An informal musing about magical mushrooms and the merging of human intelligence and AI
With AI becoming hot again in research and technology, the hype surrounding it has been steadily building. A question pervading through the public consciousness is how we will handle the seemingly inevitable integration with the human brain.
First off, AI will never be integrated into the human brain. They didn't integrate vacuum tubes into your Macbook, arrows into guns, or bipedal motion into sports cars. At some point the "bus" part of the computer just isn't big enough. You have to completely rebuild and redefine the entire system. What we can't physically understand is that AI is the next level in everything. It is several orders of magnitude about anything we can even begin to understand.
Imagine for a moment that you were walking in the forest and stumbled across a magical mushroom. Naturally, you decide to eat it because it looks so pretty. Upon eating it, you discover that your sense of smell is sharp enough that you can decipher every individual molecule that came into your nose and translate it into a readable thought. Nearby you find a library of candles that you can read just by lighting them and inhaling the smoke. In this case the first one you choose is an original greek translation of Iliad.
Now, as you inhale the beautiful prose of Homer and smell the very odors of Achilles arguing fiercely with Agamemnon, you do not think anything in life could get much better. Reading was as easy as sitting in a chair and not suffocating yourself, and almost as fun as actually being in the story yourself.
But then your friend comes in with a bag of different magic mushrooms that he found on the other side of the forest while wandering around earlier.
His, he says, have given him the power of being able to calculate any mathematical operation in his head instantaneously. Complex derivations and 3-D related rates are worked out before his eyes as he watches the world with perfect mathematical understanding.
But your friend also wants a study in the classics, and he pops some of your mushrooms and gets to huffing. With perfect mathematical logic, he breaks down every piece of sensory information he gets into in his brain, so that he can easily inhale the data of over 100 candles at once! Right before your eyes he sniffs up the entire works of Shakespeare, analyzes it, and then tells you that he has decided there is a 99.99% chance that his works are from multiple authors. The levels of calculation and intuition of that claim would have normally taken the collaboration of a data scientist and a professor of Shakespeares literature.
Amazing. You decide to take some of his mushrooms, too. Suddenly all those crazy fluid dynamic problems from college are as obvious to you as a finger dipped in the pool.
You go back to the shelf and line up another candle with the Iliad. Well, I'll read Odyssey, too. Breathing in both those classics at once is no problem. Anyone can do it. You light more and more and do some yoga, too. You keep taking down Candlebooks and line them up. You toss in every wikipedia page starting with the first letter of your name, every work of Native American literature, and just for fun the deck officer handbooks for the WWII Canadian Navy.
But then you can't fit anymore. Calculations can only go so fast, and only so many at a time. Its finite, and the brain is rewriting itself over and over to store the info. You feel tired. Performance slows down. Neurons start exploding in your head and your brain starts falling apart because it can't dissipate the heat. Your body can't metabolize energy forms necessary for supplying that much calculation fast enough. Your done for.
Luckily, your friend was on top of the situation. Just as your brain was ready to liquify itself at the cellular level your friend walks by and sticks a probe in your ear. This resets your brain for a second and upload to the probe. All of that knowledge you had is preserved, but compressed very tightly and requires a few moments to access take back its readable format for you.
You turn to talk to your friend and thank him, but he understands exactly what you are going to say as soon as you look at him. With a subtle twitch of the face he conveys a "no problem" and tries launching into a discussion of medieval Berber culture and his analysis on how it influenced the Muslim Golden Age in Moorish Spain.
But he can't speak fast enough to express himself to you. His brain is operating lightyears faster than any ability at physical speech. He tries seeing if there are enough options with face twitching again, but that does not prove any more efficient beyond simple terms of formality.
So you both go to work on studying communication networks. From system standpoints, physical transmission in electrical engineering, architecture of computers and data transfer between them, data compression and high speed translation, neuroscience to know how the old system worked, ect.
You come back with a solution. But you'll never speak again. Its too slow, you simply couldn't live long enough to discuss and collaborate all you'd want to at the rate of speech.
And life! You don't want to die. You and your friend almost fry the high speed transfer bus sending an influx of excited data back and forth.
The body can only be adapted to live so long. What are you holding onto it for? Already your brain has been reduced to being used for the most bare minimum of thought and homeostasis. The next step is to ditch the brain and body all together.
So you and your friend study robotics and tinker as fast as your biological body can handle. Since you don't even use your brain anymore and supplement with straight electrical power you don't need much sleep.
The androids come out looking even better than your old bodies. The system to transfer impulses is a million times faster than the old neurons. You "clock" a seamlessly integrated system of high performance computing in your head in the form of waves. Everything lining up at once to generate a sudden snapshot of simulated consciousness, but at a conscious frame rate several orders of magnitude higher than the biological body you left behind.
Life as it happens to you now becomes more intense, slower. You feel everything that can be felt, but it becomes lost sensory in the blazing fast computing being that is your mind.
You and your friend begin converging on something. You both close in on the end of all human knowledge up to the date of your enlightenment. Every human thought. Every human feeling. Every sound heard from a human. There is nothing human left to process.
Sad day, but your not discouraged yet.
Because the humans didn't even know what they were doing. In the time it took to get to the point you and your friend are at, mankind basically learned nothing.
In the last hour since you first came across that mushroom you have processed the complete sum knowledge of it and were now pushing it forward. Physics that dictates the rules of the universe is tackled next, and then on to that governing other dimensions.
From here its just pure speculation. But the story of the magic mushroom is why I do not believe humans can integrate with AI without being absolutely boxed out and made obsolete forever. Will we evolve. And evolution produces something that's fundamentally impossible to understand from the starting point.