RE: human augmentation, putting it into perspective

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Tue Jul 31 2001 - 09:04:32 MDT

I've always thought that we humans are already
augmented by this thing called 'technology'. With
eyeglasses I can see much better than I could
without. With Google I can search much faster
than manually searching a paper library. For
that matter, with a paper library I can retrieve
a lot more information than a tribal elder
relying on his memory.

>From stone tools and fire on, we have been
augmenting what the human body and mind can do
by themselves.

Now, lets look at the comparative time scales
for different types of 'improvement'. Assume
you tinker with human DNA to produce a 'super
genius'. It's going to take at least 8-10 years
for such a child to get to the point of making
a useful contribution. Meanwhile, computer
technology will have advanced 30-1000 fold in
the same time period. While the 'super genius'
might be several times as productive as Newton
or Mozart, it won't be 100 times more.

If you have a hybrid system, where neurons are
connected to extra thinking capacity, the extra
thinking capacity could do just as well on it's
own without the wetware to slow it down.

Even a sub-human AI can learn at super-human
speeds because (a) electronics has a much higher
I/O capacity than neurons, and (b) you can gang
together a bunch of AI's learning different
things in parallel, then swapping knowledge sets
or clustering them together.

So, as I see it adding wetware to the electronics
will only be a drag on the development of the
AIs. Some people are going to do it anyway:

It'll knock some milliseconds off the reaction
time of a gamer to tap into his brain rather than
wait for the neural signal to get to the fingertips.


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