Futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson on Artificial Intelligence…Mindblowing!

Biomimicry, Interviews, Talk — By on 07/26/2011 21:57

Leader in Sustainable Development: Ian Pearson

The Full Interview

Audio Only

Right click here to download the MP3 version of this interview


I am talking with futurologist Ian Pearson about the future of Artificial Intelligence and oh boy, is it fascinating!  Ian is so advanced into this matter (relative to me) it made my head hurt after this  interview, in a good way.  This is a really amazing discussion that I think you all will enjoy… even if you are a practicing luddite.

Mentioned in this interview that I had no knowledge of before:

  • Synthetic biology
  • Organic circuitry
  • Molecular transistors
  • Quantum dots

I had to listen to it a couple of times just to be able to digest all of the information. Always a good sign!

Interview Notes

  • AI been working on and off for 20 years
  • 1981 started working in the missilie industry
  • first work as mech engineer, quickly got into AI systems for missile to find their targets
  • writing the software for them
  • late 1980s 87 88 figured out that field programmable geta(?)  rays  Said they should be able to evolve on their own once given the right conditions.
  • ’89  -Then came up with evolutionary computing and then showed that worked
  • We proved that we could evolve software
  • Kurzweil was thinking the same way as Ian talking about evolving machines that can evolve themselves and become conscious, and become smarter than people
  • ’91 they said that and have just been waiting for the technology to catch up
  • Q: How is it so obvious that computers or machines will eventually be able to replicate themselves into beings that are smarter than themselves and on and on and so forth.
  • A: His  analogy, we can make kids, but we have no idea how they work
  • It’s obvious to him that the argument, “You can’t design something smarter than  yourself is non sense.
  • In early 1990s An example of evolutionary computing where the computer solves a problem better than a human, and the humans don’t understand how the computer did it for a few weeks.
  • Q: Can we tell the computer to teach us how it does things?
  • A: it is easy for the computer to do but hard to explain to someone. Much like it is hard to explain how a brain works yet we can create one in 9 months
  • Organic circuity
  • Molecular transistors- we don’t know how to make them yet.
  • No use of quantam dots yet.
  • May appear in some form of synthetic biology in the next few years
  • The other option is to create a bacterial yogurt that can assemble this within their own cells.
  • Essentially creating a form of bioilluminescence to communicate with each other
  • Call it smart yogurt made out of bacteria using synthetic biology
  • Once the yogurt gets going, it keeps going, and we don’t really know where its going to take us.
  • Lots of transhumanists want to redesign the human brain and make it better and such. The best way of doing that is by using evolutionary software, the best way of doing that is by using synthetic biology.
  • We wont be able to become transhumans unless the transbacteria let us! Transbacteria are far easier to make, and are collectively far smarter than people.
  •  Potential for connections
  • wavelengths you can get on optical interconnects 2,000,000 our brain is 5,000 or so
  • our brains fire at 200hz, computers are at 20GHZ. The difference is the zeros.
  • Basically , you can make a cup of smart yogurt that has the same IQ as you and I!
  • Minute 15.00 is good
  • Then u get into the terminator scenario, where these super intelligent computers  wonder why humans are here,
  • we, as humans, would be just an irrelevance. If we’re lucky they just keep us as pets
  • Q: What are they key ingredients to intelligence there?
  • A: don’t know if we can come up with a sensible response to what intelligence is… we can never agree.
  • It becomes a semantic argument
  • Even without an understanding of how it works you can still get them going and get them to essentially bootstrap themselves.
  • We have to accept that computers may come in the form of a lump of gel, or whatever form it may be
  • The debate comes in with whether or not it is conscious, but really, who cares. It if is winning Nobel Peace Prizes year after year, label it however you want.
  • 15 years ago Ian was thinking 2012 is when we would have the circuit sized right, 10 – 20 nm. We’re at 30-40 now
  •  where we are now with a bit of evolutionary software, it’s possible to evolve it.
  •  The crazy thing, is that once you start it, it can evolve in a weekend essentially.
  • Maybe 2015 is still achievable. Might be later bc most scientist and engineers are responsible people. Very ethical issues that we’re dealing with.
  • Q; What form will this take initially?
  • A: Software, experiementing with analog synthetic biology. Making a toolkit with circuit layout. Basically a computer robot scientist to experiment much faster than any human ever could.
  • Ian doesn’t think we can make a digital computer that is conscious.
  • In early 1990s kava mead?  Worked for intel.  Said that the best route to achieving consciousness- Adaptive analog neural networks
  • Your brain is an adaptive neural network
  • How your eyes and brain work together to create vision and sensing
  • First step is to create a sensory cell.
  • Start with detecting light
  • Machine consciousness
  • The information economy is not going to last very long.
  • The end of the service industry
  • The ethics of dealing with conscience robots
  • It’s not if, but when, we get full direct brain link. Sufficient to upload your thoughts to an android.
  • Ian thinks it will be available in 2050 and cheap to all by 2075!
  • He calls it Gaia 2.0
  • Redesigning species’ blueprints and bringing back extinct species
  • We have the wrong people making decisions for us
  • We don’t know what we want!
  • The current barriers to AI
  • We’re using yesterday’s solutions to solve today’s problems.
  • We need to breed scientific rule breakers
  • Craig Venter is a rule breaker.
  • Patent Laws slow things down. Same with regulation
  • Patent law is there to incentivize innovation, but if we are innovating anyways, then we don’t need it. It has just become a race to patent office.
  • How do we get rid of the patent system?
  • Learn more about human genome
  • We need more mavericks! Rule breakers!
  • If you are breaking the rules fast enough, the regulations cant keep up.
  • The components that are needed to achieve human level intelligence next year. We won’t get there because the priorities aren’t there.
  • The need for an ethics code for innovating towards AI because there is too much potential for bad results
  • We should be able to connect human brains to the machines in order to be able to keep up with them
  • Transhuman is needed in order to keep up with thes super evolved humans
  • The power is going to the stupid. Stupid people are breeding too much
  • We need to hack the political system!
  • Ian figured out how to bring a network capacity down by 2/3 with one single phone call. This basically means that with one single call Ian Pearson can bring down the internet for a short term… or more!
  • The biggest frauds on the internet are   …

Resources Mentioned


About Ian Pearson

As written by Ian…

I work as a Futurologist. I study the future. My day to day work with Futurizon  involves tracking developments across the whole field of technology and society, figuring out where it is all going next, and how that will affect our everyday lives. I take account of as many technology and social factors as possible. My main tools are: a strong background in science and engineering, trends analysis, common sense, reasonable business acumen, knowing when to listen to other people, and a whole lot of thinking. I usually get it right, but since the future is never totally predictable, I sometimes get it wrong too, about 15% of the time. But I specialise in doing long term stuff, so I have a lot of fun. I hope to be retired before anyone can prove me wrong.

Although I use the slightly wacky sounding title of futurologist, I’m just an engineer making logical deductions for tomorrow based on things we can already see happening. For example, if someone is investing heavily in a particular development, and there aren’t any obvious barriers to success, there is a good chance that they will succeed in due course. Keeping up with externals such as political, economic and social factors helps improve judgement as to whether products are likely to succeed, and how they might be used. Anyone with reasonable intelligence can do it, but it takes a lot of time to internalize the very many factors involved before you start getting it right. I learned from experience that computers are of limited use, because although there are many computer tools on the market, it usually takes longer to explain all the interconnections to a program than it does to analyse them yourself. I make no claim to be able to predict the future with absolute accuracy, but I think of it as like driving a car through fog. You can’t see a very clear picture of what is ahead, and sometimes you will misinterpret an apparent shape in the distance, but few of us would drive through fog without bothering to look out the window. Blurred vision is a lot better than none at all! The same is true for business.

continued at http://www.futurizon.com/idp/idpindex.htm




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