What is transhumanism. Is man becoming a technology?
Scientists are one step away from a breakthrough. Elon Musk has already connected the brain of a pig to a computer a few months ago and he doesn’t intend to stop there. Transhumanism is not coming closer to us, however. This idea is already with us. Internet of Bodies raises new questions about human safety in the world of artificial intelligence.
The brain is a computer with the most perfect processor – a slogan that has become a bit of a truism, but still technology is not able to match the power of nature. Scientists agree that there is only one “but”. Man fails to live up to this enormous potential. And only a small part of the truth lies in the lack of willingness to cross further barriers. There is more truth in the car analogy. Ferrari’s engine will not give us a great profit if we put it in an outdated model bus. Justin Sanchez of Battelle Memorial Institute points out that we are limited in our perception and interaction with the world by the basic speed of our nervous system. But as it argues our brains could adapt to a non-human medium. Connecting the brain to a computer – transhumanism – is no longer just a product of writers’ or screenwriters’ fantasies.
Understanding Machines – Understanding Humans
– There are many definitions of transhumanism. One of it says it is the interaction of humans with machines, robots, computers or simply artificial intelligence. The distance between man and machine is shrinking, and in a sense people are becoming dependent on these systems without being able to e.g. make decisions without machine support. If we look at transhumanism in this way, it’s already the era we’re living in, which was presented to us in his stories and novels, for example by Stanislaw Lem,” he says Dr. Maciej Kawecki, an expert in new technologies and the president of the Lem Institute, who will speak at the Man 4 online conference on June 15.0 organized by SI-Consulting.
Global human enhancement market to reach $84 billion by 2020. According to Expert Market Research – one of the leading market research and business analysis firms – it will grow 23% annually to reach $298 billion by 2026. These amounts include spending m.in. The development of virtual reality, online assistants, or wearable technologies that incorporate advanced electronics.
– Humans are increasingly being not only supplemented but replaced by machines and this trend was and is evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is enough to look at the VR technology. It allowed high-level specialists to assist or even instruct technicians from their place of residence, e.g. in machine maintenance. They did not have to travel to factories, and even there, fewer people could be on the production floor at the same time. This reduced the risk of disease, which could have stopped the entire line – describes Paweł Wala from SI-Consulting, a company specializing in the implementation of IT solutions that support management and optimize business processes of enterprises.
We’ll play Cyberpunk with monkeys?
However, the use of artificial intelligence as an aid to industry, education or the military is just one step to embodying transhumanism in practice. Robots that replace humans in repetitive tasks or complex algorithms that analyze thousands of data in order to provide a solution on a platter, no longer shock anyone. We are still incredulous about the possibility of “transplanting” the human brain into immortal mechanical tissue. According to scientists, the biggest problem remains the neuroplasticity of our brain. A mechanism that perfectly keeps up with its natural surroundings, but puts up barriers when trying to connect it to a computer.
Very interesting data brings a report from Kaspersky, a company that has been involved in cybersecurity since 1997. A large study of 14,500 adults from 16 countries in Europe and North Africa found clear results. Most people were clear that they want human enhancements to be used for the benefit of humanity, with 53% saying they should be used to improve quality of life. In all countries, the goal of any human augmentation was to improve overall physical health (40%) or vision (33%). Some respondents have even expressed a desire to connect smartphones to their bodies.
It’s the Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology being developed m.in. in military labs could bring a huge leap in speed between thought and its final realization. What could facilitate warfare and allow weapons to be controlled by mere “mind power,” could also in the future enable all those whose bodies (except the brain) fail to perform their basic functions. Examples? In Australia, researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have announced that they will soon begin clinical trials of the bionic eye on humans. Thanks to this solution, blind people will have a chance to restore their sight. Meanwhile, French startup NextMind has launched a wearable device equipped with a brain-computer interface that provides real-time control over electronic devices.
We also can’t forget about Elon Musk, whose company Neuralink connected the brains of pigs to computers. Musk announces that soon – using the same technology – monkeys will fight their first duel in the world of computer games. Who knows if the eccentric visionary won’t go further and invite humans to compete with animals too.
We are already becoming trans…
Artificial intelligence that turns off the light when you are not in a room? Refrigerator that tells you what you need to buy as supplies run out? Internet of Things or – as others prefer – smart devices also no longer surprise anyone. The smartphone, smart home, and many other devices with the prefix smart will cease to be “space” technology. They are becoming more commonplace, and the possibilities are only limited by the bandwidth of the Internet. Which of course is changing with the advent of the 5G era.
– Companies are wondering how to use this type of technology to better understand the customer and respond to their needs and expectations. There are also questions about the role of employees. It’s about the requirements they will face due to new technologies and their needs in the dynamically changing job market – adds Paweł Wala, who will also speak at the Man 4 conference on 15 June.0.
We already allow electronics to study our activities and, on this basis, create more and more far-reaching analyses of our health.
The Internet of Bodies is already with us, and it doesn’t matter that most of us are not so aware. The Walletmor company, which is headed by Wojciech Paprota, has developed chips that replace payment cards. However, one of the Swedish corporations has implanted willing people with devices, which can open doors and run office equipment. As never before, the question of the security of our data returns.
– The fact that artificial intelligence is already able to more effectively analyze information about our health and make a faster diagnosis than a doctor should be taken with the blessing of the inventory. However, can we be sure that the data from our smartwatch will not fall into the hands of the insurer, who will calculate a higher premium based on it?? Wouldn’t the surveillance of an employee go a step too far, as a chip placed in his finger will inform about his every move?? We should start answering these questions pretty soon, because the Internet of Bodies is not an invention of the future, but of the present – warns Paweł Wala from SI-Consulting.
Ethics in the wake of technology
We are already seeing a wide range of practical technologies deployed in everyday areas of our lives, such as health and social care, sports, education and transportation. Disturbing trends are resurfacing in cases of attempts to harness the power of the human mind in the military. “U.S. Space Force” is the newest branch of the U.S. military and the most dependent on advanced technology. Work is in progress there m.in. on the creation of “robotic agents” who would be given greater autonomy in decision making while reducing the burden on the human controlling factor.
– It’s worth looking more broadly and considering where the process of perfecting humans and the world has been successful, and at what point we enter a new world where humans are trying to keep up with machines designed only to gain an advantage over other humans – concludes Wala.