Merging With Our Technology

19-Kurzweil2-master180Ray Kurzweil at The New York Times:

Many observers of A.I. and the other 21st-century exponential technologies like biotechnology and nanotechnology attempt to peer into the continuing accelerating gains and fall off the horse. Dormehl ends his book still in the saddle, discussing the prospect of conscious A.I.s that will demand and/or deserve rights, and the possibility of “uploading” our brains to the cloud. I recommend this book to anyone with a lay scientific background who wants to understand what I would argue is today’s most important revolution, where it came from, how it works and what is on the horizon.

“Heart of the Machine,” the futurist Richard Yonck’s new book, contains its important insight in the title. People often think of feelings as secondary or as a sideshow to intellect, as if the essence of human intelligence is the ability to think logically. If that were true, then machines are already ahead of us. The superiority of human thinking lies in our ability to express a loving sentiment, to create and appreciate music, to get a joke. These are all examples of emotional intelligence, and emotion is at both the bottom and top of our thinking. We still have that old reptilian brain that provides our basic motivations for meeting our physical needs and to which we can trace feelings like anger and jealousy. The neocortex, a layer covering the brain, emerged in mammals two hundred million years ago and is organized as a hierarchy of modules. Two million years ago, we got these big foreheads that house the frontal cortex and enabled us to process language and music.

more here.

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