By Guido Meak, Coordinator of the Master course in “Innovation design”
Besides by writing better software, a second path towards General Artificial Intelligence is by building technology able to scan a brain so exactly that we would effectively digitalize all its content: memories, emotions, and the consciousness itself would become digital. Such digital consciousness would go beyond current DNA-based replicas: it could be implanted inside new hardware, beamed into smaller dimensions or sent as a light-wave across the cosmos, changing the perception of space; it could be duplicated into multiple hardware-selves or quasi-biological containers; it could be slowed down or suspended, changing subjective time. Host hardware could have different sensors than our current human body has senses, giving this new life-form a wider range of experiences. What is “alive” in this scenario? Cyborgs, the connection between biology and engineering, will bring us improved bodies or augmented selves? And what would death become? And our society?
Guido earned his Master’s Degree at the London School of Economics thanks to a scholarship from the Italian Government, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University in 1999, at the peak of the Internet hype. He founded two tech companies before turning twenty-eight, and three in total, based in Italy, Ireland, and the USA. The largest of these companies became an international e-commerce enabler with offices in four countries and a team of 50 people from 15 different nationalities. Guido lived in Silicon Valley for 4 years and closed funding rounds with investors from Italy, Switzerland and the USA. As a recognized pioneer in his field, he introduced concepts to the European market that became tech standards, including the idea of end-to-end e-commerce outsourcing. In addition to his passion for technology, Guido has been a successful athlete: he raced with the Italian National Ski Team and represented his country over two seasons at the Europa Cup.
Are we already post-human?
Beginning with science fiction, through cartoons, gaming and scientific writings, we discussed the trajectory of mankind towards hybridization with the artificial world. The “evolved” and the “designed”: concepts applicable to our bodies, our minds, our relationships and the choice of a sexual partner.
We believe that technology, at some point in history, will profoundly change human nature, thus creating a rift in our evolutionary process.
Humanity will enter a new phase of existence, during which we will go beyond what we today identify as natural. Mental and physical skills will improve and human life will be expanded and simplified. How? Through the activation of new senses and the creation of new ‘us’ and new worlds.
In order to better prepare for this step, we have imagined a new type of clothing: wetsuits equipped with sensors able to expand, or differentiate, the sensorial apparatus of our brains. The perception of electromagnetic waves – above and beyond visible wavelengths – and the ability to physically feel the worlds that we now call virtual, all these will change our relationships and our idea of space and time. In the long run, however, hybridization could lead to a mix between cyborgs and robots: post-human, partly mechanical, partly biological, and partly virtual. We have chosen to testify about this aspect.