Would you Want an Emotional Relationship with a Digital Mind?

Brain

(T) By 2029, you might be able to have an emotional relationship with a “Digital Friend” on the Internet, on your desktop, or who knows with your wearable as did the character Theodore Twombly with Samantha in the movie “her”. Would you want that?

Famous futurist Ray Kurzweil is predicting that computers will be at human levels, such as you can have a human relationship with them, 15 years from now…When I say about human levels, I’m talking about emotional intelligence. The ability to tell a joke, to be funny, to be romantic, to be loving, to be sexy, that is the cutting edge of human intelligence, that is not a sideshow.”

At Google IO 2014, Mr. Kurzweil described his latest thoughts about “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence”:

On the other side of the planet, European scientists are collaborating through the Human Brain Project (HBP) on a 10-year mission, funded by 1.2 billion euros from the European Union, to reconstruct the human brain piece-by-piece using neuromorphic computers:

“Today’s digital computers all share a number of basic properties. They all use “stored programs” – lists of instructions telling them what to do in what order. And in most cases, they are “generic machines” – designed to perform any kind of computation a programmer can code. They all rely on highly reliable, “compute cores” that perform extremely accurate (“bit-precise”) computations and consume a lot of power in the process. And they all use a hierarchy of storage elements containing precise representations of specific chunks of information. The Human Brain Project’s neuromorphic computing systems will operate like the brain. So although they will be highly configurable they will not need to be programmed – they will be able to learn. Their architecture will not be generic – it will be based on the actual cognitive architectures we find in the brain – which are finely optimized for specific tasks. Their individual processing elements – “artificial neurons” – will be far simpler and faster than the processors we find in current computers. But like neurons in the brain, they will also be far less accurate and reliable. So the HBP will develop new techniques of stochastic computing that turn this apparent weakness into a strength – making it possible to build very fast computers with very low power consumption, even with components that are individually unreliable and only moderately precise.”

And just last month, researchers at the University of Illinois demonstrated walking “biobots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses”:

“Combining biological components, such as cells and tissues, with soft robotics can enable the fabrication of biological machines with the ability to sense, process signals, and produce force. An intuitive demonstration of a biological machine is one that can produce motion in response to controllable external signaling. Whereas cardiac cell-driven biological actuators have been demonstrated, the requirements of these machines to respond to stimuli and exhibit controlled movement merit the use of skeletal muscle, the primary generator of actuation in animals, as a contractile power source. Here, we report the development of 3D printed hydrogel “bio-bots” with an asymmetric physical design and powered by the actuation of an engineered mammalian skeletal muscle strip to result in net locomotion of the bio-bot. Geometric design and material properties of the hydrogel bio-bots were optimized using stereolithographic 3D printing, and the effect of collagen I and fibrin extracellular matrix proteins and insulin-like growth factor 1 on the force production of engineered skeletal muscle was characterized. Electrical stimulation triggered the contraction of cells in the muscle strip and net locomotion of the bio-bot with a maximum velocity of ∼156 μm s−1, which is over 1.5 body lengths per min. Modeling and simulation were used to understand both the effect of different design parameters on the bio-bot and the mechanism of motion. This demonstration advances the goal of realizing forward-engineered integrated cellular machines and systems, which can have a myriad array of applications in drug screening, programmable tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biomimetic machine design.”

For more, read the full paper: “biobots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses”:

Finally, let’s not forget that with bio and emotional computers and robots, we will have the risks to be disrupted by them such as Sonny did in the movie I, Robots and many others. As pointed out in the NYT – “As Robotics Advances, Worries of Killer Robots Rise” – and reality might merge with fiction.

Note: The picture above is from the Human Brain Project.

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