Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Daily Mail has claimed that the super intelligence of a new race of cybernetic enhanced humans will be able to solve wicked problems such as Climate Change.
‘Superintellingence’ of AI and humans working together could solve climate change and end wars, researchers claim
‘Wicked’ problems are difficult to solve due to many interacting systems
These types of problems include climate change and geopolitical conflict
Human computation merges human intelligence and AI to solve problems
In the fight against ‘wicked’ problems, computers may be humans’ best allies. Researchers from the Human Computation Institute and Cornell University say that the combination would create a superintelligence, and it could take on growing issues like climate change and geopolitical conflict.
New technologies use crowd-sourced input and interactive tools to produce collaborative results that go beyond traditional problem-solving, they claim.
Wicked problems are those which are difficult to solve because of the complexity of the underlying issues.
They involve many interacting systems which are always changing, and the solutions have unforeseen consequences, according to the Human Computation Institute.
By joining with computer intelligence, humans could expand upon their own abilities to create ‘multidimensional collaborative networks,’ the researchers say.
This could more effectively produce solutions.
In general I’m a fan of human augmentation; Cochlear implants to restore hearing to the profoundly deaf, and soon retinal implants to restore sight to the blind, what’s not to like. Even brain implants, say to give the recipient perfect recall of people’s names, or instant mastery of physical skills or a foreign language, or health implants which maintain balance and warn of problems – well we’ve already got heart pacemakers.
But the science has its dark side. Some of the early experiments into neural implants were ethically dubious, for example there were attempts to change the sexual orientation of homosexuals, and rather dodgy experiments to help people with severe depression, by giving them the ability to ping their own pleasure centres.
As society’s traumatic experience with addictive drugs has shown, it only takes a small push to tip a normal person into insanity. The people who had the pleasure implants mostly had to be physically restrained, when doctors took the buzz button away from them. A woman who had an experimental libido implant demanded it be removed.
As an IT expert who has taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence, I have no doubt artificial enhancements to intelligence will become possible, maybe even routine, within my lifetime. But lets just say I would be nervous about the consequences of abruptly giving a normal human volunteer superhuman intellectual abilities, without a lot of preliminary research, to establish what effect such brain modifications have on someone’s emotional stability.