Why do we do things the way we do? Why do we act or speak indigenously, without any influence (most of the times)? Why do we think or why do we have the ability to think? Is it because we have a brain that can do all these? Not really. In one of the previous blogs, I had mentioned that the human brain is the most sophisticated machine ever to have existed and it is the most powerful time machine that we will ever have. The way we do things, speak or act is a result of a series of experiences or learning or understanding of various aspects of life. A decision taken by the brain is always coupled with past experiences, or learning somewhere about something and even adapting from someone or something. Today there are systems or I should say computers that can think and act independently just like the human brain does. Well, they are just a replica of our brain.
The field of Psychology, which is the study of mind, has a long history of being developed for the last 150 years, dating back to 1879 in Germany. Neuroscience, which is the study of the functions of the brain by studying the neural network of the brain, also originated in the mid 19th century. However, if we look at ancient Buddhist and Hindu scriptures or books, it feels as if these studies were in practice way before we can even imagine or think. Artificial Intelligence (aka) AI has evolved over the years based on human psychology and neuroscience. It is like these two studies are the software or the operating system of AI. Man has tried recreating the functions of the human brain in the form of machine language which uses a set of algorithms through which a machine, such as a robot, can receive information, store it, process it using the algorithm fed in and then gives the output.
Well, that was the early stages of AI, however, nowadays research in this field is being carried out in making these algorithms completely human-free. This means that research aims at developing a completely humanlike machine that can talk, act and respond just like we do but without our help. Does this sound familiar to you? Yeah, of course, it will be since great directors and storytellers in the media field have portrayed them on the large screen and books. Some examples anyone can come up with are the Terminator series of movies, I Robot, Robot and many books (which I am not so familiar with).
It is a well-known fact that humans use their brains only up to 10% or less and research has shown that there were very few people who have used their brains more than that. The immediate name that crosses our minds is of Albert Einstein, whose brain was found to be utilised up to 26%, the maximum that we have ever discovered. However, I have a strong feeling that some monks too have utilised their brains to the maximum extent possible and I believe things like telepathy, time-shifts and even understanding the virtual environment is an example of this. So, what happens if we use our brains up to 40 or 50 or even 100%? This is an interesting theory and people have thought about this and there are researches underway in exploring this. I was fascinated about this recently after watching a movie called Lucy and then I recalled a similar movie scene from the movie Race to witch mountain, where the protagonists (two kids) who claim to have come from a different planet, explain how they use their brains up to the maximum to have various superpowers.
Now, there may be studies to unleash the full capacity of the human brain and to integrate the human neuro system into a machine. The terminator movies are one such good example that often crosses my mind. Okay now, what is artificial intelligence? To many of us, when AI is discussed, the first thing that comes to our mind is Robots. Well, is AI just about robots? If you are one among those thinking that way, then you need to read a lot about AI. AI is not just robots. To be precise and brief, in layman language, AI is a kind of operating system that operates machines or helps machines function the way there are supposed to function. Yes, it is the brain of modern-day computers but not completely independent.
It is a mixture of human intervention and self-learning ability, though everything that is inside the AI is developed by us. AI is everywhere; your computers, smartphones, automated systems such as ATMs and face recognition software, motion-sensing gadgets and many more. Once an AI gets activated, it starts learning just like we do. We have programmed it in such a way that it keeps learning daily and evolves daily. I, sometimes, wonder that what if humans can do the same, I mean all the time. What if we too learn and evolve daily? I am not saying that we aren’t. We are learning and evolving but only to a negligible extent that our brain cannot completely put to use what we have learnt. Eventually, what we learn starts fading away into our sub-conscious memory which makes us think that we have forgotten that. However, it is still in your head, I mean your brain. Somewhere in your brain, hidden.
Probably, with more understanding of subjects like neuropsychology, cognitive psychology and advanced neuroscience we will be able to develop machines that can evolve on its own without any human intervention, by which I mean zero human intervention. That may sound crazy because many of us are sceptical about the co-existence of humans and machines. We may even think that it’s not a good idea to give machines freedom of thinking and evolving. However, with the right way of approach towards this subject, we can model AI to be efficient in terms of human assistance rather than being replaced for humans. Imagine people with a neural illness such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or even Schizophrenia being cured by the use of AI. That would be revolutionary. When we understand the full functionality of our brain, maybe we can construct an artificial brain in place of artificial intelligence. Or maybe we can just construct some part of our brain which can be used in curing mental disorders. It can be used to bring alive people who are declared brain dead or replace one particular damaged part of the brain. Or I am just exaggerating but this is a possibility in the future.
Artificial Intelligence has so far been considered mostly as a replacement of man but indeed it should be considered for human assistance. AI can do so much that we can just imagine now and speculate. Can machines think and replace or work as human psychology? This question has been doing the rounds on the internet for a few years now. I read an interesting article about this here: https://analyticsindiamag.com/can-machines-really-think-looking-into-artificial-intelligence-and-the-role-of-human-psychology/. Practically, anything is possible in today’s world. To make this a reality, we need to look at the different streams of Psychology and Neuroscience. Psychology is broadly divided into many streams such as neuro, clinical, cognitive, health, occupational, developmental, evolutionary etc. Similarly, neuroscience can be broadly classified as neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, behavioural/ developmental/ cognitive neuroscience etc.
What is important in these two fields that can help us develop AI into almost like human intelligence? Though different in their specificity, psychology and neuroscience often go hand-in-hand or in other words, they overlap in some areas such as the behavioural, cognitive and developmental aspects. These are the fields that can transform AI into what I would call as “Future Intelligence”. This concept of Future Intelligence or FI will be a combination of human with artificial intelligence but with more freedom to a machine, in which it can be used, to do a lot more stuff than now.
To an extent, our brain is capable of having something like FI, only if we could tap on to the undiscovered abilities and parts of our neural system. Tapping into the undiscovered parts of our neural network would further reveal details such as transmission, storage, processing of data and most importantly the subconscious state in our brain. Though there has been a lot of study and research in the field of neuroscience, not much has been discovered and you may ask how do I say that. It is a comparative or a relative statement out of my wisdom, though I am not an expert in that field. I am just contemplating the scope of neuroscience and psychology comparing it with imagination, dreams and creativity. Not all dreams come true, not all imaginations can become reality and not all creative thoughts come to life. But if your mind can have all these imaginations, dreams and creative thoughts, it means there is a possibility, isn’t it? If not, why should your brain think about it? Hence, I say that we haven’t discovered much in these fields or have not been completely successful.
For instance, man has evolved over time and has become better and better. How? Imagine, we go back in time, say to 1600 AD. We did not have telephones back then but someone thought about it. People saw communicating over long distances with their loved ones was difficult and time-consuming. Then, someone had imagined “What if we could communicate from here with the people who are far away?”. And hence two centuries later, the telephone was invented. That was human intelligence. We tapped into that imagination and brought it to life. Similarly, today we imagine and desire to be a multi-planet species, of a fully automated world, of high/ hyper-speed travel, even phase shifting. This can become a reality because it is in your mind and hence proved that the human brain is the most advanced computer ever existed or will ever exist.
Talking of all these, it is important that we considered the non-negligence of certain aspects that can and should never be replaced by AI or FI. One important and undeniable aspect is agriculture, without which we can’t survive. Further, we should never replace our basic tasks with machines such as brushing your teeth, making your meal and even bathing. Because that is not evolving but just laziness. Indeed, FI (as I call it) or advanced AI (as many would like to call it) will help mankind discover those things that we never knew that it existed. All said and done, the one thing that would differentiate us from our creations is…. Ourselves and nothing else. It is imperative that we don’t lose ourselves in search of making the future better.
The subjects of neuroscience, psychology and artificial intelligence are so vast that it cannot be discussed in just one article. I will write more about it but only when I have a better understanding of these complex concepts. Understanding the human brain and its abilities is beyond imagination, at least for me, but we should never stop from trying to do it. The more we become self-realized human beings, the more we would work towards protecting our only home – mother earth and co-existing with each other irrespective of which flag we represent, on which side of the border we are, what language we speak and what religion we follow, will become a reality.
Let us develop a better form of intelligence (Future Intelligence) to make a better world to live in.