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Who’s Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?

Would it be an exaggeration to say we caress our smartphones? Our connection to them is emotional: We paw at them idly and endlessly. There are times when your phone can be your best friend.

That might soon change. Google and Microsoft are betting big on artificially intelligent helpers—not like Apple’s Siri, which is stuck only on its products, but a device-agnostic digital personality that follows you wherever you go. As Google’s founders put it in their annual letter: “[O]ver time, the computer itself—whatever its form factor—will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.” The smartphone could soon become obsolete. Dematerialized.

Right now, we use phones because they’re the fastest way to get all of our stuff: messages, contacts, photos, music, documents, and the like. For all the talk of the cloud, there’s still a very real need for a device to access online lifeThe tech giants think we should be more sci-fi—as with Samantha, the artificial intelligence from the movieHer. Google and Microsoft and newcomers like Viv Labs (the original creators of Apple’s Siri) each want to be the first to create an affordable, ethereal presence with persistent access to both the Web and personal data. These AIs should be able to predict what you need, and then carry out the tasks themselves. If these tech companies get what they hope for, AIs will be the new site of digital life.

That desire is driven by deeply material concerns: We’re nearly a decade into the smartphone era and Apple now commands 94 percent of mobile profits. Along with Google, it dominates the market. Facebook, on the other hand, is the behemoth in advertising and media. AI is an attempt to break these sorts of strangleholds; Microsoft could challenge Apple’s and Google’s mobile dominance, while Google might win Apple’s enormous profits. It’s also the reason noted Apple watcher Marco Arment recently warned that the company is on the way to becoming the next Blackberry. While Apple has made enormous profits from the iPhone, it has let others get a head start on artificial intelligence. Siri, their digital assistant, lags behind and is tied to Apple’s hardware. Microsoft’s Cortana, on the other hand, works across its own products, any smartphone, and soon, its Xbox console. If the smartphone does become obsolete, it will be because companies are looking to disrupt business models that don’t work for them.

Aside from the potential profit, the desire to have a digital personality become the new smartphone is tied to two things: Everyone in the race wants consumers to cultivate a personal relationship with their AI. Each company plans to use that to mine data and generate new revenue. Consider the Amazon Echo, a consumer product that approximates an ambient intelligence and might be a model for how the next generation of AI develops. The cylindrical gadget, which is always listening for voice commands, can play your music, add things to a grocery list, look up facts, call an Uber, control your lights—and because developers can create apps for it, its feature list is expanding. Users often report the device is easily incorporated into everyday life, sort of like a digital pet. It quickly becomes part of the family. Amazon, naturally, wants to stitch itself into the fabric of your life. But the Echo is limited by the fact that it can’t exist everywhere. Now imagine that kind of utility in all your gadgets—on your desktop, on your watch, in your car, and of course on your phone. The object becomes mostly unimportant, an afterthought.

But if the privacy concerns are obvious—when you have an AI, all your data will live in the cloud—the implications of having a persistent digital assistant are less clear. While Amazon’s Echo only listens for a short time after hearing a “wake word” and then stops, the issue is more that it is listening at all, always insinuating its way into routines and thinking. And there’s no question that AI designers will do what Apple does with its products, and attempt to induce an emotional connection to its devices. Siri and Cortana already tell jokes and contain endearing Easter eggs. It becomes easier to forget that a company is collecting data on you when it’s making you laugh.

It’s true there’s a sense of freedom and futuristic wonder that comes along with not being tethered to a single device—that any “smart” thing can link you to the outside world and the people you know. But the digital age has brought with it a peculiar devil’s bargain. The more untethered you are in some ways, the more chained you become in others. Just as the laptop and then the smartphone freed us from the tyranny of working in place, so too did they obligate us to work wherever we are. We welcomed these transitions partly because of the beauty of the objects themselves, but mostly for their functionality. Smartphones have made life easier.

Which begs the question: What happens to life when AI is everywhere? It promises to dissolve into the background, like the best technology does, automating tasks and maybe telling us a quip or two along the way. But at least now you can throw your phone into a lake. AI won’t offer that kind of escape; it will just be waiting for you when you get home.

Science fiction is rife with stories of artificial intelligence run amok. But in reality the image of an oppressive computer gets AI wrong. As the smartphone revolution (and its attendant costs) shows: We invite technology into our lives and homes and then figure out the consequences later. But when our link to the outside world isn’t some pretty device we can caress, it’ll be much harder to ask it to leave. 

Source: https://newrepublic.com/article/133770/whos-afraid-artificial-intelligence

/ About us

Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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