Something bigger than Artificial Intelligence.

Recently my mom visited me from India and I thought to visit a local historical building with her to see the beautiful architecture of the building so that she won’t feel homesick as she goes out. And it is a very big building with a tall roof. While sitting inside and looking at a tall standing roof, I had suddenly start thinking about every human that is living in the world. And next thought came is, can I put every human being in the volume of the building. Then I thought that it may not be possible so I did one thought experiment. Just to consider that human part of the body that makes them most unique i.e. brain. So, if I measure the volume of the average human brain and then multiple that with 7.7 billion units, the answer may be not exactly matched with the volume of the space inside that building but it will be closer i.e. may 10 church buildings will have more volume than the number of brains inside the world.

Then I thought to myself, that is it. This amount of volume is running everything in the world right now. Following that, days were passed but that thought experiment was somewhere sitting in the back of my head. And then I realize what will happen if we can put all of the human’s brains next to each other and connect them somehow, will they outperform a single brain? Let’s go one step ahead, let’s say we found out a way by which we can connect these brains so that if we connect two brains then they will outperform 1 brain by the factor of 2. And the strongest brain we can make is joining all of the living human being’ brains in the world right now. Please keep in mind it was(is) just a thought experiment. I have a background in material science and I know theoretically it is possible to make any material in the world, given you just have to arrange atoms in the proper positions in the space. So, this led to my next question, instead of using brains developed inside a human body, why not we can build a synthetic brain that will be equivalent to the human body in terms of its IQ or whatever parameter you want to consider. And then we can create 7.7 Billion such brains and line them up in a way that the 2 brains lined up will be stronger than the one brain by exactly the factor of 2. Now just imagine a person/nation/organization that can build these synthetic brains and line them up will have the advantage of the brainpower equivalent to the people in the world.

Now as a next step, two variables can be considered; first- how to lineup the 2 brains in such a way the resultant power will be more than by the factor of 2 and second- if we can arrange the atoms in such a way that we can create a synthetic brain then why not go ahead and find out another arrangement of the atoms so that just one synthetic brain will be equivalent to the 7.7 billion human brains. There will be no stop to it. If one country is able to achieve the 7.7 billion to 1 ratio then some other will work to make a let’s say 20 billion to 1 ratio synthetic brain and so on, there will be no end to it. And a building housing this synthetic brain will be protected with 10 times more security than the Pentagon.     

Almost a year later after my 1st thought experiment in the church, I came across a podcast hosted by Lex Fridman. In episode #250, a person named Peter Wang appears in it[1]. And he talked about an idea that is almost similar to what I was entertaining in my mind. Please be advised, this idea was not completely minted by me. I already know that artificial brain neurons are a work under progress as I come across several scientific papers about Memtransistors under my habit of reading out loud new papers for 1 hour every weekday as they are delivered by my google scholar alerts.  But I never realized, it has this much potential so that the computer-based AI will look nothing in front of it. It is not the question of yes or no, it is just the question of when. And once that happened then there will be no way to put back the genie in the bottle and in fact, there is no way to stop the genie from coming out from the bottle in the first place.


Update #1 (Jan 17, 2021): Just came across the Lex Fridman podcast episode[2], where a person named Jeffrey Shainline from NIST (Boulder, CO, USA) is a guest and talked about a similar idea followed by his recent paper[3]. He is calling it “Optoelectronic Intelligence”.


[3] J. M. Shainline, “Optoelectronic intelligence,” Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 118, no. 16, p. 160501, Apr. 2021.

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