Superintelligence Must be Carefully Tapped

I’m of the opinion that if we’re ever going to achieve long-range space exploration/colonization, human engineering of some sort will be required. This not only applies to space exploration however, but most likely the long-range survival of humanity in general. The common fear in this topic seems to always conjure up a ‘rise of the machines’ scenario when I’m discussing this with others. So I thought that today I’d post a few thoughts on how these fears might be alleviated in the future.

Collective human engineering could only work if it were done in such a way that truly ensured benevolence. Genetic experiments of the 20th century were largely associated with horrfying military actions. That said, there is nothing to suggest that superintelligent beings that grow out of a technological singularity would not be sociopathic. However, mirror-touch synaesthesia could be a beneficial limitation to full-spectrum superintelligence. This simply means that humans with mirror-touch synaesthesia are able to feel the pain of other people. It is a rare disorder that very few people truly experience.

Superintelligent beings need to be engineered in such a way that rewards or punishes their actions. This could very well be that feedback system. Nothing would be destructive if it had to endure every bit of pain it caused. For that matter, this could be looked at as an element of extreme doses of human guilt grafted onto a new artificial matrix.

However, to do this requires a fundamental change in humanity. Humans respond the way they do because of natural development. Elements of aggression and competition in human nature stem from ancestral survival instincts. These aspects of the human psyche were extremely important in primitive mankind.

The Technological Singularity with Marc Ressl – Corbett Report Radio 068

From desktops to smartphones, from records to mp3s, from tv to streaming video, the pace of change in modern life can be bewildering. But is it our imagination or are these changes really accelerating? And what does it mean if they are?

Some individuals have suggested that drugs could be used to control people. This is certainly a grim manner of control. Rather, people need to aspire to a greater good for the coming technological singularity. We need controls in place every step of the way while scientists work toward a common goal. Feel free to share your thoughts below as always.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Additional Learning Resources:


  • There’s more to intelligence than just good genes. We all have the potential to be wiser and smarter with the brains we have now but our political, social and educational systems hold us back. I think machines will eventually zoom past us because they won’t be hindered by all the baggage we carry. But what would happened to enhanced humans? Can they escape the weight of our past? Can they overcome the envy and resentment of the unenhanced?

    In our world, the intelligent are hampered by the less intelligent, whether in the classroom, office or in politics. As long as most of the people believe in religious fantasies, refuse to believe in what science tells them, and xenophobically hates most of the rest of the population, how can progress?

    If we had superintelligent beings, either enhanced humans, robots or aliens from space telling the world what they need to do, would the population at large listen? People don’t take advice. Even if I could time travel back to talk with my teenage self and tell him everything I know, he wouldn’t listen.

    We can raise the average IQ of the humans on this planet by having fewer people, educating them all better, and improving the standard of living everywhere.

    But here’s another issue to consider. Is this reality challenging enough for smarter beings? Once we understand how reality works, how big it is, and solve our piddling human problems, what’s left to do? Will the superintelligent be content to play video games all day long?

  • Sonia Sullivan

    Impatient Humans, not happy with the natural process of Evolution! Tired of “human survival” Excuses!! We’re Not the only ones Living here! Treat Mother Earth like a garbage can and then hop on over to another Planet!!

    • Yes Sonia, you could make a good case that humans don’t deserve survival. We haven’t been very kind to our fellow creatures with our higher intelligence.

    • Adam

      Humans are the only species on the planet that has ever decided to preserve another species, set aside parts of its environment for protection, or otherwise make any attempt at environmentalism. Every other species on the planet would happily eat itself out of house and home or mindlessly wreck its own environment if it was not held in check by various forces.

  • Sonia Sullivan

    Humans can’t build Super Intelligence. Insuring Benevolence, Impossible. After all, Machines do not Feel! NOTHING in the Universe can be Insured.

  • Why are feelings so important? Aren’t most of our failures do to emotions? Doesn’t benevolence come from thinking?

  • Sonia Sullivan

    Mr. Harris, I am Pro-Survival. The Universe does not decide who is fit to survive. Feelings are Essential to our Survival. Kindness comes from the Heart & mind. We shed these things, our chances of survival Decrease.

  • Pingback: Creating a Smarter Human « Cosmic Revolutions()

Post Navigation