As we indulge into a discussion about the future of humans and machines and how they are going to co-exist together, I guess, the very first thing that comes to our mind is the famous James Cameron directed movie The Terminator in which the artificially intelligent machines also called Humanoids, which were designed for assisting us in extreme situations (like a war), conversely waged a war against the humans and ultimately took over our planet from us. But that’s not how it’s going to be, ensures the famous Canadian Professor, researcher, and inventor Steve Mann.
According to Prof. Mann, machines of the future are going to help us discover our unexplored version of superhuman beings, also called cyborgs in the more popular terms. The rise of Humanistic Intelligence (HI) – a term that steers the research and development of wearable computing – is a proof. The HI system puts humans in the computing feedback loop alongside computers, where the two agents work together to enhance system performance. That’s how the co-existence of humans and machines are being largely conceived by the researchers and scientists in the future.
Three Rules of Humanistic Intelligence
As put forth by Prof. Mann, the humanistic intelligence must work under three rules: constancy, augmentation, and mediation.
- Constancy: The HI system will work by assisting us. This cannot be shut down though it can be put into sleep mode. Examples are a smart watch or a bionic eye.
- Augmentation: This HI system will work more closely with us for augmenting the human intellect or body functions instead of focusing just on computation. This will be possible with wearable devices, chips, or other hardware gadgets.
- Mediation: This HI system will enclose its users and work as a filter which people will use to access only the most relevant information, reorganizing the existing one, or camouflage from outside environment. It will guarantee solitude and privacy.
One of the most interesting aspects of HI is sensory augmentation, under which additional senses merge with the senses of humans through some gadgets that enhance, interfere, or change human tactile, visual, auditory, and olfactory sensation. It upgrades the interactive experience between human and the environment. For example, a person with augmented ears may be able to hear even the most distant and faint sound or perceive the presence and distance of every surrounding objects just by hearing their sounds. Another example can be an augmented eye that can enable us to see the ultraviolet and infrared rays or even perceive the entire spectrum of light.
The more humans will advance in HI system implementation, the more augmented and mediated their bodily functions, their sensory gathering and analysis of data and the environment will become. This augmented working pair of human and machines will redefine our capabilities of actively picking information and their processing for giving a more goal-oriented output.