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Cloud Hardware Science Technology

Kurzweil: The Cloud Will Expand Human Brain Capacity 267

Nerval's Lobster writes "Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil predicts the cloud will eventually do more than store our emails or feed us streaming movies on demand: it's going to help expand our brain capacity beyond its current limits. In a question-and-answer session following a speech to the DEMO technology conference in Santa Clara, California last week, Kurzweil described the human brain as impressive but limited in its capacity to hold information. 'By the time we're even 20, we've filled it up,' he said, adding that the only way to add information after that point is to 'repurpose our neocortex to learn something new.' (Computerworld has posted up the full video of the talk.) The solution to overcoming the brain's limitations, he added, involves 'basically expanding our brains into the cloud.'"
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Kurzweil: The Cloud Will Expand Human Brain Capacity

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  • It already does. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Atzanteol ( 99067 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:22PM (#41615517) Homepage

    It already does though. I don't need to memorize *everything* - now I only need to know how to find the answers I need. This allows me to work with a much smaller set of data and fetch that which I need from the cloud as needed.

    We don't need it built in though.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:25PM (#41615537) Journal

    The word "Cloud" has become such an in word that all kinds of predictions, even those which makes no sense altogether, are dime a dozen these days.

    Does the human brain need "cloud" to expand its capabilities?

    Didn't we have pencil / paper all the past centuries?

    How about books and diaries and post-it notes?

  • by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:29PM (#41615553)

    I believe Kurzweil is confused on the definitions of data vs. information. Information is data I've had time to digest and react to. If all you want to do is accumulate TBytes of raw data, yeah, the Cloud is fine for that. Whether you'll ever find the time to do anything with it all is another question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:56PM (#41615689)

    Here, I'll drop some meandering diatribe and see if anyone gives a damn.

    The work I do in AI primarily teaches me about myself and other large brained organisms. Much of what I've learned is that humans aren't special. Intelligence emerges naturally from any sufficiently complex interaction. The more complexity, the more intelligence is possible.

    Most of the transhumanists I've met or read seem rather presumptuous and chauvinistic. I don't believe humans are all that special. For instance: We can grow rat brain cells on a computer chip [] -- It exhibits some life-like properties, but no more so than were human brain cells or a digital neural network used instead. This experiment is just a short cut: A neural network for cheap. However, it's far from optimal since the organic brain on a chip dies, and all the training is lost -- an AI doesn't have these problems... The take away is that a neural network is a neural network -- The complexity of the neural network defines its level of awareness. It's the "human" part of "transhumanism" I take offense to, seems rather racist to me. :P

    To speak in terms of transforming the human condition is to place too much emphasis on our own race's importance. How can we evolve to be greater than humans if humans are most important? To me: Humans are simply the organisms with minds having the most complexity at this time on this planet. The evolution of the mind is not something unique to humans; It's a process that all life has been contributing to -- Even indirectly through competition.

    A sufficiently large mass -- or network -- of rat brain cells could surpass the complexity of a Human mind quite easily. Would we then be speaking of transverminists? I prefer Transorganic, Posthuman, or my official title that covers all systems with input feedback loops: Cyberneticist. Protip: AI, businesses, and brains are all cybernetic systems by definition.

    What we're all taking part in is really the Rise of Inorganic Life.

    Augmenting organic entities with non living parts is a step in the process, but at some point the organic components aren't required at all, and we've given life to the non living. The foundation of life is genetic code: RNA / DNA. Life as we know it occurred after the living genetic code took up residence in the non-living lipids to form the first cells. So, there you have it: Life has always been augmenting itself by incorporating non-living technology. The transhumanist seems just a little late to the game, if you ask me.

    Life used to just produce chemicals to digest nutrients externally, but complex life does this internally via eating. My point is that the food is a part of the organism -- can't live without it, eh? The line between one organism and the next is the abstraction layer of eating, but in the end it's all one eco-system that is alive. Each organism is simply a complex chemical reaction, chemical reactions are interactions of electrons between atoms. Another form of life could exist that still operates by way of complex electron interactions; It could even draw nutrients directly from the Sun instead of having to "eat" other lifeforms. Even plants eat dead things with their roots & leaves, but an inorganic life-form could be self sustaining -- a complete ecosystem in of itself. Such an entity could drift through space and extract all the energy and raw materials needed to sustain itself from nebulae.

    Cybernetic implants are merely another next step in evolution. Nature is simply doing what it always does, produce a smarter, more durable, more pervasive life form. Just as life originated in the sea and became more durable to live on land, then the air; Life is now evolving to live in space... Note: All stars consume their habitable zone (the zone where chemical complexity is possible) when they go red-dwarf or nova. Therefore, the path from sea to space is natural, not radical. An important goal post in evolution on

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.