Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Siegel, Pellissier, Kuszewski @ The Future of Emotional Health and Intelligence

American Society for Engineering Education: Why Diversity is so Important

Why there is no mind/body problem

Why Solitary Confinement Is The Worst Kind Of Psychological Torture

The Trifecta of Roommate Selection Technology: Privacy, Prejudice, And Diversity

The Maverick Nanny with a Dopamine Drip: Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
by Martine Rothblatt


comments

CygnusX1 on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 26, 2014)

instamatic on 'Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About Religious Freedom 200 Years From Now!' (Jul 25, 2014)

instamatic on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 25, 2014)

Giulio Prisco on 'Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About Religious Freedom 200 Years From Now!' (Jul 25, 2014)

Giulio Prisco on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 25, 2014)

instamatic on 'Should we have a right not to work?' (Jul 24, 2014)

instamatic on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 24, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work…

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Nanomedical Cognitive Enhancement
Jul 11, 2014
(5834) Hits
(0) Comments

Interview with Transhumanist Biohacker Rich Lee
Jul 8, 2014
(5612) Hits
(0) Comments

Virtually Sacred, by Robert Geraci – religion in World of Warcraft and Second Life
Jul 3, 2014
(4293) Hits
(0) Comments

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
Jul 5, 2014
(3583) Hits
(18) Comments



IEET > Life > Access > Enablement > Innovation > Implants > Health > Vision > Bioculture > Futurism > Contributors > Dick Pelletier

Print Email permalink (2) Comments (5892) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Sentient machines: the next step in human evolution


Dick Pelletier
Dick Pelletier
Ethical Technology

Posted: Jan 8, 2013

Building machines that process information the same way a brain does has been a dream for over 50 years. Artificial intelligence, fuzzy logic, and neural networks have all experienced some degrees of success, but machines still cannot recognize pictures or understand language as well as humans can.

Despite the many false starts though, George Mason University's Dr. James Albus believes sentient research is at a point similar to where nuclear physics was in 1905. Many experts believe Albus is correct. Talking smart phones, driverless cars, and intelligent robots are already here or on the way. And the following research projects represent proof that the quest to build sentient machines is alive and well:

DARPA SyNAPSE Program – SyNAPSE, Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics, is a DARPA-funded effort to build neuromorphic microprocessor systems that match the intelligence, physical size, and low power consumption of animal brains; and one day, human neurons.

In October 2011, a SyNAPSE team led by Dharmendra Modha at IBM's Almaden Research Center demonstrated a prototype chip containing 256 neurons, 262,144 synapses and 256 axons. Current work includes building a system that emulates 1 million spiking neurons and 1 billion synapses.

Blue Brain Project EPFL – International researchers using an IBM 'Blue Gene' supercomputer (thus the name Blue Brain), are reconstructing brains of different species; including the human brain, in silicon. Chief scientist Henry Markram predicts that with Moore's Lawfast-forwarding computer technologies, a full-scale human brain simulation of 86 billion neurons will be achieved by 2023.

This venture could lead to curing brain diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons; and one day, it may even give robots and other 'smart' machines simulated human-like emotions and consciousness.

'Smart' Cars – Carmakers are building vehicles with more computer safety features. Department of Transportation officials believe that 2020s driverless cars, armed with human-like sensitivity and computer logic and speed, will maneuver traffic more accurately; reduce accidents, and slash highway death tolls.

Invisible Combat VehiclesDepartment of Defense planners predict that by late 2020s, invisibility-cloaked combat equipment, combined with auto-fly drones will remove most soldiers from the dangers of war. Though these systems are capable of wielding horrific damages, experts believe they may actually lead to less destruction, becoming a deterrent force in wars, while assisting in the fight against terrorism.

Brain-Implantable Biomimetic ElectronicsUniversity of Southern California scientists recently developed implantable electronics that they believe might one day replace aging neurons. Foresight Institute consultant John Burch sees more and more technology like this working its way into our bodies.

By 2040, positive futurists believe we could be replacing all of our brain cells with materials that process thoughts faster than biological brains can. This faster brain would allow us to run multiple simulations in our mind before making decisions, which would reduce mistakes and raise human intelligence levels.

Burch describes how we would switch to the new brain: a pill would supply materials with instructions for nanobots (projected development – 2030s) to form new neurons and place them near existing cells to be replaced. These changes would be unnoticeable, but in six months, we will be enjoying our new brain.

Brain-Machine Interface – Cybernetics expert Christof Koch predicts BMIs, designed to work with nonbiological neurons, will connect our brain with machines for direct transfer of data into our minds.

Imagine a hard drive linked directly to your mind enabling you to 'download' memory implants for skill enhancements. This would allow actions to be performed that have not been learned directly. You could master any subject, or learn a foreign language – without studying.

Conclusion – As we trek through the coming decades, we see machines becoming more sentient; more like us; and by absorbing their speed, computing power and increased knowledge into our brains, we become more like them. Today, at least eighteen organizations are aggressively pursuing the quest to build sentient machines (Link). Where will all this technology take us? Stay tuned! Comments welcome.


Dick Pelletier is a weekly columnist who writes about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He's also appeared on various TV shows, and he blogs at Immortaltech.
Print Email permalink (2) Comments (5893) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


I think you are abusing the term “sentient”. How about taking a stab at a definition. I read a paper once (I can’t find it now) that said we can create a self-conscious machine easily, just give it a symbol that represents itself, and allow it to reason using that symbols. Done.

We can’t even agree whether other animals are sentient.

We don’t even agree on what “intelligence” means, which should be a much easier term to figure out.





@b.,

You are correct. Perhaps ‘cognitive’ would be more appropriate in describing tomorrow’s smart machines.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: A True Metal Band

Previous entry: Behavioural acceptance of Existing Superhumans: Path to equal acceptance of the differently abled

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
Williams 119, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford CT 06106 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376