“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.” – Bertrand Russell
The world is a hot bed for AI evolution at the moment. We believe so ardently our human ingenuity can make machines think just as fast as ourselves and even faster. We expect that they will expand our cognitive abilities and make us smarter in our dealings. We are beginning to design our ideal selves from our minds to reality with human-looking robots. The progress in chip technologies, algorithms and material science will surely make these robots more human-like than ever. It seems it’s only a matter of time that the level of AI may indeed on par with humans to handle many of our daily business.
When robots can think, talk and walk just like humans with faster brains on many daily things, are we, those biological humans without technological modifications, going to become of a lesser intelligence? The answer can be both: yes, if we stay the same way we live and think today; and no, if we believe that as nature’s creation, biological humans also evolve with time and capable of adapting to changes. On appearance, we as humans look the same as our great-grand-parents or great-great-grand-parents from centuries ago, but our life styles, life challenges we face, information we receive, and many capabilities required of us are no longer the same. Our brain evolves, as well as our capable level of intelligence.
Yet, we are shaped by what we have created. Whether it is a world of overwhelming information or superfluous connectivity, it triggers us to adapt physically and mentally. Automation, smart AI, etc. are going to help us everywhere, at home, at work, and on the road. However, as the technologies are getting smarter, are they making us smarter?
More than likely the answer is the opposite over time. As humans rely more on machine logics and help, our brain activities in fact decrease with time. We may become part of a machine evolution – we think in machine logic and follow machines’ orders more than we trust the messages from our own brain or body. Maybe some of us will become “superhuman” with technological help, or become super biological geniuses, but after all, it will not be the majority.
The convergence of physical, digital and biological world is considered as the central theme of the Fourth Industrial Evolution today. The advances of neural science and computing technologies together promotes AI development which in turn trigger the possibilities of genetic and neural engineering. Human-like robots and machine-like humans seem are going to walk side-by-side on the same street in the near future. Who are we then eventually?
Many complex neural illnesses, such as schizophrenia, have puzzled scientists throughout the history without the right answers or cures. In recent years through more extensive genetic comparisons, scientists are coming to terms to realize that some carry the markers of human evolution. A 2018 study published by Australian scientists verified that 79% of the condition associated with schizophrenia is of genetic origin. If we are willing to think from an open perspective, we indeed have many unknowns in our own natural biological evolution. Maybe they bear the answers to those untapped abilities that we human have yet to understand or develop but will become useful in time.
Looks like we still have hope, but the best hope is likely that we are willing to listen to those possibilities that may sound like a distant drum beat at the moment.