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AI, Transhumanism and the Next Technological Age

The relationship between technology and the self has always been strained. We’re happy to embrace its major societal advances, as well as the convenience it brings to our own lives. However, fear of the unintended consequences of what we’ve unleashed has a habit of creeping into our collective psyche.

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Just look at your smart phone. This powerful device continues to embed itself deep into our lives and society. Entrenched societal norms and governments are being challenged by the speed of information being shared across the globe on this device. Its constant influence dominates our social discourse and greatly shapes how many of us view people and world.

It’s also the hub for powerful wearables like the popular Apple Watch. Advanced biometrics and health data, once only in the realm of healthcare providers, are now at our fingertips in real time.

This creates an interesting dynamic. On one hand, quickly advancing technologies may be the solution to some of the world’s biggest problems, such as climate change and degenerative aging. On the other, as we surrender what it is to be human to technology, at what point do we lose our sense of self?

Fear of Artificial Intelligence

The thought of AI (artificial intelligence) achieving superhuman intelligence keeps futurists like Elon Musk awake at night. This fear was shared by the likes of the late physicist Stephen Hawkins. On the other hand, Google’s chief engineer and futurist Ray Kurzweil sees AI as no more or less a threat than any other technology.

Like many things, the truth probably falls somewhere between these extremes. It’s hard not to entertain the thought that a virtual entity powering so much of our connected world that we cannot compete with it. It takes our jobs, renders us obsolete and then self-perpetuates until we lose the ability to control it.

We easily imagine it because the fear of being overwhelmed by technology and progress has always been around. It’s usually triggered by major societal shifts, like the one we are experiencing now.

History and Media has Shaped Our Anxiety

Think back a minute to your history class of the Industrial Revolution. The era brought massive change to our society and gave rise to industrial saboteurs who feared being replaced by mechanization. The birth of the Computer Age brought similar fears of being replaced by “thinking” machines.

With the speed technology advances today, it’s no wonder our thoughts now turn to the AI achieving singularity (self-awareness). Will it be our savior or morph into a dystopian villain?

Science fiction is filled with plots that play to this anxiety. I have to think that Skynet in the movie Terminator has influenced many of our opinions. It depicts a powerful AI that took over the world and built robots to exterminate humans. For older folks, it was the emotionless voice of the sentient computer HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey that chills down their spines.

At the core of these stories is a persistent, nagging fear: The next technological advance we make could be the one that ultimately leaves humanity behind.

Transhumanism: The Next Step in Evolution

Society has reached a level of technological capacity that will surpass humans’ ability to keep pace through natural means. Rather than fear it, the philosophical movement of transhumanism (H+) is ready to embrace advanced sciences and technologies to “direct” evolution.

Its goal is to apply them to human biology to create a new, better posthuman condition. In layman’s terms, it essentially means implanting technology into our bodies to make us better.

An Old Idea Coming to Life

The fundamental idea of melding advanced technology with human biology is not new. Modern thought on transhumanism reaches back almost a century to 1924.

Science fiction writers and Hollywood producers also found it a fertile playground. A quick application of technology to enhance our body’s limitations is all the hero needed to prevail! On the other side, technology is the monster to overcome. But, it was always set in a future or galaxy far, far away.

What it did accomplish in the real world is to introduce and to some degree normalize the concept of transhumanism to the general population

If You Can’t Beat Them, is it Time to Join Them?

Bits and pieces of transhumanism are already here. Artificial limbs controlled by your brain are getting more sophisticated with each passing year, with some surgically implanted to the bone. Bionic eye prototypes have been created and implanted in humans for testing.

Closer to the mainstream, sprinter Oscar Pistorious’ two lower-leg prosthetic carbon running blades created a stir more than a decade ago. This opened a big debate over the fairness of using prosthetic enhancements in sports.

Also, think about how many times you interact with your smart phone in a 24-hour period. We do it so much that scientists have discovered it is rewiring our brains. They have quickly become an extension of us.

In an increasingly complex and technological world, you may argue this is a good thing. Our biology is just adapting to the environment as we have done for millions of years.

Transhumanism is simply pushing to take our bodies further. For instance, your smart phone is with you around the clock. So why not just embed that technology into your body to interact directly with your brain?

You’ll gain things like enhanced peer-to-peer communication, real-time vital sign monitoring and virus/disease early warning, access to information at will (via augmented reality), improved digital security and a medium for seamless financial transactions. The list of potential benefits goes on.

The Tipping Point

That fine line—between mastering technology and being mastered by it—is where humans will always struggle. No individual wants to feel they are lesser than any man-made system or technology.

The technological leap of transhumanism will no doubt foment that fear and anxiety. This won’t be helped by wealthy early adopters, creating inequities between the technology-upgraded “haves” and poorer “have nots.” Hopefully, society can overcome this through scale along proven technological mass adoption curves.

So the question becomes at what point do the benefits of transhumanism outweigh our innate fear of change? We’re closer than you think.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Ambitions

As if Tesla and SpaceX weren’t enough to keep him busy, Elon Musk is also dipping into transhumanism. His Neuralink tech demo this past September outlined plans to create a small and easily upgradable brain-machine interface for the masses.

He claims health benefits like solving paralysis, addiction, anxiety, brain damage and a host of other problems, and eventual interaction between your brain and AI. Although the underlying tech is not new, he aims to make it smaller, more easily applied (well, in a hole in your skull) and upgradeable.

Knowing his history with ambitious projects, I wouldn’t bet against him. The Verge has a great video discussing the Neuralink event, neuroscience and the tech.

For a Deeper Dive into Transhumanism

I highly recommend checking out the humanityplus.org The site provides a substantial, central account of responsible transumanism by leading transhumanists. The site’s FAQ page is a fantastic read. Enjoy!

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Fighting Hurricanes with Technology

If you live in Hurricane-prone areas there may be ways to fight these Hurricanes using technology. We will explore a few methods to reduce the impact of hurricanes.

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Using technology to fight hurricanes

Many people know about the damage hurricanes can cause to coastal areas in the Caribbean, Florida and many states along the East and Gulf coast, But did you know that there are ways we could fight them using current and new technologies? In this post, we will discuss a few methods experts believe would lessen hurricane impact.

Cloud Seeding

One way to fight hurricanes is by using aircraft to seed the clouds with silver iodide. This process, known as cloud seeding, has been shown to be effective in reducing the intensity of storms. Another promising method is using lasers to break up the hurricane’s eyewall. This technique is still in development, but it has the potential to weaken hurricanes before they make landfall.

Windbreaks

Another way to reduce the impact of hurricanes is by building structures that can withstand high winds. These structures, known as windbreaks, can help to protect homes and businesses from damage. Finally, we can also use technology to help us evacuate before a storm hits. By using apps and websites like Hurricane Tracker, we can stay up-to-date on the latest hurricane information and make sure we are prepared in case of an emergency.

Artificial Intelligence

For a few years now, AI has taken center stage in many areas of human effort. While it has played an assisting role in nearly all endeavors, you might be surprised to know that AI is also helping fight hurricanes–though not in the front lines. The Dutch Red Cross utilized social media data along with scientific information available to get aid to people who needed it most during the Philippines typhoon. We could learn from their example.

Super Cooling the Seas

You can trust scientists to come up with weird ways of solving problems, but that is their way of thinking and it works. So why say no? It has been found that the temperature most suitable for hurricane occurrence is set at 26.5 Celsius. That implies that hurricanes can be prevented from happening if the sea is not allowed to heat up to that particular temperature. To do this, there would be a need to super cool the seas. To achieve this, a team of scientists invented a wave powered pump that would surreptitiously move hot water down to depths as far as 650 feet. With thousands of these devices in the seas close to hurricane prone regions, scientists are hoping to silence hurricanes.

Bubble Curtains

The end goal of this method is to cool the waters of the sea, but it uses a different means than the other method. The bubble curtain method involves placing perforated pipes below the sea surface and then passing a stream of compressed air into these pipes. The idea is that the bubbles of cold air will rise to the surface and cool the Sea water located on top, therefore preventing hurricanes from occurring.

Conclusion

Hurricanes are a formidable foe, and it now seems there may be several ways to stop or contain them using science. Whether we will ever be able to fully stop hurricanes is unsure, but science may give us the answer one day. Only time will tell how this war against nature plays out.

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AI in a Human Resource World

Today the Human Resources world is under pressure to find ways to become more efficient in the selection process. AI seems to be the answer to their challenges.

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AI can help the Human Resources world become more efficient

In today’s business world, we all worry about the efficiencies of our companies, some more than most it seems. Take human resources departments for example, with the market for jobs the way it is today they are under constant pressure to find ways to speed up the interview and selection process. One way that many companies are turning to is artificial intelligence (AI).

There are a number of ways that AI can help make the process more efficient. As human resources departments become more and more inundated with data, artificial intelligence can be a powerful tool to help them become more efficient. Here are some ways that AI can assist HR:

  • Automating repetitive tasks: Many HR tasks are repetitive and time-consuming, such as sorting through resumes or scheduling interviews. AI can help by automating these tasks, freeing up HR professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives.
  • Analyzing data: AI can sift through large amounts of data quickly and identify patterns that may be useful for HR decision-making. For example, AI can help assess which employees are most likely to leave the company, or what training programs are most effective.
  • Enhancing communication: AI chatbots can provide employees with quick and easy answers to common HR questions, such as how to change their health insurance benefits or request time off. This can help reduce the workload of HR staff.
  • Improving recruiting: AI can assist in the recruiting process by identifying potential candidates and conducting initial screening interviews. This can help save time and ensure that only the most qualified candidates are brought in for further consideration.
  • AI is quickly becoming a valuable tool for human resources departments. By automating repetitive tasks, analyzing data, enhancing communication, and improving recruiting, AI can help HR professionals be more efficient and effective in their jobs. Some companies are even using AI to handle the entire selection process from start to finish. This means that human resources professionals can focus on other tasks, such as onboarding new employees.

What do you think about the role of AI in human resources? Do you think it can help make the process more efficient? Let us know in the comments.

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The Human Element in Artificial Intelligence

What role will humans play in the future of Artificial Intelligence? Can AI learn the human element known as empathy to become sentient?

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Artificial Intelligence and Human Empathy

There is ample discussion around what role humans will play in the future of Artificial Intelligence (A. I.). This is a topic that has been debated for some time now. Many people believe that A.I. will eventually take over most human tasks, and have already begun to do so, but there is one element that cannot be replaced by machines. Without it, A.I. will never be able to reach its full potential… This element is empathy. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of the human element in A. I. and discuss why it is essential to our success!

Empathy-The Human Element

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a critical part of emotional intelligence and is essential for building successful relationships, both personal and professional. When we interact with others, empathy allows us to see the world from their perspective and understand their feelings. This understanding can then be used to resolve conflicts, build trust, and create connections.

The Argument

In the present day, machines are not yet capable of empathy. They process and give the most suitable response based on the data they’ve collected and understood. This means that they are not able to understand human emotions or supply the same level of support that humans can. For example, a machine as a customer service representative will ask you the same questions and might not be able to alter its responses properly by your emotions, because they cannot “see where you’re coming from” — essentially, they cannot understand it. Therefore, empathy is so important in A.I.; without it, we would lose the ability to connect with others and resolve many emotional conflicts.

There is also the argument that empathy isn’t required in A.I, because it’s a machine and will do well without the burden of understanding human emotions. This is true in some cases, but it is not a global solution. Some emotions are necessary in specific situations, while unnecessary in others; the same as it is for us. To resolve conflicts efficiently, artificial intelligence must be allowed, or taught, to see the situation(s) from multiple perspectives and create the most ideal solution to any and every kind of problem and understand when emotion is needed and when it is not. Therefore, emotional intelligence and empathy is so important.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as artificial intelligence (A.I.) continues to evolve, the debate over whether the human element is important in A.I. rages on. Do you think empathy is an essential human quality? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below! We would love to hear from you! Until next time, take care!

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