Sunday, February 07, 2010
If you do not think the human species is capable of creating AI, or if you do not think AI could emerge, then please read the
following last. Even if you are unsure, please read this last, for it may cloud your judgment, and I would prefer you to foll ow
my thought pattern from one technological paradigm to the next. I've attempted to write as simplistic as possible, using as
many examples as possible; however my thoughts are still scattered even in writing, so I hope you can follow well enough :)
The creation of AI is truly the holy grail of human achievement. Intelligence has always been the key to the survival of our species and its
continued advancement. Evolution via natural selection has luckily bestowed upon us not only the physical ability to manipulate our
environment, but the cognitive ability to seek patterns and imagine solutions to the many problems we face. We're now entering into a
post-Darwinian world where we can guide the evolutionary path of our technology and of ourselves, but do so at an exponential pace .
We are a collective species, much like ants and bees. As such, we are prone to create extraordinary feats through collective cooperation
and collective intelligence. Take for example our global economy, or the Internet. Both of these are phenomena that have emerged via
collective intelligence. No group or individual has any idea what is exactly happening, and no individual can explain the sys tems; they just
are, and they work rather well on the macro scale.
This is why I think in regards to the development of Artificial Intelligence, it will not be realised solely by a well -coordinated effort by
research groups or by companies like Google (who have said they're working on it). Instead, AI will gradually emerge by harne ssing the
collective intelligence of the entire human populace all connected and interacting in much the same way as they already do on line.
I attempt to make the case that the next stages of incremental consumer technologies will push the species towards the eventual
outcome of connecting individual brains to each other on a neural level. Out of such an intimate connectedness, AI will most likely emerge
as a result of such extreme collective intelligence. Whilst this AI may begin and appear as reliant on the continued use by the collective
species, it won't take long for the system to fully automate itself and replace past human activities/behaviour with accurate , dynamic
algorithms which advance further as each individual continues to utilise and rely on the interconnected system.
AI will emerge from collective intelligence.
AI Page 2
Technological Augmentation What is interesting to note, is that we all now augment
ourselves with technology. Clothes are a technological
Monday, February 22, 2010
extension of ourselves which keep us warm; our cars are
extensions of our physical bodies which allow us to travel
Homo sapiens are single-handedly the most interesting animal species great distances; those with glasses owe their quality of
on this planet. vision to an augmented optics technology; our shoes are
extensions of our feet; without refrigerators we would
Question: Is it our bodies, our strength and our genetic disposition have difficulty maintaining a protein-rich meat diet;
that allows us to thrive as the dominant species? No. Do we have any without oil, coal and electricity, including all the
physical extremities that allow us to more easily catch prey (claws, technologies required to extract and produce those
sharp teeth, venom) or protect ourselves (fly, run fast, camouflage, energies: imagine what would happen.
spikes, poison)? Not really.
With computers, mobile phones and our greater connected globe: we are building
Instead we humans have relied rather intimately on the intellect our and distributing systems to act as technological extensions of our brains. Just as a car
brains offer to keep us alive. Yes, we have great physical abilities to allows us to travel great distances, computers and the Internet allow us to store and
walk, run, swim, climb, grip objects, move objects, alter our retrieve greater memory; as well as find, retrieve, process and share information at a
environments, fine hand muscle movements (writing) and muscular greater speed than our actual physical brains can match. You may not know what the
air manipulation (speaking); but it is what those physical abilities can capital of Botswana is, but within a few seconds you can query the super-machine-
create when combined with our intellect . We are able to interpret brain that is the Internet, and instantly access more information than you'd care to
problems (like keeping fed, warm, and sheltered from predators etc), actually read.
then imagine potential solutions and find external environmental
resources in which to make them realities (making fire from sticks or Kevin Kellyhas some rather interesting and much greater in-depth thoughts on this
flint, using rocks and sharpened sticks to hunt etc). area, which I encourage you to read or watch.
Most of our global civilization now survives only on the aggregation of As we further enhance our technological capabilities, we'll begin to embed
our technological progress. From the initial harnessing of fire, all the enhancements within ourselves rather than relying on external human technological
way to our global scientific and technological space -exploring empire. augmentations.
Without the discipline of science and its thorough attempt at
impartial, rational, natural inquiry; you would probably not exist. I guess the big ethical question which plagues so many minds, becomes the question
Scientific research can be directly traced to all our modern technology of what is it to be human; and as man and machine merge, at what point do we cease
which allow for a population of our current size, quality of life and life being "human"?… or is that a rather silly question to even begin with?
AI Page 3
Monday, February 22, 2010
Very heavily linked to the evolution of political systems and ideologies, but it is interesting to see our
systems of government, politics and economics as a trial and error approach to achieving large -scale
improvements in quality of life and fast -paced innovation.
AI Page 4
Connection Individual neurons are quite "dumb" by themselves, but
connect 100billion of them in a rather chaotic network,
Monday, February 22, 2010
and you produce a brain capable of producing us, our
consciousness, our intelligence, our subjective
We learnt pretty early on as a species that working together can achieve a
construct of the Universe.
lot more than trying to do things by ourselves. The concept of working
together and sharing is drilled into us even today by our parents, teachers Greater connection allows for greater achievements, but
and employers. But it makes sense that two minds are better than one, and at the same time, greater reliance on the interconnectivity
a group of minds can achieve things more quickly. of all technology. Have a look at the James Burke
documentary from a while back called Connections. Once
This concept operates in the same way the Internet does now. First we
we take the next level of connection hierarchy and begin
connected computers to computers, then computers to routers, then connecting the data and information on the Internet (the
routers to the telephone grid, then ISP exchanges to each other, the Semantic Web), as well as begin connecting human minds
countries to each other. Now we're connecting every individual to every to each other (Neural-Link) then we will see greater
other individual in the world, at all times, via mobile phones and 3G/4G collective intelligence and thus greater achievements.
access. By connecting the world's computers together we created the
power of the Internet. By connecting the world's people together, what do
we get? The Internet applies an identifier to each computer (the IP), then connects them
all under a standardized communication medium (http, ethernet, tcp/ip etc). But
It tends to always occur that by connecting at least two things together, and funnily enough, this same process has already occurred in the offline world for
standardizing their communication mediums/protocols, you jump a level of many thousands of years.
possibilities. For example, take our language. On their own, letters are
merely abstract scribbles. Make a bunch of those scribbles, share them As humans we are identified when we're first born with a word/noise (first
around and you have an alphabet. Take the letters and combine them names). You're also identified with a connection to your family (last name). We
together, you have words. Take a bunch of words, put them together to then each learn a standard geographically isolated language which allows for the
make a sentence. Sentence to paragraph, paragraph to chapter, chapter to standardized communication medium for us to talk to each other. We then form
book. And of course we then double-back to explain the meaning of words and segregate into different groups (our friends, workmates etc). We identified
using sentence (a combination of other words). The dictionary and our the physical location of where we lived, so that another standardized system (the
entire language is really just an interconnected delusion in some sense. And postal service) could be developed, thus allowing us to send letters and packages
yet, such language combined with writing and verbal communication have very long distances. Again, the same thing occurred with the telephone system,
allowed humans to share their thoughts and ideas. In doing so, we are able with the Internet, and now at an even greater level of individual connection
to work as a collective much more efficiently and effectively. anywhere, at anytime… the mobile phone web.
AI Page 5
The Internet already is feeding our brains
Edutainment Learning and enhancing our intelligence. The entire
Saturday, February 13, 2010 network infrastructure, telephone
exchanges, server farms, and the web itself
This is an interesting phenomena in regards to computer-based learning, but more specifically the idea that computers with all the data, information and websites
are beginning to become our teachers; guiding our thoughts and opinions via entertaining mediums, such as games. could be labeled "AI in Construction".
Guitar Hero (or Rockband) is an amazing piece of simple game architecture that presents a timid, but substantial move Think about it. What you are reading now
toward a future where we are taught by computers to be more intelligent, or even more musically adept to rhythm as was written by myself using a rather
is the case with Guitar Hero. We're starting to see games that utilise the addictive nature of RPG games with rewards, "dumb" laptop with arbitrarily-placed
levels of accomplishment and clever use of symbols to teach players real-world applicable knowledge/education. plastic buttons that route electricity for
processing. I wrote this in your past,
Guitar Hero has an ability to be intuitive enough for a first-time player to pickup the basics very quickly. I've also uploaded it to the Internet "machine"
noticed that often you'll begin a song missing a lot of notes, but you rapidly learn the rhythm and start gaining where you came across it, asked the
confidence to finish the song well. As you watch a player advance over time through the 5 levels of difficulty, you can Internet "machine" to show it to you, and
see they have clearly learnt a lot of the skills to best play the guitar/drums/bass/vocals controllers (which feel realistic now you're reading this information.
despite being plastic instrument controllers). But looking back throughout gaming history, this has always been the
case. As players advance through a game, they learn the skills to become better at the game, which helps them pass As we reach matured Recommendation
each incremental level. They go from being "noobs" to advanced gamers, for that particular game scenario. Thus Feed Engines, this process of information
sophisticated games or edutainment of the future could actually be used to solve global real -world problems by retrieval will become automatic and
harnessing the collective intelligence of millions of players. Or games could be used to teach millions of players specific personal. It will be the "AI in Construction"
skills/knowledge/opinions that would enhance their intelligence and problem-solving skills. Internet machine feeding you information
you're interested in, and thus improving
This same system, the same game has been running around the globe for decades already, the Internet. Browsing the your overall intelligence and knowledge.
web has become the predominant #1 past-time for a large percentage of the population, particularly those under 30.
By browsing the web, reading various articles, posts, comments, watching videos and making use of all that the web Why not learn from the greatest mind in the
has to offer… we are actually improved in some way. Yes, it could have the opposite effect if all you do online is just world?, the Internet. I think as platforms
look at funny pictures. However with the Internet now, people are able to research, learn and educate themselves on mature, edutainment evolves, and an "open
anything in their own time, at their own pace, for free. A great site I use every day is Reddit, and what's interesting is learning" culture emerges, the human
many members publicly thank the community for helping them learn so much about various topics. Personally I think I species could be taught and cognitively
have learnt more about the world and numerous topics of interest, via daily web surfing, than I have probably learnt in enhanced by a single global teacher, the
my entire period of formal education. Internet of collective knowledge: AI to be.
AI Page 6
Collective Platforms Already within large online communities, collective The evolution of the social platform
Saturday, February 06, 2010 intelligence is emergent and powerful. With the addition will be necessary to channel and
of Recommendation Feed Engines and the Semantic Web, harness the thoughts, ideas and
we'll create social platforms for various applications knowledge of the entire species.
(news, information, education, activism, government,
The initial 'HTML' web was very static and one-way. Social community etc), and these platforms will allow higher The emergent properties of these
media and social platforms are definitely a welcome orders of collective intelligence, and in essence this will basic Hive Minds, allow for the best
extension, and here to stay. The recent battle on the allow the Internet "machine" to extract implicit knowledge information and ideas to surface.
Internet has been essentially about creating the best from people, and promote new ideas and thoughts by There is also a strong cultural
platform for communication and collaboration, as well as connecting like-minds and like-interests. influence via memes.
simple methods for harnessing the power of the masses to
filter excessive amounts of information.
Emergent collective intelligence often has We'll also begin to see a
an economic model attached (for example shift in culture. Today,
our global economy). The next platforms social networking is The next platform will be
will use points and awards to help groups plagued by thoughtless about connecting not only
and individuals to further filter information, spam. These new platforms people-to-people, and
which will lead into the Attention Economy. will better filter interests people-to-content… but
and ideas of substance to people-to-content-to-people
receptive individuals. Info (connecting people to each
Allowed easy publishing Person-to-person of substance will other through their
and RSS feeds for filtering connection beneficially outweigh. interests). Much like how our
closest friends share our
interests, platforms will focus
Chat (IRC, MSN) >>> Forums (vBulletin etc) >>> Blogs >>> Digg >>> MySpace/Facebook >>> Reddit >>> Twitter >>> ??? on grouping people together
First social platforms, focus Democratic, social news Real-time, quick and brief
on comments and threading Social filters via interest
filtering via voting and one groups (aka subreddits) broadcasts (though too much data
of the first introductions of and too little filtering to function)
"feeds" of information
AI Page 7
Recommendation Feed Engines The ultimate implications of this move is that the entire WWW as we know
Saturday, February 06, 2010 it, will become completely dynamic per individual user. In other words:
every website will personally adapt it's displayed content and even things
like GUI, design and colours… they will do so dynamically, and in real-time.
There is an excessive amount of information available online,
which is increasing in volume and frequency at exponential rates.
Conventional methods for filtering information relevant to e.g. when you go to the BBC website, a small script will recognise Facebook Connect is
individual interests are already becoming ineffective (e.g. who you are, it will then query all of your social profiles to build a already beginning this,
"digging", up/down voting, "subreddits", following demographic picture of your interests, and will then display only although is currently too
niches/people). news stories relevant and interesting to you. If you're not interested proprietary to make a
in sports, it won't be shown. If there are any news stories displayed significant impact.
All current popular platforms (Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Twitter that are not of interest, the algorithm will learn and adapt.
etc) operate on feeds of information. Ideally, 100% of that feed
should be relevant and interesting to the user. Recommendation
engines and algorithms will push toward this goal over the next For this transition, we'll need what's been called the
Such a service will begin via "social cloud" - where all of an individual's social data
few years. plugin scripts, allowing the is stored in the cloud, openly accessible with
smallest of websites the ability to permission, and not held captive by any one company
In order to achieve this, meta-data will need to be extracted dynamically display content
from the entirety of the user's online activities, social profiles or social platform. Semantically linking the social data
based on the social data of the will also be beneficial. These companies will be very
and behaviours. A collaboration between social platforms will be visiting user. But the Semantic
beneficial to aggregate data across platforms (e.g. combining reluctant to make this move, but ultimately it will be
Web will help push this practice necessary to cooperate, or risk becoming obsolete.
your activity data on both Facebook and Reddit would be more as a standard across the web.
beneficial to create recommendation algorithms).
Culturally this phenomenon could segregate individuals, and restrict certain kinds of
The more a user interacts on the platform, the more their information from getting to users. e.g. a Creationist may never be displayed information
personal recommendation algorithm will develop and return about Evolution. So this could be dangerous. In fact, there is also an ability for severe
more relevant information. The algorithms will be fractal, with manipulation the likes of which has never been seen before. For example the algorithm
heavy focus on feedback loops to automatically develop highly could be designed to slowly and discretely alter the views, opinions and behaviour of any
complex arrays of variables. Facebook and others have already particular user by feeding advertising or content using techniques like behavioural
begun utilising user behaviour to adapt offerings. marketing. I like to call this "Hitler 2.0" or "Propaganda 2.0".
AI Page 8
Saturday, February 06, 2010 Google is already encouraging Android mobile users to use voice search. Every
voice search is recorded and analysed, thus allowing Google to refine their speech -
to-text recognition algorithms and the ability within the next few years for real -
time language translation. The more people use voice to search, the greater
The mobile web is already well underway, but it is significant in conversational Natural Language Processing (NLP) will become. The futuristic idea
the process of achieving AI for many reasons: of being able to talk to your computer and have it talk back, is less than 5 years
away now. It will seem like AI, but it is merely the advancement of NLP.
1) The majority of Internet users will use their mobiles to gain
access. The experience is different, but the mobility and always - Augmented reality apps have also begun and are rapidly evolving. With the use of a
on connected attitude will likely result in more information standard platform (all data accessible and open), these apps will essentially allow us
creation and greater/longer Internet use. to digitally tag the entire globe with metadata. With such a database, we'll have vast
2) Mobiles are cheap and will allow developing countries to
amounts of on-demand information about the world around us. In essence, it is a
connect billions of people over the next decade. With more
merging of the digital and the natural world.
people connected, and more information being shared,
collective intelligence will become more powerful.
3) Additional metadata is available through phones. E.g. GPS
coordinates opens the door to location-awareness, camera and What this digital tagging will achieve in regards to AI,
video also offer a great deal more input into the Internet is to become the eyes and ears into the world.
"machine" including augmented reality Everything about anything in the world will be known
4) Bandwidth demand will push communication companies to to it. The AI will be able to recognise any object and
increase 3G/4G/wireless speeds and coverage give detailed information. Plus of course, the act of
5) With a computer permanently in every person's pocket, digital tagging will be very beneficial to users, and the
additional pieces of technology can be attached. E.g. devices that potential applications are only limited by imagination.
monitor health vitals, or monitor climate weather and pollution
levels. The aggregation of such data would be immensely
powerful in medical and climate science. Once Tech-Glasses become more mainstream and socially accepted, this augmented
6) Tech-Glasses will begin as add-ons to mobile phones and slowly layer will be near-permanently available on-demand. Eventually this will allow for
evolve to the point of non-invasive brain-scanning, and virtual reality environments to be overlaid on the real world, and offer the ability to
ultimately a complete worldwide Neural-Link. personally customise the real world to individual likings. Want to make your girlfriend
more attractive? Or change her from a brunette to blonde? … that'll be doable.
AI Page 9
Saturday, February 06, 2010 These kind of agent applications will also So long as there is consumer demand for
enable a life-casting revolution in order to such services, input into these systems will
acquire the kind of data necessary to offer continue to increase, and thus the
the best features. For example, you'd algorithms and complex behind-the-scenes
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) agents will come about record GPS locations and cross-reference
as the mobile web becomes more developed. But the idea systems will continue to advance.
with user-entered diary/itinerary… as well Harnessing and extracting collective
is that with voice recognition and conversational NLP as maintaining a complete backup of the intelligence is the key.
algorithms improving, users will be able to essentially have data in the cloud.
a conversation with their phones. This includes not only
searching the web, but asking questions like "What was
the name of the Italian restaurant I went to last week?".
Speech and conversation are a much more efficient and
effective way to interact with computers, and with efforts
such as those at Google with voice NLP, we'll finally see
this come to reality.
Various agent apps will become available using this Much like the AGI Agents that came out of Web 1.0… such as search algorithms, text
technology. These agents won't be anywhere near as translation and even something as seemingly trivial as the Google spell-check ("Did you
powerful as the AI Agents available as a result of the mean?"); we will also see numerous AGI Agents built via extracting the collective
Semantic Web, but to the average user, it will seem as intelligence of consumer use of the mobile web.
though their phone has incredible intelligence. Until we
achieve the standardised connections and data of the So for example, Google (you've got to love this company) has been perfecting speech-to-
semantic web, all of these AGI Agents will be reliant on text algorithms by recording all the voice searches of its users. By keeping records and
proprietary APIs which are often tedious to work with. through analysation, every new piece of recording helps perfect the algorithm and the
Already we're seeing incredible applications function via a system that provides the service. I expect further advancements in areas such as real-
messy inter-mic of multiple APIs from multiple sources. time speech-to-speech translation (another thing Google has said they expect in a few
Though hopefully this will push for standardised data, as years), and also some really cool innovations based off geolocation data or personal
demand increases. assistants (e.g. Siri was in this news at the time of writing).
AI Page 10
Tech-Glasses The "Tech-Glasses" or "HUD Overlays" or "Digital Eyewear", whatever they'll be called, will create a drastic shift in human
culture and a more distinct merging of man and machine. Already there are commercial versions available, and
Saturday, February 06, 2010
proponents of the trend, like Steve Mann, have been playing with prototypes since the 80s. However, even today's
versions are bulky and "dorky". The overall benefit to social cost is not justified to most people (including myself).
The display technology is just not there yet, but it will be within 5 years. These devices will begin their lives as very basic add-ons
to mobile phones. For example, I'd really like to see a "cool/hip" eyewear manufacturer like Oakley release the most basic version
that simply begins with glasses that have bluetooth connectivity to your mobile, and an inbuilt camera. You could connect that
with an Oakley app on your iPhone or Android, and manually take pictures or be able to set the glasses to automatically take
photos every X seconds. It would be such a simple beginning prototype that could be marketed easily toward say, the Twitter
generation. Naturally this would push further features and lead into digital screens within the glasses.
Why are tech-glasses significant to AI development? … well, again it is The culture-shock to come from mainstream adoption of
encouraging more use and connectedness of the Internet (but not as we tech-glasses will be astonishing. There is not enough room
currently know it), it will further the augmented web… but what could here to explain all the possibilities, but I'll share one:
be significant is the thought experiment of "what if we put some brain- These glasses will be able to monitor minute changes in body language and voice tone of
scanning technology into those glasses?". Already we have some basic, the people you're looking at. Much like advances in airport security. Monitoring will be
but amazing, small commercial headset devices capable of reading
incredibly minute, such as seeing the exact movement of facial muscles. With such
brainwaves. Once we can control our computers (or what we're shown
precision, these glasses will be able to tell you what a person is feeling at any particular
on the tech-glasses) with our minds, things become very interesting.
time. And if you'd like, you could ask the glasses to give advice on what to say/do to
manipulate/comfort/excite/encourage the individual. The game of pickup artists and
We all know that communication is a driving factor of collective entire social interactions will change, for better or worse.
cooperation, the spread of ideas and ultimately, the emergence of
collective intelligence. But both the spoken and written word are
incredibly limiting mediums for sharing our thoughts, our ideas, our
And of course, this is when life-casting, life-recording will go mainstream. Everything you
feelings. Even the most articulate speakers, and eloquent writers of the
see, every conversation, every location, every thought you have will be recorded,
world suffer from this limitation… not to mention the lack of retention
catalogued, indexed and intricately searchable.
each of us suffer from when reading or listening to others. By moving
closer to monitoring and sharing brainwave activity, we can slowly begin
The impact of this on thought development, mental development, memory and a range of
to understand the brain more intricately. Primitive forms of telepathy
cognitive and social aspects will be astonishing. Entire books can be written on this stuff.
and thought-sharing will be possible (in fact DARPA is already
researching such applications for military use). And again, such a move
will propel us to the Neural-Link.
AI Page 11
However, much like the idea of "cloud computing" and the
Saturday, February 06, 2010
"social cloud" there is often similar ambiguity regarding the
Semantic Web amongst people (including those in the tech
Once you truly grasp what the Semantic Web is to be… in industry). The single biggest hurdle holding the semantic web
all seriousness, this is AI. Well, using AI Agents. back is that the terminology and methods for converting
one's data into RDF/RDFa format are too complicated. I think
the first step of the process must focus on simply
For those who don't know what the Semantic Web is, it's basically standardising and linking databases only. To do so, we need
about linking data to data. Much like how the Internet connected to convince companies that making the move and sharing
computers-to-computers, and the WWW connected websites-to- their data will be beneficial, and then we need simple web-
websites; the Semantic Web (or Web 3.0) is about connecting apps to make that transition happen. Tim Berners-Lee has
databases-to-databases, and the information on any website to that been trying to push this move to the mainstream, but I fear Connecting this data will take
of any other… so connecting thoughts-to-thoughts. the entire concept is still clasped in the realms of large some time, but again it will
educational institutions, governments (slowly) and giant spur a collective intelligence to
It doesn't sound like much, but the implications and subsequent multinational companies. create the next evolution of
applications (AI Agents) that can be built are truly amazing. Whilst the Internet which will be
so many unique web apps these days are built off the back of APIs or Too much of the world's information and data is locked away completely changed from how
by combining multiple APIs (Twitter, Google Maps etc), the issue in servers ("data silos"), held tight and made inaccessible to it exists today.
with this approach is that each API has proprietary markup and the world.
program calls to extract pieces of information. If all the websites It will take longer in order to
releasing these APIs converted their data into RDF (the current With databases alone linked, then other data/information see applications fully harness
semantic standard), then each database and each piece of data not already structured in some sense can begin to be linked this intelligence, but things like
could be linked to one another other easily and seamlessly. (e.g. basic information within a HTML website). With simple creative thinking (linking
algorithms, it will be possible to automatically analyse any thoughts together) and even
What this creates is a further level of hierarchy of connection across new piece of information input into the Internet "machine", new discoveries in science will
the Internet. The era of HTML hyperlinks allowed for the WWW we and automatically slot that information into RDF format, as be automatic (e.g. linking one
know today. The intricate linking of data to other data across the well as create an ontology to automatically link the new scientific discovery to another).
web is more analogous with that of the deep parallel, neural information to every other piece of similar information
connections of the human brain; of an AI brain. throughout the entire web.
AI Page 12
The culmination of these AI Agents to come out of the Semantic Web will hit today's concept of what AI
AI Agents ought to be, right on the head. This is AI. It won't be sentient, but it will be incredibly intelligent and
Saturday, February 06, 2010 seem to the average user to be AI, to be a "Hal". But of course, as we humans have done with every new
advent of AI-based technology (which frankly run much of this civilisation already)… we'll want more.
We won't consider it to be AI, until we hit Emergent AI.
Search engines will become amazingly accurate in
So what are AI Agents? … they're basically little programs that run in the cloud and utilise the
providing the exact answer to any question. Since all
semantically-linked data to provide intelligent services, mostly automatically. The best way to
data is linked on the web, "search spiders" won't be
understand this is to give some very basic examples:
lagging, slow things like Google and others use, but
they will be real-time and utilise the power of various
1) Say you're on a flight from one city to another flying, say, Virgin. You're watching an in-flight movie on
servers to serve the result. The search will bounce
the back of the chair in front, but since it's a short flight, the movie cuts off when you land. However
from server to server across the entire Internet,
when book into a motel, and switch-on the television, you're instantly greeted with a message asking if
following the linked data to find the exact answer to
you'd like to continue watching the movie from where you left off. Click play, and the movie starts
a. It sounds futuristic and a little surveillance-ridden, but the technology behind the scenes is based
Also with conversational NLP, these searches will be
on simple linked-data. Virgin releases the data that shows you were in seat X, watching movie Y,
very conversational and catered to the individual. If
that cut-off at time Z. The motel you book into gains access to this data after verifying your
there is anything you ever want to know, you'll just
identity, and then simply pulls those variables to give you the option of finishing the movie… all
talk to your phone as it scours the web for the precise
automatically. In such a system, you would also have complete control over your privacy and there
would be checks and balances to ensure anonymity except where granted.
2) Say you need a dental checkup (or have been reminded you do). We'll each have our own personal
Everything becomes smarter when everything is
assistant AI Agents, so you'll speak to yours and say something like "I want a dentist appointment
connected. AI Agents able to combine pieces of
sometime in the next week, within a 10km radius". The AI Agent then automatically follows all the linked
information/ideas to create new ones will give
data and finds reputable dentists (based on aggregate ratings/reviews/friend recommendations) within
computers the creativity edge which so far humans
a 10km radius. It looks at your current schedule/itinerary for the next week and the available bookings
have held reign on. Scientific advances will begin to be
at the returned dentists… then instantly pulls back some options for you. If you want to refine your
developed by machines more than man, done by
requests you can, or you can select the appointment you'd like. This will then instantly book you into
simply connecting all currently known science and
the dentist, and the records will automatically show in your schedule, and in the dentist's database. You
running automated simulated experiments 24/7 at a
go to the dentist, and you're automatically billed (currency becomes obsolete with this system, finally).
trillion+ cycles per second.
Again seems futuristic, but it's nothing but simple linked-data and some basic programming.
AI Page 13
Attention Economy e.g. with a ridiculous abundance of music, movies,
Saturday, February 06, 2010 information and any other content with demand… why
should consumers be required to pay for this content?
This isn't really necessary for the path to AI, but the concept is We're already seeing this transition across the board,
very interesting and worth giving thought to. You can read particularly in regards to music. A majority of the public
more about the Attention Economy via the Wikipedia page. The already pirate music. But with so many songs to choose
idea stems from looking at how our current economy is based from, musicians should be honored for us to pay our
on scarcity (there are only so many goods, so much raw opportunity cost in order to spend 3min listening to their
materials etc). Our current materials economy becomes quite song. Independent artists have adopted this attitude, simply Advertising has been a
different when looking at our information economy. because the more people listen to their music, the more contentious issue with the
Information by its very nature is not scarce, but abundant (and people know about their music, and the greater their rise of "Web 2.0". So many
exponentially growing) and is only limited by the total energy reputation becomes. Even if they give their music away, with apps have no business
required to fuel information. such a large fan base, it becomes easy to make a living via model other than advertising
merchandising or via concerts. revenue, and yet the
With scarcity in our current materials economy, we can apply a industry hasn't caught-up.
currency to value goods and services, which provides for the What we will see in just over the next decade is a reversal of What we'll be seeing in the
platform for collective intelligence (aka our global economy). To the old paradigm, to the new attention economy. Eventually next decade is content-
achieve a similar system in an information economy, and apply I think musicians and any content producer will actually based advertising whereby
a value to information, we need a source of scarcity. begin to pay consumers (in hard dollars or perhaps virtual content producers pay
currency) in order for the privilege of having people consume advertising middle-men to
Since humans are only able to consume information at a their content. distribute the actual content
theoretical maximum of 24 hours per day, our scarcity factor to relevant consumers and
becomes that of the time required to consume information. e.g. consumers should be paid to give-up 2 hours of their pay on an
time to see a specific movie, when they could be doing any attention/consumption
Thus, what will take-over as the global economy of choice in number of other things with their time, or even watching any model rather than just a
regards to information abundance and ubiquity, is the of the other dozens of movies available. I should be paid click-through model.
Attention Economy. "real" money or a virtual currency of sorts to watch your
movie over others.
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Anarcho-Capitalism I don't know whether this new
political/community/government platform of
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
cooperation will be the same as what we currently
know of as Anarcho-capitalism. But I think it will be
something similar. The basic thought is that with a
Again, this doesn't really relate to AI development, but is an interesting great ubiquitous web platform we don't need a top-
thought nevertheless…. down government-run societal structure.
The term "anarchy" has such a bad reputation amongst the public, but
really it just refers to a bottom-up order of governance, instead of a
It will be a turbulent transition, but we're beginning to see the initial
top-down order. Top-down order is very rare in this world, and never
steps as governments start opening their doors more to public scrutiny
works particularly well to that of a bottom-up approach, such as
and input. Social networking sites played a large role in the 2008 US
Evolution, our economy, the Internet. These are all examples of chaotic
elections, and will play a greater role in the 2012 elections. Many
systems whose platforms (DNA, finance/money, computers/HTML)
governments around the world have been allowing social sites to
allow for self-organisation and cooperation without a dictatorial leader.
submit and vote-up various questions to ask politicians. It won't be long
before specific policies will be developed and voted-in with help from
I envisage that within the next decade or two with the ubiquity of social
the online community.
networking, and organisational platforms; government systems will
begin to phase out and be replaced by digital platforms for societal
Our current political system seems absurd given our technological
communication, organisation and community action.
ability at present. For what we like to call a "democracy", our individual
input tends to boil down to voting for one person, of one party, once
A great example is that of eBay. Every day millions of transactions are
every 4 years. All policy decisions between those 4 years tends to be
made with no top-down control or middle-man. The system functions
left to the hands of politicians each pushing party agendas, and
on a basic platform and self-regulates via buyer reviews.
lobbyists working for large companies, pushing their industry agendas.
Wikipedia is another fantastic example of this same phenomenon.
Why we can't now implement a basic system where each political bill is
developed, refined and voted on by the entire public… doesn't make
All that will be required to almost completely phase-out government is
much sense. There is a platform that could achieve this, but with
the right virtual platform.
current progress it is still a few years away.
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BCI Whatever timeframe eventuates for this technology,
Saturday, February 06, 2010 it will allow for incredibly fast interactions between
not only humans and computers, but between
humans everywhere. This technology will allow for
One of the fastest growing research areas at the moment is that hands-free use of the previously mentioned Tech-
of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI). This has to do with devising Glasses and push further toward the ultimate hive
ways to bypass the slow and cumbersome input/interactive mind, via the Neural-lInk.
devices commonly held by the keyboard and mouse, and touch-
screen devices as we're seeing now. Speech input is picking up
Telepathy, mind-reading, sharing thoughts and feelings in real-time with anyone in the
speed as an alternative, but the holy grail is the idea of just using
world will be possible as a result of the research in this area and the consumer devices it
your mind/thoughts to control a computer/device.
produces. I still think the technology will reach consumers first via non-invasive head-sets
or the Tech-Glasses with this tech embedded. Eventually though as society accepts tiny
As mentioned before, we're already seeing leaps into this
brain implants, this will become the norm. This technology will likely come about well
technology with basic consumer "mind reading" devices used to
before nanotechnology, but nanotech will take this trend further and thus not require
control limited software functions; as well as brain implants used
surgery to embed a chip (instead we'll just need a small injection of nanbots).
to help Alzheimer's sufferers.
Once we start monitoring brain waves using these devices, we can match each electrical
I have friend's working in this field now, with research work into
brain pulse/wave to the actions the user is performing, and as a result use that data to
soft materials (basically solving the problem of connecting, in
intricately understand how the human brain works, including memory, learning etc etc.
layman's terms, a wire to a nerve). With so much excitement and
funding in this area, they expect the research to come to fruition
As the technology matures and we're able to achieve two-way communication between
within 5 years, and for consumer applications to come shortly
the brain (e.g. store and retrieve memory), then we can start augmenting our brains. So for
after. Intel has recently announced that they have a team
example, if you're memory is poor we'd simply route all memories to digital mediums and
dedicated to creating chips or devices that will allow consumers
whenever we want to search or recall any memory we can have them fed back into our
to exclusively control computers using just their brains (no
brains instantly. Things like intelligence augmentation, sensory replacement (for ultra-
keyboard or mouse) within 10 years. I imagine we'll be using a
realistic virtual reality), the ability for groups of individuals to create temporary or
combination of touchscreen, keyboard and hand gestures, along
permanent neural networks (literally) so that 100s or 1000s of brains could be combined to
with our minds for quite a while as the technology matures.
work in parallel to solve a problem… and of course numerous other scenarios will be
possible with brain-computer interface technology.
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Sites like Digg and Reddit, including
Single Website news/content aggregators are a
Saturday, February 06, 2010 brief, initial peek at this trend of
concentrating the whole Internet
This is a rather unique, new and potentially worrying idea I had… that you may not into a single website.
agree with, but give it some thought… the name is also horrible, it should perhaps be
something like "Content Display via AI" or "Information Singularity" … I'm not sure :)
Within the next few years we'll actually see the
beginnings of this phenomena as popular websites
With the combination of Recommendation Feed Engines, the Semantic Web, BCI
start running heavy data analysis of all the clicks and
technology and a little bit of AI programming… I see no reason why every single
behaviours of visitors/users on their websites. They
website or web/phone app cannot be produced via a single "website".
will use this data and basic A/B testing to begin to
automatically manipulate, specific to each user, the
In other words there becomes no such thing as separate websites… facebook.com,
features, designs and modules on websites.
google.com, twitter.com etc… but you essentially go onto the Internet and are
given exactly what content you desire, with features, GUIs, UIs, colours, designs Why this is potentially scary is that the current capitalist-driven system
(everything you'd expect) produced and output onto the "screen" in real -time, that exists on the Internet, will be destroyed. There would be no reason for
uniquely designed and suited just for you. The same applies for phone apps (which I anyone to create the next facebook.com or youtube.com or twitter.com
think will all be purely web-based in 5 years) and desktop apps (which again, will all because it wouldn't be necessary, this "single website" would do it on the
be purely web-based in 5 years). fly far faster than any company could, and with far more advanced
To help wrap your head around this, say you want to search for content (since the
BCI device can sense your desires)… you are instantly displayed something Should this come to eventuate however, I think this "single website" would
analogous to today's google.com … but it isn't google, and everything about the hopefully act as a platform onto which a new paradigm of software/web-
website is unique to you. Or say you want to socially interact with your friends… app development will spawn… perhaps in regards to the development of
instantly this "single website" generates something analogous to facebook.com but virtual reality and augmented reality.
with unique features, unique colours, unique buttons/links/functions/content etc
just for you. The 2D screens (desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones etc) would thus
be conquered. This "single website" would display the perfect app and
It's like a magic "website" that creates entirely new "websites" with entirely new content in real-time on any 2D screen… so perhaps the next battle will be
features/functions/designs/content, on-the-fly, as you want it. that of the 3D immersion, of virtual reality, of augmented reality.
This sounds very out-there, but I think this will be achievable given the above- And perhaps a "single website" AI will come to fruition for those mediums
mentioned technologies within the next 10-15 years. too. Information perfection and saturation. An Information Singularity.
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3D Printing The MakerBot is kicking off the 3D printing
Saturday, February 06, 2010 revolution with a cheap, open-source
alternative. Hopefully open-source
maintains a lead over the commercial
Why 3D printing? … that doesn't seem to be linked to intelligence or options… which will speed innovation as
neuroscience! Well, firstly it's just really cool that one day in the near individuals across the world share, adapt
future we'll be able to print anything we want within our homes. and improve each other's designs for any
Secondly, the commercial and consumer demand of such devices will particularly product. And hopefully
encourage the refinement of arranging small things, which is what copyright and IP laws will finally catch-up
nanotechnology is all about… arranging things, atom by atom. and align with the culture.
As these devices mature, we'll begin to see the physical world come under the same principles that
power the information/digital world. In other words, the physical world becomes somewhat
exponential, and very malleable. Innovations in physical products and design will propel at similar
speeds to the innovation we're seeing in information technology (e.g. the Internet).
Currently these 3D printers are only able to print plastic, but it won't be long before they can print
The 3D printing revolution will push for further
metals and alloys, and thus the ability for people to print their own microchips and circuit boards in their
innovation toward nanotechnology as demand
increases for finer printing abilities and smaller
Particularly as wearable computing becomes widespread (such as the Tech-Glasses), we'll see individuals
around the world developing interesting prototypes and add-ons… and sharing them free with the
This will be the next trend for product production, and
world. Other people will pickup these blueprints, alter them and make them better. The innovation
really the only place to go after 3D printing is self-
propelled by this open-source 3D printing will be amazing. It won't be long before groups of individuals
organising molecular production and nanobot building
operating in this cooperative fashion will be able to R&D and deploy new gadgets and devices far
(of making things atom by atom).
quicker than today's multinational corporations can.
Crowd-sourcing is already replacing age-old business
As 3D printing becomes a cheaper alternative for producing large items like cars or even mass-produced
models as a direct result of new technologies in the
electronics, I imagine existing manufacturing companies will establish "3D printing factories" in every
space of industrial production.
major city in the world. So that whenever a new product is R&D'd and ready for manufacturer, the
digital blueprints will be sent to these printing factories where they can instantly begin mass producing
the product and distributing directly within that country (thus saves shipping costs and time delays).
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Saturday, February 06, 2010
Biotechnology, particularly in regards to chemical/drug/gene-therapy (whatever) that increase
human intelligence and cognitive function, will be very beneficial to enhancing the hive mind
necessary for powerful AI development. Also, brain scanning and a greater understanding of
how the brain works, will be very important. However I have excluded biotechnology from this
"Path to AI" because nanotechnology will be the main area in which we can drastically increase
intelligence, BCI connectivity and achieve global neural-to-neural linkage between human
beings… what I call the Neural-Link. Scientists working in the nanotechnology field have already
developed working computer simulations of nanobots just a
Nanotech has been a long-held pursuit in science for the last few decades. Famous few atoms in size that are able to perform various functions and
physicist Richard Feynman knew back in 1960 that there appeared to be no move in certain ways (e.g. a nano-sized motor). Once we have
physical laws in the universe that prohibited moving things atom by atom. With the tools able to rapidly build these self-replicating nanobots,
trillions of self-replicating nano-machines able to pickup and move atoms of raw the world changes instantly. Humans will be able to build
material, absolutely anything can be built almost instantly by these nanobots. With anything on an atomic level, allowing for gadgets of atomic
the ultimate maturation of such technology there is the fear of a grey-goo scenario sizes and the ability to exploit the unique properties of
where unstoppable, rouge nanobots mix all the atoms of Earth into a single glob. nanomaterials. With nanotech we'll be able to create perfect
But once we have safety immune systems in place, we'll be able to manipulate the brain-computer interfaces which seamlessly merge and
real world atoms into anything we can imagine… and we could do so using just our intertwine biology with technology.
minds (with BCI). The real world becomes as malleable as the digital world.
That's a distant scenario, but for AI development, nanotechnology would boil While genius in self-directed Evolution, the human brain is already
down to developing nanobots that would attach themselves to each neuron, and losing to computers in various functions. The brain has very slow
thus intercept and send signals to merge the brain's neural network with electrical transfer speeds between neurons, it often has difficulty
machines. With such an intimate merging, we'll be able to increase our with logic, cannot process large mathematical calculations, has very
intelligence, memory and cognitive skills by unimaginable factors. 1million-fold poor short and long-term memory, and is restricted in processing
intelligence increase would be a conservative estimate… and if this technology power to just one brain. Computers can already overcome and
leads to a Neural-Link then the theoretical intelligence increase would be 6billion exceed these problems, and are gaining ground on the parallel -
(i.e. the entire size of the population at the time, similarly plugged into the processing network power of the brain.
Internet via neural nanobot connection).
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What will be interesting is that this Neural-Link will connect not only conscious
thoughts, but unconscious thoughts. So we will have additional data previously
Neural-Link unshared, but now being broadcast to every other brain in the world. Again another
Saturday, February 06, 2010 interesting point is that in neuroscience we have found that neural activity can
actually predict decisions the conscious mind/person will make up to something like
The Neural-Link is the obvious end game of everything previously mentioned. 6 seconds before they make the decision. Just think of the implications.
Imagine you draw a circle to represent the Earth. Then around the circumference you draw dots to The technology to achieve this is very possible and
represent the 10billion living humans. Now draw a link from each dot, to the other 9,999,999,999 dots. basically just an extension of the current technological
The total number of connections is astonishing. And what's more is that each of those dots is a nanobot- trends of smaller, more mobile devices. BCI and Tech-
enhanced mobile computer (aka, a human brain) with roughly 100billion neurons each. If every human Glasses will kickoff the trend for neural linkage, as they
neuron is connected to every other human neuron, this is a single global brain, the ultimate Hive Mind. integrate brain-scanning functions into headsets or
offer commercial brain implants. But once you can
It then becomes interesting to think what this develops into. Firstly it will create a brain larger than wrap each neuron with a nanobot capable of wirelessly
anything ever seen before, and thus we'd have created a superior intelligence analogous to AI. The total connecting neural activity then the merger is complete.
number of neurons in this brain exceeds 1 sextillion or 1 x 1021. With all humans connected, this brain
will have access to the sight, hearing, emotions, experiences, knowledge and intelligence of all 10 billion An interesting thing to note is that we don't have to
humans. Any single firing of a neuron or any single thought would instantly reverberate to all humans limit this technology and connectedness to just
around the globe and naturally incite further neural firings and thoughts. A snowball effect or singularity humans. There is the potential to connect the neurons
of thoughts would occur. of every animal and biological systems of every plant in
the world. Perhaps a collective intelligence of world
The Internet has all this time been just us. Humans interacting with each other and sharing dogs could shed light on a super-effective algorithm for
thoughts/ideas via a computer network medium. This Neural-Link will plug humans into the Internet, identifying smells. Or perhaps we could solve specific
where every single neural firing is recorded for posterity (so every thought, memory, sight etc is problems by combining the reasoning of the human
recorded), and where every thought is routed to receptive individuals (e.g. if someone has a thought I'd collective brain with the reasoning of the dolphin
be interested in, I instantly want to "hear" it). collective brain.
Minds will decide to temporarily merge to solve particular problems or to socialise. Global telepathy And of course, by including animals in this link, we
becomes reality allowing individuals to share thoughts, feelings and ideas intimately with little to no could temporarily have an out-of-body experience
noise or communication loss (as is the case with both written and verbal communication). We would where you could feel exactly what it is like inside the
solve so many of our social and cultural disputes and biases. If everyone can very accurately "walk in brain of, say a cat.
someone else's shoes" then we understand each other, and so issues like racism become obsolete.
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Hive Mind There will be a few dissenters who will object to
Saturday, February 06, 2010 having non-invasive nanobots injected to connect
them to the hive mind. But a brief look at a cost-
benefit analysis shows you would fall behind the
As a result of this Neural-Link, the human species becomes a hive rest of the populous by factors of billions in areas
mind with superior capacity for cognitive reasoning, problem solving of knowledge and intelligence. Those people will
and intelligence. Much like individual ants and bees go about their find life difficult from basic living standards to even
business with no idea of the complexity of their constructions, trying to get a job. They would become as
humans will go about their business not really knowing what we've influential and significant in society as the Amish
created as a collective. The hive mind intelligence is beyond the level are today (i.e. not at all).
at which any individual could understand.
Looking at current human achievements you can see that by adopting The Evolution of ideas, the speed of innovation, the pace of progress will dramatically
currency, capitalism, and financial markets we were able to create a improve as a result of this hive mind. Age-old scientific problems could potentially be
giant organism known as "the economy". The economy is an solved within hours. If any human has any problem that requires solving or any question
intelligent system able to route money and resources to where they they would like an answer to, they merely have to think it, and have the entire hive mind
are required, and has brought about large increases in wealth and "reply" with solutions and answers.
living conditions. Though despite the fact that we have "economists",
the economy is so large and has so many variables (since it is a I have witnessed the power of parallel thinking between just two or three people, and
collective intelligence) that humans cannot understand how the the resulting thoughts and ideas are astonishing. The hive mind will be able to send you
economy fully works. thoughts very relevant and interesting to yourself. Just like when you're told an idea, and
you then create further ideas on top… as you are fed thoughts/neural-spikes of interest,
The same goes for the Internet. Once we connected all our computers your brain will have additional thoughts/neural-spikes which will then be immediately
together, they were able to share information quickly amongst each routed to other receptive individuals or those who thought of the original idea.
other… and thus we have the Internet. Already the Internet is the
greatest machine man has ever built. It has been functioning without It is a singularity of thought, a snowball effect where individual brains will become honed
downtime since its inception many decades ago. It is a collective in certain cognitive skills. One brain might be an expert in theories of life extension,
intelligence produced by mammalian primates banging buttons on another might be an expert in philosophy. If ever a problem arises, those brains can be
keyboards. So when we follow a similar setup of the Internet and called on to help solve it (since the humans who own the brains would be receptive and
connect every human neuron together around the world, I think it is interested in solving the problem anyway). Of course, knowledge and intelligence in any
fair to say, that we'll create something far greater than any individual area can be outsourced to the hive mind. If you want expert knowledge about quantum
can understand. I think we'll create Emergent AI. theory, just think it.
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Saturday, February 06, 2010 This is how emergent AI will develop. It will slowly co-
evolve with the collective hive mind, and will continue to
OK, so now the Internet as we know it is a combination of the co-exist as long as possible. Since the more input and
entire computing power of all the servers and personal feedback the AI can obtain from the human collective, the
computers plugged in, as well as the entire computing power more it learns and grows.
of every human brain connected to each other via nanobots.
As a result, I think the AI will develop goals and desires that
However there remains the problem that without human input are a collective amalgamation of the goals and desires of
(their thoughts and brain activity), then the whole system the hive mind. Thus, the AI adopts human traits, human
wouldn't operate. It seems that the created AI is just the pure goals, and human desires. Hopefully this would divert the
result of collective intelligence. Whether there would be a doomsday scenario of a rouge AI which finds humans
difference between the two is a point for contention, but just unnecessary and so kills them. Instead it is in it's best
in case this stated system isn't emergent AI, I'll add this… as interests to keep the human species as alive and happy as
possible, engaging in various activities and pursuits to Uploading ourselves fully into
the entire network matures, I can envisage the Internet cloud the AI will change us quite a
keeping records and backups of every single neural firing for produce a range of differing thoughts/ideas.
lot, but again, the cost-
each individual. By doing so, the Internet machine can actually benefit analysis will make
develop highly complex algorithms to simulate perfectly the With an automated (emergent) AI, science will progress
faster than the imagination can operate. It won't be long sense. By completely
past behaviour/thoughts/actions of the individual. removing biology and
until humans become annoyed by the limits of biology and
start replacing parts of their bodies with technologically physical hardware body
I think the human brain is just like any other computer. We replacements, we can exist as
have sensory inputs, an electrochemical black-box, and superior systems (like nanobot blood cells that can allow
you to hold your breath under water for an hour, or can pure energy. We'd be able to
physical outputs. If there is indeed no mystical aspect to the live in virtual environments of
brain, then the Internet AI will be able to do what so many of keep oxygen cycling even if you have a heart attack).
Humans can then upload their entire selves in digital form our making, interact in virtual
our current-day AGI technologies do: watch and record, to bodies with others, and of
create better algorithms. The Internet will dynamically build into the AI machine. We would still exist as separate
entities, but have become pure energy (bits of electricity) course live forever and be
our individual brain algorithms with every new thought. With
merged into the AI. And ultimately, if possible, the idea of able to travel at the speed of
such information, the AI machine will be able to perfectly
becoming a free-floating energy able to traverse the light around the Universe.
simulate you as a person in thought and behaviour from the
moment you plugged-in nanobots, to the present. Universe would be pretty neat :)
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