The Cycle | December 03, 2012
>>> scientists have explored everything from the far reaches of outer space to the depths of ocean. the most complex thing we've discovered in the entire universe is the human brain . one inventor said the brain is the grandest biological frontier with hundreds of billions of cells interlinked through selections and the brain boggles the mind. we understand what's inside the cranium because reverse engineering the human brain may be the most important project in the universe. ray is one of the most brim yant people in the world and he's a futurist and mentor including the new one, how to create a mind, the secret of human thought revealed. welcome. how are you?
>> great to be with you.
>> thank you. so you talk about the importance of understanding the inner workings the brain and the mind. why is that so important, and what things do you predict will come the out of understandinging.
>> it will help us fix the brain better than we can. secondly, we have more insight into ourselves. that's the goal of art and science from the millennia. it will give us the models to create intelligent machines to make ursz smarter. our little gadgets make us smarter already, but they'll go inside the bodies and brains and actually expand or thinking. in the near future we'll have search engines that anticipate what you want, answer your questions before you ask them, things like that.
>> so in your book you talk a lot about the law of accelerated returns and pattern recognition theory of the mind. can you explain what those two things are and how they talk about the brain?
>> the wlau of accelerated returns is the information technology , which includes computers and communications and biological technologies but including understanding our brains is progressing expo tentally. doubl doubling in power every year. we can see inside a living brain with exquisite precision and see your thoughts kraetd your brain. that's part of the secret of human thinking. the recognition of theory of mane is the neokcortex, is based on recognizing patterns. by my account, some do simple jobs like there's a crust part in a capital a. some do high level jobs like she's pretty or that's funny. those recognizers are the same, but they exist at a different level of this grand hierarchy. that's the key to the neocortex. it's organized in a hierarchical fashion. we create that hierarchy ourselves from the moment we're born or even earlier.
>> you know, i've read with some interest about the steps you've taken to sort of do what's called a similarity with machine intelligence and human intelligence is equality or maybe it will overlap a little bit. what if you can talk about the significance of that moment would be and whether you -- how far off do you think that actually?
>> intelligence is the most important force in the universe. intelligence allowed us to overcome our problems and reshape the world. human life expectancy was 20 1,000 dwrergz and it's pushing 8 and goes into high gear driven forward by intelligence. we amplify our intelligence by creating machines that emulate our intelligence. they can go out and read everything, all medical journals , everything on the web, all books and really help guide us through the world of knowledge. i think computer and intelligence is equal by 2029 , 2030s will begin to merge with with it by having sbelgts machines inside our bodies and brains keeping us healthy and augmenting the immune system and enabling us to think in the cloud and are direct brain-to-brain communication and so on.
>> do you have ethical concerns about that merging human and machine?
>> the main ethical concern is technology say double-edged sword. ever since fire we used to keep us warm and used to burn down villages. these are powerful technologies can be used creatively and destructurively. we'll seen both sides in the 20th century . wee have seen a lot of movies about the future where the intelligent machines have it in for us. it takes comfort from the fact from we're already merging with these technologies. it's very widely distributed. a kid in africa with a smartphone has access to more intelligent knowledge than the president of the united states did years ago.
>> ray, aside from the idea that the machines will one day turn against us, and i fully believe they will, you know, there are plenty of reports that suggest that these gadgets and technologies are, in fact, making us dumber because we're relying on them so much it's not challenging us to have to outsmart the competition. this is happening over generations. so is this merging of man and machine ultimately going to be our demise, because we're not really quick-witted enough to see it coming?
>> there was a controversy when i went to college about calculator and kids wouldn't learn arithmetic. kids aren't learning it, but the calculators haven't gone away. these machines free us to do what we're uniquely suited to do, which is to be creative, create new knowledge.
>> i thought we were suited to hunt and gather. no?
>> we've supplemented that with our neocortex. the neocortex sort of turns raw aggression into writing a poem or creating a tv show and so on. the neocortex is a great sub limb naturor.
>> whether you talk about this coming sing later in the 2030s when we have surgically implanted computers into our body, is that enhancing what we already do or is that going to allow us to do things that human beings are not able to do like, say, fly because of things in your feet and whavr you or have perfect and total recall like steve, you know, because of something you have in your brain?
>> well, it will enable us to access all of human knowledge directly from our brains because we do that now with devices hanging from our belts. it will make us smarter. le it will enhance human intelligence . that's why we create tools so we can do things we couldn't otherwise do. but it's not going to enable to fly or be physically spirit. other technology may help us do that. we use planes and cars today to do things physically that we couldn't otherwise do. technology is an extension of ourselves. we create these tools to overcome our limitations.
>> all right. fantastic. looking forward to that future when we have computers inside us.
>> i'm scared.
>> thank you very much, sir.
>> my pleasure.
>> up neshgs, the tragedy starts a gun control controversy in an unlikely place. "sunday night football."