Beyond What You Could Have Imagined

 Laurie Labbé 

Every problem in the world can be solved with technology: you present it with data, it will process it and find a solution. Social, personal or business related, all issues can be fixed. This perception is pushing us humans to give technology more of our attention, of our time and of ourselves.

A futurist and director of Google Engineering, Ray Kurzweil, predicts that the merge between our intelligence and technology will happen before 2030. That would mean linking our brain’s neocortex to cloud computers. The cloud is a storage of data and programs based over the Internet instead of over a computer’s hard drive. By placing nanobots in our body through capillaries, human brains could interface directly with computers and with the Internet. In less than 15 years from now, we could access information that exceed natural abilities. With the help of this new technology, our intelligence could grow exponentially and we could transcend our limitations. Artificial intelligence could transform the way that future generations will live. For instance, creating a link between minds and computers could enhance health services. It is a fact that human doctors can’t be reliable every time they make a diagnosis. However, machines have the capacity to detain medical knowledge and have access to it within seconds. It also has the ability to search easily through medical records.

In 2014, a survey made by the National Audit Office showed that a quarter of people in England were not able to get an appointment at the doctor’s office within the time limit they would have wanted. Moreover, according to the philanthropist Johns Hopkins, about 40 500 people die because of misdiagnosis per year in the USA. Hybrid AI might be the answer to all those problems. Babylon, a subscription health service, is planning to release an app using artificial intelligence that will help prevent disease. People will have to report their symptoms to the app through a neocortex connection and it will provide them with a course of action. Once you have given your illness, the system will analyse it, taking account of your genetics, your environment, your behaviour, your biology, the circumstances and your history. Likewise, the application will be able to record data: “As well as offering patients advice on sick care, it will be able to constantly monitor information on the kidneys, liver, bones, cholesterol levels, and more, along with data collected from wearable devices that monitor sleep patterns and heart rate.” Babylon is not allowed to make formal diagnosis yet, but it offers people an immediate action they should take, such as booking an appointment with a doctor or going to the hospital. The conception of this app will not only be a technological advance, it will also help doctors since they will have access to the information etch within the app. Thus, it could help them avoid mistakes they sometimes make.

Artificial intelligence will provide new knowledge to humans, far beyond what our brains can reach. However, we have the responsibility to draw a clear line between helpful and invasive. There is no doubt that machines are useful, but they should not take control of our world. People should not become dependent of technology.



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