DARPA In Pursuit of Perfection: A.I. + Transhumanism

DARPA In Pursuit of Perfection: A.I. + Transhumanism

December 3, 2019 – DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has been working tirelessly to make advances in the field of super soldiers in the name of so-called efficiency.

According to an article by Gizmodo entitled ‘DARPA’s New Biotech Division Wants to Create A Transhuman Future,’ the agency is dedicating an entire team to this ideology:

The Pentagon’s advanced research wing has announced its latest budget — and whoa, does DARPA ever have some ambitious plans for the future. Their new Biotech unit will be harnessing biology for national security, and dealing with everything from stopping plagues to building synthetic soldiers.

DARPA’s commitment to cutting-edge innovation is unquestioned. The very essence of the defense agency is to make sure that U.S. military technology is more sophisticated than that of the nation’s rivals. Among its many current initiatives, DARPA is working on advanced roboticsan artificial human brainnext-gen robotic aircraftadvanced prosthetics, and self-teaching computers (if anyone’s going to build a recursively improving AI it’s going to be DARPA).

A priority for DARPA is in restoring and maintaining the abilities of its warfighters. It wants to maintain peak soldier abilities and then restore those abilities as soon as possible after an injury. This will include the development of advanced prosthetics (featuring mind-controlled limbs), neural interfaces, the ability to survive blood loss, and even neurotechnological solutions to treat psychological trauma such as PTSD.

The Pentagon also wants to dabble in artificial life as a way to create completely new biological systems, products, and materials. It’s hoping to gain a better understanding of natural process and the underlying design rules that govern the behavior of biological systems, and then apply that knowledge to forward-engineer new systems and products with completely novel functionality.

This is particularly interesting news considering that biologists have recently built an artificial chromosome from scratch. Once refined, this biotechnology will allow for the creation of entirely new organisms, while adding new capacities (or “features”) to existing ones — including humans. Imagine a soldier who never needs to sleep, requires minimal sustenance, or who has cat-like infrared vision. Artificial chromosomes could pave the way towards this kind of future — technologies that could eventually trickle into the civilian domain (much like the Internet and GPS has — both military innovations). – Gizmodo

While these technologies appear to have many beneficial prospects, they also appear to have many potential flaws and dangerous implications. When you start tinkering with the brain and one’s memory and genetic code, the potential for abuse and loss of freedom of conscious and conscience becomes very serious.

How will this technology be monitored? How can we make sure our warfighters won’t be abused or coerced into actions counter to their moral code?

Ryan Daws of Artificial Intelligence News discusses this in one of his latest reports ‘DARPA Introduces ‘Third Wave’ of Artificial Intelligence’ which claims:

The Pentagon is launching a new artificial intelligence push it calls ‘AI Next’ which aims to improve the relationship between machines and humans.

As part of the multi-year initiative, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is set to invest more than $2bn in the programme.

In promo material for the programme, DARPA says AI Next will accelerate ‘the Third Wave’ which enables machines to adapt to changing situations.

For instance, adaptive reasoning will enable computer algorithms to discern the difference between the use of ‘principal’ and ‘principle’ based on the analysis of surrounding words to help determine context.

DARPA defines the first wave of AI as enabling ‘reasoning over narrowly defined problems,’ but with a poor level of certainty. The second wave, it claims, enables ‘creating statistical models and training them on big data,’ albeit with minimal reasoning.

Moving away from scripted responses is the next aim for AI. A survey conducted at the Joint Multi-Conference on Human-Level Artificial Intelligence found that 37 percent of respondents believe human-like artificial intelligence will be achieved within five to 10 years.

AI Next will also involve DARPA’s Artificial Intelligence Exploration (AIE) programme announced back in July.

AIE is DARPA’s initiative for the development of AI concepts that it considers high-risk, but high-payoff. The aim is to establish the feasibility of such projects within a one-and-a-half year timescale. – Artificial Intelligence News

For more information regarding DARPA’s latest programs, Artificial Intelligence, Transhumanism and Biotechnology, please see the video below by Blackmirror from the Hyperdrive Show with Thumper and TMC:

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