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Philosopher Susan Schneider: Less Than 50 Years Before Sophisticated Internet Connections Are Wired Directly Into Our Brains

"Aliens" Are Probably Robots With Sophisticated AI; Perhaps Humans Will Evolve That Way Too

Neural Implants Enhancing Human Brains Are An Intermediate Step

I have often said that "Web 3.0" will involve a direct neural connection of the brain to the Internet, without tactile devices like mouse and keyboard.

In a research paper and presentation at the NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology SymposiumDr. Susan Schneider (Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, The University of Connecticut, and Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies) proposes that any aliens encountered by humans are likely to be super-intelligent robots. Schneider is particularly interested in BISAs: Biologically-Inspired Superintelligent Agents.

Exo-biologists say one reason human attempts to contact alien life have not produced results is that we are looking for biological life, not "robotic life."

In The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence (2010) Paul Davies, chair of the SETI: Post-Detection Science and Technology Taskgroup of the International Academy of Astronautics, posits that extraterrestrial intelligence might not be interested in the physical world at all and would instead take on the form of a quantum computer.

"I think it very likely – in fact inevitable – that biological intelligence is only a transitory phenomenon, a fleeting phase in the evolution of the universe," Davies writes in The Eerie Silence. "If we ever encounter extraterrestrial intelligence, I believe it is overwhelmingly likely to be post-biological in nature."

Seth Shostak, director of NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program says:

“As soon as a civilization invents radio, they’re within fifty years of computers, then, probably, only another fifty to a hundred years from inventing AI. At that point, soft, squishy brains become an outdated model.”

Schneider calls this "The Short Window Observation": 

Once a society creates the technology that could put them in touch with the cosmos, they are only a few hundred years away from changing their own paradigm from biology to AI.

Schneider describes current medical neural implant projects, and the eventual general use of neural implant technology:
Devices such as the Google Glass promise to bring the Internet into more direct contact with our bodies, and it is probably a matter of less than fifty years before sophisticated internet connections are wired directly into our brains. Indeed, implants for Parkinson’s are already in use, and in the United States the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has started to develop neural implants that interface directly with the nervous system, regulating conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, depression, and Crohn’s disease. DARPA’s program, called “ElectRx”, aims to replace certain medications with “closed-loop” neural implants, implants that continually assess the state of one’s health, and provide the necessary nerve stimulation to keep one’s biological systems functioning properly.
Eventually, implants will be developed to enhance normal brain functioning, rather than for medical purposes.
The implication is that mankind is poised for an evolutionary step moving human consciousness from a biological basis to machine AI.

I'm a Pundit: Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Emotiv and Hype

Emotiv Epoc headsetI answered a question on LinkedIn asking about the difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0

I cited the common understanding that the terms are hype and not based on any substantive metrics - and my usual quip predicting that Web 3.0 will come with the maturation of neural brain wave controllers such as Emotiv Epoc headsets.

Tae Hyun Moon liked my answer so much he asked permission to excerpt it on his blog, along with nine other answers.

Edging Closer to Web 3.0

MY definition of Web 3.0 involves direct control of the internet by the brain without a tactile interface (mouse, keyboard etc)

Emotiv is getting very close:

emotiv headgear


Here Comes Web 3.0!

I have quipped that Web 3.0 will likely involve a direct link from the brain to the internet.. but we may not be that far away!

Research at Brown University (my Alma Mater) is enabling paraplegics (and monkeys) to control computers with brain waves!

Researchers at Brown University have used a tiny array of electrodes to record, interpret and reconstruct the brain activity that controls hand movement – and they have demonstrated that thoughts alone can move a cursor across a computer screen to hit a target.

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