Recently, various indicators point to China starting widespread embryo screening for higher intelligence which will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation’s intelligence by five to 15 IQ points. There is a big cultural difference. In China, 95 percent of an audience would say, “Obviously you should make babies genetically healthier, happier, and brighter!”. At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. They are about two months from having the results of that work.
A specialized set of 23andMe-like tests ($99 to check for 200 genetic markers) would look for the set of intelligence markers that are found could be used like we now screen for Downs Syndrome. This seems like it will takeoff in China.
It also seems that the genetic engineering services would also have wide usage in China as they become available. The CRISPR technique for genetic engineering is about 10-15% accurate and a lot better than Zinc fingers and TALEN methods
A prospective process for neuronal rejuvenation was outlined by George Church and George noted that 80 gene therapies are in clinical trial now.
This will not be beyond anything human until George Church and others starts pulling in genes from non-human sources. At first it will begin massively skewing towards the maximum of human capabilities or 1 in a million mutations (like mutations for myostatin inhibited muscles – four times better than steroids or very strong bones). China’s move would mean tens of millions of people with data driven eugenics and perhaps a few million with various forms of genetic engineering within ten years. There will also be tens of thousands of athletes who will be pushing the frontier of genetic engineering to try to get a performance advantage. There will also be experimentation by DARPA and the militaries of the world.
A unique new cancer treatment uses gene therapy to induce a cancer-fighting immune response whose intensity can then be controlled with a pill.
There has been recent progress with long term wireless implants for direct computer to brain connections. However, highly user friendly voice and very precise (Leap Motion) gesture control and Google Glass augmented reality displays could provide a sufficiently seamless two-way connection to our gadgets and computers. Also, superior automation and computer agents should be able to anticipate tasks and reduce the need for active commands by people. We currently would not need telepathy to communicate to a really efficient butler or executive assistant. The Executive Assistant knows what is needed better than the Executive and gets things ready without having to be asked.
Cloud Based Artificial Intelligence and Large Scale Memristor Neuromorphic Computing
In 2012, Watson became 240 percent faster and 75 percent smaller so it can run on a single server. IBM can install a Watson machine on-site for a business or remotely via cloud computing to a personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Watson is the artificial intelligence system that won the TV trivia show Jeopardy and now performs superior to human cancer diagnosis.
There will be more cloud based artificial intelligence applications and systems and more use for business enterprise applications.
There are many designs for large scale Memristor neural computing. Memristors should be deployed in trillions of memristors per device initially with HP computer memory as a competitor to Flash memory in 2014-2015.
DARPA, the EU and others are working on massive neuropmorphic and brain inspired hardware based artificial intelligence systems. The EU has recently funded a 1.3 billion dollar brain emulation project.
Self Driving Cars
I expect self driving cars to have some of the biggest economic impact for artificial intelligence systems. Also, because there are a billion cars now and there will be another billion cars added over the next ten years.
Cars are something that :
* people will spend five thousand to seventy thousand dollars (most popular price range) to buy.
* have a large power source
They are an ideal means to deploy fairly costly a billion artificial intelligence systems.
The tablets and smartphones will have some local artificial intelligence software but more powerful cloud based systems that utilize the communication and cameras and displays will be the other main foothold for widescale artificial intelligence.
Home based and business based artificial intelligence and robotics will grow out of various application niches and as extensions of existing appliances.
Robotics where the tablet or smartphone is the head of the robot seems like the easiest way to leverage existing consumer acceptance and cost effective components.
The Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) RobotCar is a modified Nissan LEAF. Lasers and cameras are subtly mounted around the vehicle and taking up some of the boot space is a computer which performs all the calculations necessary to plan, control speed and avoid obstacles. Externally it’s hard to tell this car apart from any other on the road. It is designed to take over driving while traveling on frequently used routes.
The MRG team sees an immediate future in production cars modified for autonomous driving only part of the time on frequently driven routes. They estimate that the cost of the system can be brought down from its current £5,000 ($7700) to only £100 (US$155).
Exoskeletons and Wearable systems
Apple is going to try to introduce the iWatch. The Military is developing a flexible exoskeleton called the Warrior web and has lower body exoskeletons via Lockheed’s HULC.
I think Google Glass like systems will be the most successful and widely adopted. Google Glass and advanced tablets will also be a means of providing just in time training and task guidance. This would be the functional equivalent of the Matrix where they download instructions on how to fly a helicopter. Haptic feedback and augmented reality displays would work with a library of detailed training videos.
All of the wearable devices need to have a seamless wireless network and power could be supplied by shoes that harvest energy from walking around. The harvested power could then be shared via NFC wireless power transmission.
Massive Online Education and Virtual Reality Training
There is growing success with large scale online education like classes for 100,000 people to study artificial intelligence. This will continue to grow and will have some other technological enhancement with Immersive virtual reality displays and haptic feedback.
Knowing what to do and rapidly scaling a learning curve can be more important than enhancing raw intelligence for positively impacting productivity.
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.