Where would we be without the intelligence to develop technology? Where will we be with technology? That’s even more the issue when technology morphs into artificial intelligence that rivals our own. We can’t exist without technology; we might not be able to exist with technology. If there was ever a coin with two sides, it’s the technological ‘coin’.

EXPONENTIAL INCREASES

There are ways and ways of increasing the amount of something. The usual way is the linear way per unit of time: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc. The other way is the exponential way, usually a doubling, but it could be a tripling or quadrupling. Let’s stay with exponential doubling per unit of time: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc. Or perhaps the exponential sequence of 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, etc. Or perhaps one might start with the sequence 2, 6, 18, 54, 162, etc. There’s also flat-lining which means no real increase at all over time: 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, etc. taxi to woking

How are these various growth rates related to biological intelligence, our intelligence and artificial intelligence?

BIOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE

Biological Intelligence: Over geological time it might be reasonably argued or suggested that biological intelligence has evolved quasi-exponentially if not exponentially. You are today exponentially more intelligent than that first primordial proto-cell or even fully-fledged microbe.

However, no individual biological species has ever experienced exponential growth in whatever passes for their IQ, even in extremely long lived species, like the cockroach. I very much doubt that the cockroach in your kitchen is vastly smarter than the cockroach the scampered under the legs of T-Rex. The first dinosaur that could pass as being a T-Rex wasn’t much dumber than the last T-Rex who got a ringside seat to that asteroid, 65 million years ago.

Human Intelligence: Modern humans (as defined as that species having been created in God’s image) have only been around some roughly 200,000 years. Our potential intellectual or “I” abilities over those past 200,000 years haven’t increased very much, if at all, and certainly not exponentially. Modern human intelligence has not been able to increase modern human intelligence. There’s been no magic pill you can take; there’s no super-foods for the IQ market; there’s no brain surgery that can rewire your neural network.

Artificial intelligence however can increase artificial intelligence once artificial intelligence has been programmed with all of the engineering data it needs to do the basic “new and improved” design work.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: THE RISE AND RISE OF THE MACHINE

In less than 200 years, seemingly out of the blue, AI has grown exponentially until we find ourselves on the cusp now of The Singularity (no direct relation to the singularity of quantum gravity) where AI will exceed human IQ and then accelerate away from us at a rapid rate of knots ever widening the gap. No doubt AI will morph eventually, probably sooner rather than later, into sentient AI.

There’s certainly no question about humanity embracing technologies, always new and improved technologies, to the point that if God somehow were to snap His fingers and delete all technologies from our grasp, it would be a disaster akin to what happened in Exodus. Talking about wandering aimlessly in the wilderness! Technology has become an absolute extension of our biological selves.

Everyday examples of embracing technology to the point where technology becomes a voluntary extension of our mind and body are not hard to find. An obvious example is sports – the golf club is an integral extension of the golfer; or the baseball player whose bat, ball and glove are as much a part of him as are his arms, hands and fingers.

The teenager playing a video game is totally immersed mind, body and soul in his virtual reality landscape.

The woman so engrossed in text messaging she is totally oblivious to anything, anyone and in fact just everything in her surroundings that it’s not uncommon to see her totally ignoring her luncheon companions; bumping into people; stepping in front of a moving bus (I’ve seen that happen) and of course getting removed from the gene pool because she wasn’t paying any attention to her driving. We’ve all seen those ‘funny’ videos of Ms. Text Messaging falling down the stairs or falling into a fountain pool in the Mall all because she was oblivious to her surroundings – not a good survival strategy.