Jan 23, 2016

Study suggests the Internet really could out-evolve humanity

Posted by in categories: evolution, internet, robotics/AI

This article was written by Michael Gillings, Darrell Kemp, and Martin Hilbert from the University of California, Davis, and was originally published by The Conversation.

Living things accumulate and reproduce information. That’s really the driving principle behind life, and behind evolution. But humans have invented a new method of accumulating and reproducing information. It’s digital information, and it’s growing at an astonishing speed. The number of people using the internet is growing, as are the devices connected to it through the Internet of Things.

Digital information can copy itself perfectly, increases in copy number with every download or view, can be modified (mutated), or combined to generate novel information packets. And it can be expressed through artificial intelligence. These are characteristics similar to living things. So we should probably start thinking about digital technology as being like an organism that can evolve.

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  1. John M Schmidt says:

    Why do writers continually portray the evolving Internet and AI as being apart from and potentially in competition with humans??

    We also frequently see in these postings and others concurrent references to advances in BMI and prosthetics. It’s obvious that, assuming no cataclysmic disruption, as these two streams of development and others such as in nanotech and power consumption & supply, converge, it won’t be we versus it/they, it will be WE!

    We will be interacting not only with machines in ways that make it increasingly difficult to determine the boundaries or interface points between us and them, but with one another in the same way.

    The combined implications of this converging evolution are staggering in so many ways. For example, the emergence of true empathy among us will be almost inevitable.Such things will not necessarily be good or bad, but are problematic because they are still inconceivable as plausible future realities to the vast majority of those living now. Yet, every little step is acquisitively pursued.

    It is extremely important for us to raise the level of awareness and discourse on this to the point where we as a species approach it with far more open eyes and good judgement. Acknowledging that so many current events strongly suggest that we as a species are not capable of such things, we must at least seek greater clarity among those who are prepared to look forward. Considering technological development streams individually and linearly is of very little value. Considering them as convergent is the only way to really begin to anticipate where we are going.