We’re all cyborgs, and AI assistants will make us more human

In the classic 1980s dystopian sci-fi movieRoboCop, mortally wounded Detroit police officer Alex Murphy is reborn as a cyborg when his brain is implanted in a fully mechanical body. He comes back better and stronger than ever, so good at his job that later in the film, his fellow human officers go on strike to protest robots taking their jobs.

RoboCoppresents that classic image of a cyborg as a machine-augmented human. Being part man and part machine, Murphy melds the street smarts and instincts of a human officer with the strength, stamina, and durability of a machine to become a more effective cop.

We’re not particularly close to having the technology that would make that kind of robot-human hybrid possible, but what if I told you we’realreadycyborgs? It’s true. Humans have been using technology to augment our biology for millennia, and AI is going to accelerate this trend. It’s also going to make us more human.

Humans have been relying on technology to squeeze better performance out of our meat suits for as long as we’ve been around. What, other than technological augmentation, are eyeglasses? Hearing aids? Wheel chairs? Steroids to increase strength or caffeine to improve focus? Even less obvious technologies like industrial agriculture and modern medicine have a certain “cyborgness” to them. (A person riding a tractor can do the work of a dozen farmhands — sounds pretty cyborg to me.)

We’re not all sporting super-strength granting exoskeletons or downloading new skills into our brains just yet, but we fully assimilated to the cyborg age years ago. We actively construct ourselves using technology. It is, perhaps, the key feature of being human.

Some experts think we’re on the verge ofsomething altogether new. Whereas in the past, human enhancement has fixed deficiencies or provided only modest improvements, there are hints that we’re about to turn a corner that kicks human augmentation into overdrive. Rapid advancements in areas like gene editing, bioengineering, and machine learning mean we may be able to start improving ourselves in ways that have until now only existed in science fiction.

One of the most controversial technologies in our cyborg toolkit is artificial intelligence, which has the potential to vastly improve the human experience or make us irrelevant (depending on whose vision of the future you want to believe).

The debate between artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence augmentation (IA) has beenraging for decades. Will computer systems replace humans with a faster, smarter form of intelligence (AI) or will they augment our existing human intelligence and work alongside us (IA)?

The current trajectory of AI suggests that while some jobs will undoubtedly be taken by machines, the advances we’re making in AI will, by and large,augmentus, not replace us. We aren’t about to become obsolete. On the contrary, AI is making us even more complete cyborgs. In effect, the AI we see coming online today is actually IA.

Posted on 7wData.be.