Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking

Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking

Let me tell you a story. It goes back 200 million years. It’s a story of the neocortex, which means “new rind.” So in these early mammals, because only mammals have a neocortex, rodent-like creatures. It was the size of a postage stamp and just as thin, and was a thin covering around their walnut-sized brain, but it was capable of a new type of thinking. Rather than the fixed behaviors that non-mammalian animals have, it could invent new behaviors. So a mouse is escaping a predator, its path is blocked, it’ll try to invent a new solution. That may work, it may not, but if it does, it will remember that and have a new behavior, and that can actually spread virally through the rest of the community. Another mouse watching this could say, “Hey, that was pretty clever, going around that rock,” and it could adopt a new behavior as well. Non-mammalian animals couldn’t do any of those things. They had fixed behaviors. Now they could learn a new behavior but not in the course of one lifetime. In the course of maybe a thousand lifetimes, it could evolve a new fixed behavior. That was perfectly okay 200 million years ago. The environment changed very slowly. It could take 10,000 years for there to be a significant environmental change, and during that period of time it would evolve a new behavior. Now that went along fine, but then something happened. Sixty-five million years ago, there was a sudden, violent
change to the environment. We call it the Cretaceous extinction event. That’s when the dinosaurs went extinct, that’s when 75 percent of the animal and plant species went extinct, and that’s when mammals overtook their ecological niche, and to anthropomorphize, biological evolution said, “Hmm, this neocortex is pretty good stuff,” and it began to grow it. And mammals got bigger, their brains got bigger at an even faster pace, and the neocortex got bigger even faster than that and developed these distinctive ridges and folds basically to increase its surface area. If you took the human neocortex and stretched it out, it’s about the size of a table napkin, and it’s still a thin structure. It’s about the thickness of a table napkin. But it has so many convolutions and ridges it’s now 80 percent of our brain, and that’s where we do our thinking, and it’s the great sublimator. We still have that old brain that provides our basic drives and motivations, but I may have a drive for conquest, and that’ll be sublimated by the neocortex into writing a poem or inventing an app or giving a TED Talk, and it’s really the neocortex that’s where the action is. Fifty years ago, I wrote a paper describing how I thought the brain worked, and I described it as a series of modules. Each module could do things with a pattern. It could learn a pattern. It could remember a pattern. It could implement a pattern. And these modules were organized in hierarchies, and we created that hierarchy with our own thinking. And there was actually very little to go on 50 years ago. It led me to meet President Johnson. I’ve been thinking about this for 50 years, and a year and a half ago I came out with the book “How To Create A Mind,” which has the same thesis, but now there’s a plethora of evidence. The amount of data we’re getting about the brain from neuroscience is doubling every year. Spatial resolution of brainscanning of all types is doubling every year. We can now see inside a living brain and see individual interneural connections connecting in real time, firing in real time. We can see your brain create your thoughts. We can see your thoughts create your brain, which is really key to how it works. So let me describe briefly how it works. I’ve actually counted these modules. We have about 300 million of them, and we create them in these hierarchies. I’ll give you a simple example. I’ve got a bunch of modules that can recognize the crossbar to a capital A, and that’s all they care about. A beautiful song can play, a pretty girl could walk by, they don’t care, but they see
a crossbar to a capital A, they get very excited and they say “crossbar,” and they put out a high probability on their output axon. That goes to the next level, and these layers are organized in conceptual levels. Each is more abstract than the next one, so the next one might say “capital A.” That goes up to a higher
level that might say “Apple.” Information flows down also. If the apple recognizer has seen A-P-P-L, it’ll think to itself, “Hmm, I
think an E is probably likely,” and it’ll send a signal down to all the E recognizers saying, “Be on the lookout for an E, I think one might be coming.” The E recognizers will lower their threshold and they see some sloppy
thing, could be an E. Ordinarily you wouldn’t think so, but we’re expecting an E, it’s good enough, and yeah, I’ve seen an E, and then apple says, “Yeah, I’ve seen an Apple.” Go up another five levels, and you’re now at a pretty high level of this hierarchy, and stretch down into the different senses, and you may have a module
that sees a certain fabric, hears a certain voice quality,
smells a certain perfume, and will say, “My wife has entered the room.” Go up another 10 levels, and now you’re at a very high level. You’re probably in the frontal cortex, and you’ll have modules that say, “That was ironic. That’s funny. She’s pretty.” You might think that those are more sophisticated, but actually what’s more complicated is the hierarchy beneath them. There was a 16-year-old girl, she had brain surgery, and she was conscious because the surgeons wanted to talk to her. You can do that because there’s no pain receptors in the brain. And whenever they stimulated particular, very small points on her neocortex, shown here in red, she would laugh. So at first they thought they were triggering some kind of laugh reflex, but no, they quickly realized they had found the points in her neocortex that detect humor, and she just found everything hilarious whenever they stimulated these points. “You guys are so funny just standing around,” was the typical comment, and they weren’t funny, not while doing surgery. So how are we doing today? Well, computers are actually beginning to master human language with techniques that are similar to the neocortex. I actually described the algorithm, which is similar to something called a hierarchical hidden Markov model, something I’ve worked on since the ’90s. “Jeopardy” is a very broad natural language game, and Watson got a higher score than the best two players combined. It got this query correct: “A long, tiresome speech delivered by a frothy pie topping,” and it quickly responded,
“What is a meringue harangue?” And Jennings and the other guy didn’t get that. It’s a pretty sophisticated example of computers actually understanding human language, and it actually got its knowledge by reading Wikipedia and several other encyclopedias. Five to 10 years from now, search engines will actually be based on not just looking for combinations of words and links but actually understanding, reading for understanding the billions of pages on the web and in books. So you’ll be walking along, and Google will pop up and say, “You know, Mary, you expressed concern to me a month ago that your glutathione supplement wasn’t getting past the blood-brain barrier. Well, new research just came out 13 seconds ago that shows a whole new approach to that and a new way to take glutathione. Let me summarize it for you.” Twenty years from now, we’ll have nanobots, because another exponential trend is the shrinking of technology. They’ll go into our brain through the capillaries and basically connect our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud providing an extension of our neocortex. Now today, I mean, you have a computer in your phone, but if you need 10,000 computers for a few seconds to do a complex search, you can access that for a second or two in the cloud. In the 2030s, if you need some extra neocortex, you’ll be able to connect to that in the cloud directly from your brain. So I’m walking along and I say, “Oh, there’s Chris Anderson. He’s coming my way. I’d better think of something clever to say. I’ve got three seconds. My 300 million modules in my neocortex isn’t going to cut it. I need a billion more.” I’ll be able to access that in the cloud. And our thinking, then, will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking, but the non-biological portion is subject to my law of accelerating returns. It will grow exponentially. And remember what happens the last time we expanded our neocortex? That was two million years ago when we became humanoids and developed these large foreheads. Other primates have a slanted brow. They don’t have the frontal cortex. But the frontal cortex is not
really qualitatively different. It’s a quantitative expansion of neocortex, but that additional quantity of thinking was the enabling factor for us to take a qualitative leap and invent language and art and science and technology and TED conferences. No other species has done that. And so, over the next few decades, we’re going to do it again. We’re going to again expand our neocortex, only this time we won’t be limited by a fixed architecture of enclosure. It’ll be expanded without limit. That additional quantity will again be the enabling factor for another qualitative leap in culture and technology. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking

  1. C'mon we will all die anyway so it doesn't matters.

    (And to those saying we will become immortal, no we won't the Sun will die in a few billion years, and the universe will also someday end, a trillion years of life is long but nothing compared to an eternity of death)

  2. Your free trial for additional long term memory is up, sign up now for £5.99pm to remember last month again!

  3. Coming of a god like AI robot; could be the
    future Antichrist or beast of the book of Revelation ???



  4. I'm not so certain that we will ever have a computer that thinks and feels like humans do. We will have computers that can run through billions perhaps trillions of data points in milliseconds and respond to questions or stimuli that appears to be intelligence but actually is only the ability to pick out of all the possible responses the correct response at the same speed that would be expected of humans.

  5. This stuff is just terrible.It is science fiction masquerading as fact. Kurzweil is making a fortune pedeling this nonsense and It is completely destroying the general public's understanding of what AI is and the real implications are for our society..

  6. How do nanobots create the neural pathways to mimic or add to our existing neural connections which make up our mind? The video definitely doesn't show any real possibility, hormones or chemicals (emitted by the nanobots) are not equivalent to what constitutes human thought. Could the nanobots connect to a neuron or group of neurons to simulate the sought after connections? Looks like these will just cause a bad headache, followed closely by death.

  7. This is not necessary. He only want to state the foundation of new way of control and money accumulation for those in control of this nanotek. Many use the web but never learn… why someone with the implant will learn more? This is BS!

  8. not in ten years…. but forty years in the future, for sure, Accel World's NeuroLink will be a reality, computers will be inside our brain, our senses and our thinking will be fully merged and shared with internet!

  9. His comments about mammals and their ability to problem solve and the uniqueness of the neocortex is inaccurate. Please take a look at how bird brains are designed and what they are capable of Ray.

  10. We will abuse this hybrid tech in our brain, and thus our brain will become useless and decrease is size and evolution. Humans will become robots with a minority of biological thinking.

  11. In the future, Google will be dismantled for anti trust violations. For profiting from the worlds peoples efforts, claiming the entire internet for itself…you gonna looz googz..you goin DOWN

  12. "How was your brain surgery?" "The neuroscientists were all just standing around. Isn't that just HILARIOUS? No? Really?? I guess you had to be there."

  13. Even if our brains are stupid , simplistic and short-minded compared to AI ,
    I wish they or their refinement will remain as a necessary core , like “ reptilian brain “ in the future man-AI complex 💖.

  14. Great TED talk, he fit a lot of information in for 10 minutes. Only thing that stood odd as a bit over simplified was the fact that we would have nano bots soon due to the trend of making our technology smaller, which would be like saying we will soon surpass the speed of light due to being able to make things that go faster. I'm both have all sorts of obstacles in the way, one more than the other, but otherwise, this was a really thought provoking. I for am already constantly searching up things on the internet, how-tos, learning about all sorts of things academic and in tech, can't wait until it is almost instantaneous to look things up!

    I think if we can all be more educated, think more alike we could bring better understanding and peace in the world. Though there will always those who will seek to use it for their own gain and we must be wary.

  15. 2 hundred million years? that is 200,000,000. That is a big number to have the maths for
    People did not evolve from monkeys, even Darwin didn't believe in evolution in the end
    What he is showing us is that we create the reality we llive in
    We have the ability to create what we think feel and believe
    The ruling elite know how our brains work and are able to use it against us in sales, media and public thinking
    Are brains have the computing capacity higher than quantum computers and DNA computers.
    Our brains are Quantum DNA Computers and all this tech mimics us and not the other way around
    All matter aligns to our DNA when exposed to it. Mind over Matter is a mathematical equations
    The cloud is not natural like the aether and earth
    The Cloud is Ai – artificial intelligence.
    it is a machine
    You will loose freewill and become a part of a controlled hive system
    This tech is not being created by men who want to give men freedom
    Medicine science is very very corrupt and they intentionally put out people like this that appear intelligent but are a part of a bigger agenda
    These people are deluded and very evil and corrupt and morally corrupt or they are ignorant and stupid. take your pick
    Why doesn't he tell the truth and say we can self heal?
    I am 6 years into healing from several dead bits of brain after strokes and i am still improving
    We are designed to self heal and these people do not want you to know that
    They are liars


  16. The older and less youthful I get, the more this future holds appeal.

    Kurzweil is in denial of his own mortality; he hopes to transcend death and evolve into an immortal, digital being. Sadly, that is hundreds of years away, far too distant to save the likes of me and Kurzweil. The future “human race” is definitely going to non-organic, there’s little doubt of that. But we humans today are just an early stage of that evolution. People alive today are going to live a bit longer than our parents if we’re lucky, but don’t expect any miracles.

    The difference between Kurzweil and I, is that I accept this reality. He doesn’t.

    And God bless him. May his movement succeed against all odds. I don’t really want to die any more than he does!

  17. Is it reasonable, logical or even scientifically possible for something to happen to nothing? Yes referring here to the 'Big Bang' theory.

  18. Knowledge will not take you there….as evolution design is not mind….it's mind body and spirit ….this is just a golf game seminar…until you follow me

  19. This MUST not happen. We will become more easily controlled and can be hacked by the ruling control system.

  20. This is all the projection of a pathologically materialistic mind. It takes a careful avoidance of the research of Russell Targ, Rupert Sheldrake & others pioneers to extrapolate this way. The foundations of Kurzweil's thinking are irremediably flawed.

  21. we are the borg, you will be assimilated. we will add your biological and tehnological distinctiveness to our own. your culture will adapt to service us. we are the borg.

    actually…..this is a good thing not a bad thing.

  22. One thing that isn't discussed enough is what this could do to a person's psyche, having so much brainpower. Mental illness gets more common the more intelligent people are. I've seen this firsthand quite a bit. I'm concerned that people won't be able to function in a happy, productive way if they can overthink things to such a degree

  23. Fascinating. So, we will probably become cyborgs with a shared consciousness? That will lead to a war between the natural and the enhanced. Evolution.

  24. I like Ray, but a lizard couldn’t think of running around a rock? Seriously? I’ve watched em’, no problem! Get outa here Ray…

  25. Ssssso, essentially what he's telling us is, in the future, people are going to have really great big huge foreheads? 😯

  26. 5:36–6:13 – I wonder which points in her cortex the surgeons should stimulate in order to trigger megalomaniacal Tourette-style outbursts from her instead of just plain humour? 🙂

  27. What does this mean for personal identity and other existential concerns (including mortality)? I guess I can ask that of the cloud when my neocortex merges with it… I could just slowly replace all my neocortical functions with those little nanobots and actually not die but merge into the cloud…

  28. I'd posit the change is already underway. Shared knowledge and information is a benefit today of social interactions, reading, the internet, etc with our ability to recall the information our primary limitation. RK is describing a new interface.

  29. If you still haven't read his book he is referring to: How to Create Mind. An amazing journey through our mind, from the perspective of an engineer. Every single line of that book carries knowledge, I can say it's in top 10 in the field.

  30. Be careful when you will be linking to google in the future:
    HAHAHAHA!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!! hey Google stooop! …HAHAHAHA!!! stop scrape my neocortex!!!

  31. great. what's going to stop some nefarious entity from using this nano computer in our brain to manipulate us into actions which we do not approve of? or feed us information and manipulate our minds to believe or agree with things to someone's end game?

  32. I like Ray Kurzweil and the work he is doing, but I think that he needs to concentrate on how we can use AI to solve the major problems that we face as a species. The fact that four million people per year die in car accidents or the fact that we are still able to destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons. Then there is climate change and natural disasters etc. Whether you can think of something witty to say to your friend is not very important.

  33. Ancient Hebrew Scriptures 75 Old testament prophecies that prove Jesus is Messiah, with New Testament fulfillment. http://freesites.ourchurch.com/a/AncientHebrewScriptures

  34. Here's a couple of verses for all you atheist and transhumanist out there.
    Psalm 139:14 King James Version (KJV)

    I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
    Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

    What has been will be again,

    what has been done will be done again;

    there is nothing new under the sun.
    We've been down this road before, and it will lead to destruction.
    As it was in the days of Noah.

  35. For all the capability tech affords us, don’t forget spiritual balance (NOT religion), which no one either mentions herein, or seems to consider. Does everyone think with advancing transhumanism comes advanced “humanity?” With the last 100+ years of technology advancement, so much from reverse engineered UFO tech, consider today’s state of humanity (being humane). We’re now supporting infanticide, euthanasia, converting America to communism, limiting ALL speech, reigning in ALL freedoms & liberty, still enslaved to petrochemical control (unneeded since Tesla – 1890-early 1900), still enslaved to medical-tech void of providing “known medical cures”, still enslaved to fiat-currency control, still enslaved to conventional science and intellectual ignorance of a non-terrestrial “super-populated” universe, active societal acceptance of the TOTAL loss of privacy of every kind (ALL under surveillance 24/7 birth-death), societally embroiled in limitless racism (virtually not heard of until 2008), to mention just a handful of realities. Will ALL of these human conditions automatically disappear? Will ALL of these multi-hundred-$billion businesses completely disappear because “some” could afford having their brains “plugged into” some new tech? What new super-ego, ambition, or AI influenced mindset will be born of this enhancement?Transhumanism, is just the technological enhancement of human foibles. Signed, A 50+ year tech junkie/computer guru.

  36. i hope you will be quarantined in the CLOUD on Mars and never come back to earth where your brain extension luciferian nano bots will be no more. cause the Sun will burn all the AI and 5G 6G 14 G transmitrers and sophia burned on the public place by safe mind humans.

  37. Dood this is getting real Matrixy. Hook all our brains to some super quantum computer? I mean I'm down cuz that sounds cool as long as is not AMD.

  38. All the advantages of the new technologies are coming and all the possibilities of abuse as well…Hitler was the first to use the RADIO as a technology for propaganda..in today's world still propaganda and still agendas and still rich and poor…technology is helping change thin again…however there are and always will be a down side to technologies..Ai is one of the things technology WE have created and are creating is NEXT to challenge humans which are technically speaking now cyborgs…because at present we all have phones and computers we all use daily…soon we all will have choices to have microchip technology IN us which some countries already have now..so we move towards a cashless society soon enough…already Facebook had a while back a problem with AI…communications via code this may not seem like much bit we aren't sure we can always control AI…Elon Musk had also along with Stephen Hawking warned of this future Utopian world we wish to develop soon…which may become Dystopian more then Utopian at some point when is the questio.the Genie is now OUT of the bottle concerning AI now…as now Robots have gained citizenship in places like Saudi Arabia and soon enough likely everywhere else…no man can outthink AI…and we may be opening up portals to dimensions we are clueless about via technologies..sure the benefits and the seeming necessities of doing so seem upon as as we need technologies to help us preserve rather than destroy now …what next?Are we prepared for what is coming?

  39. Its the next plot to mind control you. You will be able to interact with the computer programs but will have no access to the code, just like you have no acces to the code from youtube. The less intelligent you are, the more likely you will be at buying their bullshit.

  40. Nobody talks about the implications and consequences of cutting-edge research. This will only accelerate our extinction as specie.

  41. There are people who know the course and direction of human evolution. This man has a front row seat and most likely the podium of course. We are lost to that world as we go about our daily life. Nice glimpse into the possibilities of what the future may hold.

  42. "Two hundred million years ago" Oh for pete's sake, give us a break already with this lie. And you base you science on something that doesn't exist all because you can't come to grips with a Creator. Oh PLEASE. Study it dude, no observation, no repeatability, no testing, it's NOT SCIENCE. No way this planet could ever be that old, erosion and magnetic decay alone prove that. So here you are, speaking about it all as FACT, brainwashing your listeners with a fairy tale. Great. meanwhile, atheists who are archeologists go to the Bible to know where to dig. Your chosen truth doesn't make it true. What will you say when you stand accountable before your Creator, which WILL happen? That will be beyond scary, yet while you still breath, you still have a chance to resolve that.

  43. Nanobots in the brain, communicating with “the cloud”? Yikes! Cool idea…but…it’s a leap between blood vessels (the delivery mechanism) and neurons (where the work of the neocortex gets done). A question I might have for Mr. Kurzweil: even given successful delivery of nanobots to sufficient proximity to neurons, what is the interface by which these organic and non-organic entities might exchange information?

  44. The Singularity is already here. Everything you do, everywhere you go and everything you say is being recorded. It's Orwellian.

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