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Intelligence Amplification and Society

  1. Aug 11, 2008 #1
    What will happen to society when those who have the capital are allowed to "amplify" their own intelligence? First of all, if anyone denies that this will happen within 50 years, please feel free to state a reason. But what will happen to people like the members of physicsforum.com, who are likely to be more intelligent/knowledgeable than the average American Idol worshipper? Is intelligence amplification (IA) a win-win scenario? Would you object to allowing certain technologies such as intelligence enhancement to be legal/egalitarian, assuming that even affordability ceases to become a problem? How do you think society (those who are more intelligent, less intelligent, and society as a whole) will respond when we enter the transitional phrase from 'man' to 'machine'?

    In essence, what are the implications of allowing people to enhance their minds by manipulating/adding neural components (extra cortical columns, neurons, embedded calculators, artificial memory banks, databases, etc.) whether it provides useful computational tools or facilitates the thinking process directly?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2008 #2
    Transhumanism here we go!

    To add constructively: it's the next evolutionary step. Those that oppose progress shall be left behind. Adapt or die I say.
  4. Aug 11, 2008 #3
    Yes, but those that oppose progress are likely to be:
    1. religiously conservative (in a general sense)
    2. the ones who have the most to lose from such a technology, they are naturally gifted with higher levels of intelligence or have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge in the past. Any sort of equalizing technology will be a relative loss for these people, as there won't be as much of a demand for their intellect, thus rendering their talents useless.

    Are the intellectuals who are advancing the progress of related technologies sewing their own seeds of destruction?
  5. Aug 11, 2008 #4

    Use this chart for these occasions.

    I always assumed intellectuals strived for equality.
  6. Aug 11, 2008 #5
    I think that eventually, computers will take over most of our workforce, and most of our need for human labor. With the advances of GPS and robotics and AI in the future along with the idea of humans artificially enhanced, I suspect that the Elite will be computer enhanced masters of the machines and masters of the human race. Police forces will be mostly robots controlled by a few cyborgs. Wars will be terminator style, and there will be a day that Man goes against Machine in the biggest and bloodiest war of all times. Billions of future peasants will starve and will be murdered by patrolling robots. The robots will be controlled by cyborgs, from remote locations, and most the world will be considered terrorists. Eventually man will rise up and take on the machine in a final all or nothing battle. A leader will spring forth who leeds man
    into battle and defeats the machine, but the machine will had sent a hit man back in time to kill the leader as a child. The leader in his defense will send a robot back in time programmed by himself to protect himself of the past.
  7. Aug 11, 2008 #6
    I have some serious objections to the idea of enhancing our minds or bodies. To me, this would constitute a denial of our human nature and take away from what makes us human. I'm not religious, I just think that ethical questions are as important as scientific ones.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  8. Aug 11, 2008 #7
    What does it mean to be human?
    Wouldn't the most natural form of 'being human' be to go back to a hunter-gatherer society without any technology at all?
  9. Aug 11, 2008 #8
    Then how are we supposed to advance?

    You can't have one thing and the other.

    I'm all for science. Heck, I will sacrifice myself in the name of science by making myself the first person to have these new 'neurons'.

    Just like what my screen name says here "Ubermensch", man needs to strive for the superman, in the scientific and philosophical sense.

    However, Chomsky once said that mankind will never find the answers to what he is looking for. So is all this 'progress' (whether you want to think it's an illusion or not) in vain?
  10. Aug 11, 2008 #9

    Werg22 must have some good 'hunter gatherer' skills.
  11. Aug 11, 2008 #10


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    That would be very counter-intuitive to being human. It's human nature to be curious and inventive and seek better ways to do things.
  12. Aug 11, 2008 #11


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    This has been going on for centuries to no real ill effects that I can note. Those that have the capital have gotten themselves and their progeny edumacated.

    As it stands, I find it difficult to imagine what your definition of IA might happen to be. If it is using computer power to calculate, sort through, find patterns in, translate, recall, interconnect, etc. then I suppose we all are amplified or streamlined or enlarged with our reach and ability to cope with greater complexity through the technology that has sprung from our collective imaginations. But through that process there are still at the core unsynthesized individuals.

    If your fear is of implanting something that embeds beneath the conscious layer, that would somehow amplify our internal thinking processes, I have to remain a little skeptical as to how efficacious that may be.

    As to your point that intelligent people would feel threatened as to some supposed hegemony that they might enjoy, I would have to wonder what hegemony it is that those that are intelligent currently enjoy. Seems to me everyone, smart or less so, is subject to the same human failings.
  13. Aug 11, 2008 #12
    It is the equivalent of saying 'I wonder how much an olympic athlete would lose when people achieve the ability to enhance their bodies through biotech research.'

    The best athletes would lose all the significance they worked hard for over the years. And it will happen in a matter of seconds (injection of needle, pill, you name it).
  14. Aug 11, 2008 #13
    Yeah, sucks to be them. I don't know whether you can inject knowledge into a person. Even if you can make them understand things easier, they still have to spend time learning the information.

    Also, "intellectuals" have a lot to gain by having a smarter society. For one, people won't ridicule them for being smart and trying to help out society (e.g. creationists saying things like "what has science ever done to help us????"), and secondly, if people weren't such stupid idiots we wouldn't have as many wars and stuff like that because people would see through the lies easier and know who to hold accountable.
  15. Aug 11, 2008 #14


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    I really don't see that as any great loss. Athletes have been taking steroids for years anyway. And if people could become "bionic" then you would have the bionic people and you could still have "natural" athletes, similar to today where athletes in the Olympics aren't supposed to take drugs to enhance performance.
  16. Aug 11, 2008 #15


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    I'm sorry. I have to say so what? It's just entertainment.
  17. Aug 11, 2008 #16
    Imagine having Wolfram Integrator constantly online in your brains... :!!)
  18. Aug 11, 2008 #17
    But athletics only applies to the realm of entertainment.
    The more relevant issue here is intelligence; in our capitalist society, people will hire you even if your intelligence was not "earned." The only thing that is seen in the eyes of employers is profit.
  19. Aug 11, 2008 #18


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    You're the one that brought it up.

    A lot of very intelligent people are in menial jobs because lack of money or unfortunate circumstances prevented them from getting a higher education. People in many of the highest paying jobs aren't highly intellectual or even very bright, instead they are ruthless, fake, unscrupulous, untrustworthy, etc.... I think you have a lot to learn about the world.
  20. Aug 11, 2008 #19


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    Capitalists hire people or use technology for results at the lowest price because that maximizes the spread between what something costs with what something can be sold for. People get replaced by computers everyday.

    That has nothing to do with evolution.

    If your concern stems from a more personal situation, then I can only advise you to study harder and educate your brain with even more effort.
  21. Aug 11, 2008 #20
    Whoa there, bud. No need to lean over to the ad hominem side. First of all, you have no clue how old I am, or how much knowledge I have. So please set aside the personal comments and if you don't have anything constructive to say, then don't say it.

    And yes, I know that I brought up the athletics issue. But I was pointing out that athletics is only an example to facilitate my reasoning, but the real issue was intelligence.
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