Sal Khan publicly predicts the positive feedback loop associated with human intelligence augmentation. [Link]

post by TylerJay · 2012-08-21T15:57:51.687Z · score: 4 (9 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 6 comments

http://www.khanacademy.org/science/cosmology-and-astronomy/v/random-predictions-for-2060

3:35

6 comments

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comment by Pablo_Stafforini · 2012-08-22T04:46:54.791Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

LWers generally dislike links to videos without summary or transcripts.

I'm not the original poster, but I thought others might benefit from a transcript, so I just made one. It stops at 4:37, since the rest didn't seem that relevant.

In the last video I mentioned how I've been asked to make predictions for the year 2060. In the last one I focused on education: that’s obviously what I’m working on now, so I have some opinions about that. But what I want to do in this video is do maybe slightly more broad and wild predictions. And my one prediction I’ll make is that I’m probably completely not going to predict the real reality of 2060, and probably the big things to predict I will completely miss. But with that out of the way, it’s fun to predict things, so let’s give it a shot.

The first area I will predict is what’s going to happen in the field of medicine. In particular, I think the human lifespan is going to increase dramatically. I’ll be conservative and say that the average human lifespan, especially in the developed world—and, once again, by 2060 hopefully most of the world is developed—is going to be a hundred years old. I won’t say whether that’s going to be a good or a bad thing. There are arguments either way about the proper way to live and what happens to global populations, but if the world is for the most part developed, you actually will probably have a lower rate of reproduction, and so you might actually have some space in the world for older people.

I think there’s a very strong chance of this happening, because we are starting to understand the molecular basis of aging. It’s not a given thing that because of some form of wear and tear things have to die after 70 years or 80 years or 90 years. And we are starting to understand the mechanisms, and how to maybe improve the repair mechanisms or how to augment it in some way. So I definitely think this is going to happen. I don’t know whether it’s going to be a positive or a negative, but it’s likely to happen.

The next thing—and this is still kind of closely related, this is still biological— is you are going to have a close integration between the digital and the biological. And once again, I won’t make any statement of whether this is a good or a bad thing, but it seems like it’s just an extrapolation of the direction we are already going. So already you are getting more and more in your hand-held devices. Imagine when your screen is now no longer in your palm but it’s being projected into your retina from some small little thing, and then eventually you have a direct connection with your retina and your brain can directly access areas of memory through some biological and digital interface. So I definitely think this is going to happen.

This is a big deal, because this is already happening with a lot of what you see around technology. It’s really going to reshape what the individual human experience is going to be. We already see people living in virtual realities and playing these immersive games, and spending all their time on social networking platforms. What happens when they are literally plugged in all the time, when almost their cellphone is in their brain? I don’t know—I’m not going to comment on whether it’s a good or a bad thing, but it does look like a trend that is going to keep on going through the next 50 years.

Now if you take that even further, we are talking about a digital and biological integration, but if you go to the extreme—and actually it’s probably both of these top two things [increased longevity and digital-biological integration] combined in some way—is that we are seeing—and once again, I’m not making comment on whether is good or bad, it’s just an extrapolation from what we are already seeing—more and more ability to understand our genome, to molecularly target things, to manipulate actual biology. And so what you have is that you can actually have manipulation of biology. And while this is at some level creepy—or it could be exciting, depending on how it plays out—but it could do things like augment human intelligence. Which would, if you think about all the progress of society and all the things that are already accelerating, imagine how society will change if intelligence itself is augmented. As someone with a limited intelligence, I can’t even imagine what will happen as soon as you do this. And obviously the more you augment intelligence, the more that you can learn how to augment intelligence, increase lifespan, and do digital and biological integration even more. So these things I see as some form of a trend. We’ll see how it all plays out.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-08-21T18:06:17.704Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

LWers generally dislike links to videos without summary or transcripts.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-08-21T18:55:47.961Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

If it's a good video, I prefer getting a notification than not, but naturally I'd prefer instead getting a summary and a transcript too. And a pony.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-08-21T19:09:48.960Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

And a pony.

Submit pony specifications here.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-08-21T20:05:15.582Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh I agree, I was just describing LWer behaviour.

comment by Pablo_Stafforini · 2012-08-22T04:48:44.211Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A transcript is now available here.