — he pointed to his head — “we we can actually become more different.”

“People will be able to very deeply explore some particular type of music in far greater degree than we can today. It’ll lead to far greater individuality, not less.”

This view is in stark contrast to a common perception, often portrayed in science fiction, that cyborg technologies make us more robotic, less emotional and less human. This concern is expressed by Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, head of neuroengineering at Duke University, who fears that if we rely too much on machines, we’ll lose diversity in human behavior because computers operate in black and white — ones and zeros — without diversion.

We’re going to expand the brain’s neocortex and become more godlike.

But Kurzweil believes that being connected to computers will make us more human, more unique and even godlike.

“Evolution creates structures and patterns that over time are more complicated, more knowledgable, more creative, more capable of expressing higher sentiments, like being loving,” he said. “It’s moving in the direction of qualities that God is described as having without limit.”

“So as we evolve, we become closer to God. Evolution is a spiritual process. There is beauty and love and creativity and intelligence in the world — it all comes from the neocortex. So we’re going to expand the brain’s neocortex and become more godlike.”

But will brain nanobots actually move out of science fiction and into reality, or are they doomed to the fate of flying cars? Like Kurzweil, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab, thinks that nanobots in our brains could be the future of learning, allowing us, for example, to load the French language into the bloodstream of our brains. James Friend, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC San Diego focused on medical nanotechnology, thinks that we’re only two to five years away from being able to effectively use brain nanobots, for example to prevent epileptic seizures….

For the rest of this fascinating and much longer article, use this link:

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I made my bones as an advertising copywriter. My TV, radio and print ads have amused millions of people and helped sell tons of cleaning products, coffee, macadamia nuts and other goodies. But I prefer that other kind of fiction: short stories and novels. My first published novel, Mindclone, is a near-future look at the amusing and serious consequences of brain-uploading. It’s garnered mostly five star reviews. The sequel is percolating in my brain even now. Stay tuned.

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