IEET > Vision > HealthLongevity > Enablement > Futurism
‪Will our Kids be a Different Species?‬
Juan Enriquez   Jun 6, 2012   TEDTalks  

Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now? At TEDxSummit, Juan Enriquez sweeps across time and space to bring us to the present moment—and shows how technology is revealing evidence that suggests rapid evolution may be under way.




COMMENTS
Scientifically, the word species specifically means the ability to reproduce together. Unless you want to add the word "naturally" (and open a whole 'nother can of worms), I would argue that, due to technology, it is far more likely that we will never again speciate.
I don't remember if possessing super intelligence was mentioned in this video, but I came across a question that interested me and I found relative to transhumanism; Is there really a need for super intelligence? Also, here's a could of points I came across from the source of the question the question. It is a thread about the implausibility of super-intelligent aliens. It includes some things I said:

Akurian452
Jun 6 2012, 08:05 PM

Perhaps if it was artificially created, but that would pose the problem of why the creators would want it smarter than them (as this could be risky), pose the question of how could this even be done, and also take us somewhat off topic (as this thread is more for discussing natural lifeforms, not hypothetical created ones).

That wouldn't work though, as even artificially created life forms still have to follow basic laws of biology and physics.

Limitations imposed by biology and physics is why, for instance, we'll never have things like the giant super-powered monsters of the Godzilla movies. Because no matter how many features you put in to overcome size problems (especially in the flying giant monsters), the problems of blasting lasers/radioactive fire from the mouth, etc., it still just wouldn't work. Some things are just plain impossible.
Similarly, no matter how much you customise an artificially created life form, there's still no way to overcome the problem that super intelligence would require a brain that would use so much energy that the rest of the body would be unable to function. As I said many times before, intelligence is costly, and normal sapience, like what we humans have, is almost certainly the upper limit.

Akurian452


Isn't that what we are kinda doing with our computing and robotic technology? This may sound transhumanistic, but some scientists and people say that the solution to the problem you mentioned is merging with our technology, be it via brain implants or mind upload (which would probably require a quantum computer) or some other means. An alien race that accomplishes this (which would be classified as a post-singularity race) would potentially have computing and information storing abilities that exceed organic brains



That's a common misconception. In actual fact, computers do not possess any intelligence, they merely mimic it. Even the world's greatest supercomputer is actually beneath even a microbe, as even a microbe has some small level of independence. Computers and robots can only act according to their programming. Robots can be made to mimic life but they are not life any more than an actor playing a supernatural being in a film is a supernatural being in real life.
Furthermore, people who make these big claims about merging brains with computers and creating "super brains" have yet to provide any evidence to back up their claims, normally only saying things like "because computers are better now than they used to be, this automatically means they'll [insert wild technological fantasy here] in the future".

"Exactly. A computer has an IQ of 0, it doesn't "know" anything. It computes; it is essentially a thinking machine (as in a machine that thinks, not as in a machine that possesses independent thought). You put in information, it computes with it, and outputs different information. However if you were to take a human brain, put it in a tank, and deprive it of any outside sensory information it will still be capable of thought. It would "create" information (information, like matter and energy, cannot really be created or destroyed but you get my point) without any input, just by extrapolating from the information it already has stored in it. In fact it's well known that when a human is deprived of sensory input, such as in an isolation tank, it can result in hallucinations as the brain just generates some false sensory input to cope.

Adding computers to your brain won't make you any smarter, no more than carrying a calculator around with you makes you better at math. It would certainly be a useful way of storing information you can't seem to do on your own, such as exact dates for obscure historical events or equations you find too complicated. It would probably be better though just to have some kind of interface so that you could just look up whatever you wanted. Just think a question and have the computer whisper the answer in the back of your mind, or just bring up the wikipedia page. And no matter how many computers you enhance your brain with there will always be the potential for someone with a natural, non-enhanced brain to out-think you. The thing is, the human brain is the most powerful, most complex computer known to man. Some scientists think that the human brain is so complicated that something as simple as the human brain can't comprehend it. It might be too complex for it to understand itself. That's not to say that computers aren't catching up. We already have computers that have the computing power of the human brain, but they still aren't as good.

I think we need to rethink what intelligence means. I don't think that any sophont is any more or less intelligent than any other. They might know things humans don't, and as such seem more intelligent, but with no knowledge they would have just as much potential for learning and understanding as any human."

"adding computers to a brain will merely allow you to access information better (which you could do anyway by accessing databases not connected to your brain) and a person with no computers in the brain could still potentially out-think you."
Here's some continued arguments from the thread I mentioned:

"Though perhaps this artificially created organism is not being designed to have a "more powerful brain", but to have specific traits that can increase intelligence- like the naturally occuring variations in humans that give some people exceptional memory, mathematical or lingual capability.



Well, then you would just have an organism who is as smart as the smartest human.
The concept of a being far above any human in intelligence though is still no more than a fantasy that only works if one ignores biological and physical laws.

T.Neo


To be entirely fair, computers are currently superior to us- in some areas, but inferior in others.

When a computer is running a videogame (for example), or simply displaying an image on a screen, it's performing a task with extreme ease, that you or I would find excruciatingly difficult.



That just means they can operate faster. The fact still remains that no matter how impressive a computer's processing power is, it still can't actually think.
Parasky's sensory deprivation example did a good job of highlighting one of the reasons the things a computer does can not be compared to actual thought. Computers only compute information put into them and act according to programming. Brains create information on their own and use it in their own way.

Akurian452


from the source I mentioned earlier, they say that one of their main goals is to ensure that those technologies are available to everyone. Though I understand your point that such a drastic alteration would be irreversible if you didn't want it anymore.



The thing I don't get about transhumanism is why anyone would even want to "improve" humans. If those people took some more time to study biology they'd realise that humans are already incredibly impressive organisms. Our intelligence is simply immense (it always bothers me when people try to trivialise sapience and act as if we need to get "smarter" when we are already smarter than all the millions of other species on our planet and presumably equal to any sapient alien race). Our hands give us truly impressive manual dexterity. Though we are not the fastest and strongest creatures, we are actually quite fast and strong compared to many other creatures, and we are actually also one of the best long distance runners. We also have excellent eyesight and hearing (again, while there are some animals that are better than us in these aspects, these don't represent the majority of life).
Also, I don't understand why anyone would want to pervert their body with machine parts (unless of course they are using machine parts to replace body parts lost in accidents or something, though this practice may become obsolete once the medical science of regrowing body tissues reaches a high enough level).

I understand that you yourself are not advocating transhumanism. I'm merely pointing out why I feel it is a completely unnecessary concept. "

"from the source I mentioned earlier, they say that one of their main goals is to ensure that those technologies are available to everyone.



That is an idealistic outcome, but hardly anything exceptional- idealistic outcomes predominate in discussions of transhumanism.

Quote:


Well, then you would just have an organism who is as smart as the smartest human.



Not necessarily. It should be possible to engineer the emergence of traits in an organism that are not reflected in natural variation.

Quote:


The concept of a being far above any human in intelligence though is still no more than a fantasy that only works if one ignores biological and physical laws.



That depends on how the being operates. If a being had a 'brain' consisting of advanced computer hardware, it would theoretically be free of the physical limitations posed by neurobiological brains, and could both operate faster and process more information.

Quote:


The fact still remains that no matter how impressive a computer's processing power is, it still can't actually think.



But that's like saying a crane isn't powerful because it can't pump water. A computer may not be able to do what you do, but it is still extremely capable- just look at what you can achieve by using it.

Quote:


We're human, but we could be so much more.



But we are already so much more. Our technology allows us to do marvelous things. There's no need to integrate it physically into the human body- there is literally no requirement in any practical technological application that requires implantation or grafting of this sort.

Quote:


And you say "pervert" our bodies, as if by adding to them we are mutilating them.



But how is 'adding' to the human body any less a subjective term than 'mutilating' it? If all of society continuously 'added' to themselves, eventually they would 'add' so much as to no longer be human. Unless one were to invent a particularly squishy definition of 'human', humanity and all it stood for would be extinct- not from an asteroid impact or a super-virus or a war, but from "progress".

What is so much more advantageous about chopping off our own arm for a cybernetic replacement, when a worn armature or exoskeleton could allow you to complete the same tasks? Why graft gills onto your skin when you can explore the photic zone with a rebreather kit? Why replace your eyes when external sensors can enhance low-light conditions and display the range of the electromagnetic spectrum to you?

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the whole idea stems either from a hunger for superiority, or a kind of misanthropism (in the sense of hating humans in particular, not hating people in general). Transhumanism tries to define "superiority", "improvement", "obsoleteness"- that's all fine and well, when you're talking about tools (since you can toss your tools away if they fail or do not satisfy you). But now one moves into applying those terms to people, in a world where one's abilities and limitations are defined by what they are. The purpose of technology is to enhance the human condition, not change it beyond the point of definition.

Granted, a lot of the goals of transhumanism are, at their core, admirable. I just think the means by which they are thought of being achieved are mislead."
[[Why replace your eyes when external sensors can enhance low-light conditions and display the range of the electromagnetic spectrum to you?]]

Because the user interface will be uniformly terrible. False-color images and mode-switching will dominate, and on every such piece of gear made today, the field of view uniformly sucks. The last point is surmountable, the former ... the only way I can see it working is with a direct brain interface that bypasses the retinas.


[[If all of society continuously 'added' to themselves, eventually they would 'add' so much as to no longer be human. ]]

I don't know about you, but I think 'human' is between the ears. Everything else is negotiable.
After everything has been said and done, Transhumanism belongs up there with the Frankenstein mentality. Folks who participate in this endeavor are getting into God's sphere of domain, and will only alter what God can created to begin with. They can manipulate genes, but can never duplicate the spirit of God that produced a living soul. There is a price to be paid!

little 37
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