22 November 2018

The emergence of the 4th Brain …

Neuroscience has provided many important insights about structure and functions of the human brain. One of the most shared models was proposed by neuroscientist Paul MacLean: the so-called 'Triune Brain'.

Three separated brain structures are often referred as separate 'brains', operating almost independently but simultaneously.
  1. basal ganglia (found at the center of the human brain) referred to as the reptilian brain, in charge of controlling our innate and automatic self-preserving behaviors, ensuring survivability;
  2. limbic system (which consists of various component brain structures, such as the amygdala and hippocampus), in charge of controlling emotions;
  3. mammalian neocortex (which is implicated in conscious thought, language and reasoning). 
Today technology advances (in the systemic digitalization of reality and Artificial Intelligence) are likely to create a 4th digital brain, on top of the mammalian neocortex. 

There are several virtual assistants or intelligent personal assistants which are becoming  very popular today, as capable of performing tasks for individuals, In some sense these software smart agents are augmenting human intelligence in the digital cyberspace. In the near future these virtual assistants or intelligent personal assistants will become more and more intelligent, capable of being proactive and autonomous. 

But there is more.

Ray Kurzweil predicts: within 30 years direct links will be established between the human brain and computer circuitry. The implications are mind-boggling. Such links could mean that the entire contents of a brain could be copied (and preserved) in an external database. Not only would the human brain be supplemented with enormous amounts of digital memory, it would also be linked to vast information resources like the internet — at the speed of thought.

Eventually, in a few years, the three biological human brains will be supplemented with enormous amounts of processing and memory capabilities - which means A.I. - and it is likely that they will be linked to the immense information resources offered by the web, almost instantaneously.

Indeed one may look at this as a 4th brain, on top of the mammalian neocortex !

The only big problem is that it was Nature to design and create directly this fourth brain.

So, this would have inevitably enormous implications and terrifying dangers, but hopefully an Artificial Immune System will be develop to defend civilization from this dangers.