Can Nanotech in our Brains Make us Smarter?
Can nanotech make us smarter? Can
we put nanobots in our brains to enhance our memory or increase our
computational abilities? Plans for neuro-cognitive enhancement are introducing
new terms such as intelligence amplification (IA) or cognitive augmentation
and even machine augmented intelligence. Nano-neuro-techies are fomenting a
revolution in the cybernetic industry, which has been underway since the 1950s
and 1960s. The Enhancement Technologies Group, for example, wants to increase the capability of a person to approach a complex problem and
solve it. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of
the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility
of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was
too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of
finding solutions to problems that before seemed insolvable. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucbtdag/bioethics/layintro.html
Even more dramatic
secnarios can be imagined. Suppose small incremental enhancements are introduced.
Then these small changes are amplified and re-amplified until they grow
exponentially. These new levels of intelligence could transfer
themselves to accelerated computing platforms, such as optical nanocomputers or
quantum nanocomputers. This would allow them to accelerate the brain's thinking
speed significantly. Futurists have called the possibility of such an event the
"Singularity." The idea of this singularity implies an impact upon
our world that could exceed that of any other foreseeable technological
advance, says the Accelerating Futures group. http://www.acceleratingfuture.com A
Singularity, if successful, would create a massive upward spike in the
quantity of intelligence here on Earth, a persistent positive-feedback process,
continuously enhancing itself. In a favorable scenario, our freedom and
potential could be maximized, opening up astonishing new possibilities that
might have taken trillions of years for unaided humans to create alone.
Such are the futuristic scenarios
being spun by nanotech prophets searching for nanotech profits. Like previous
technological revolutions, this one can be expected to have an impact on
society, with ethical and legal implications. Because of the bodily enhancement
potential of nanobiotechnology, it will pick up religious implications as well.
Theologians will ask: could advances in nanobiotech actually change or alter
what we have come to know as human nature? If so, according to what ethical guidelines
should we proceed?
link | Printer-friendly | Feedback
| Contributed by: Ted Peters