The Smartest Person in the Room vs The Happiest Person in the Room

AI is technology’s attempt to enhance the performance of the human brain. While science is attempting to compare the processing ability of neurons with silicon chips, it must be pointed out that we do not have a full understanding of the full power of the human brain’s potential.

Consider the story of individuals labelled as autistic savants (formerly, “idiot savants”). Savants display amazing processing capabilities found in one or more of five major areas: art, memory, arithmetic, musical abilities, and spatial skills, despite having significant impairment in other areas of intellectual or social functioning. Savants can process information at speeds beyond that of conventional computers. Some autistic savants have super processing capabilities in managing complex mathematical calculations, others have amazing memory capabilities. For example, Stephen Wiltshire, a British architectural artist and autistic savant has a particular talent for drawing lifelike, accurate impressions of cities, skylines and street scenes after having only observed them briefly. Though he is autistic, Stephen was awarded as a member of the Order of the British Empire for services to the art world in 2006.

Autistic savants are exceptional individuals regarding their neural processing capabilities. Savant abilities can exist in a variety of areas, but most savants show skills in art (e.g. Stephen’s hyper-detailed drawings), music (proficiency in musical instrument playing without any training), superfast mental arithmetic processing, calendar calculation (e.g., the ability to provide the day of the week for any future or past date), and an outstanding ability of their memory to recall facts, events, and numbers. The emergence of savant skills in autistic adults is not fully understood, and there is a complete lack of empirical evidence to support current theories.

Savant skills demonstrate that the human brain has processing abilities that go well beyond current scientific awareness. Logic would guide us to first understand the natural “superpowers” inherent in the human brain before we proceed in augmenting intelligence with silicon chips. In fact, consider this: currently, the technological capabilities of brain cells exceeds that of current computers. Installing an AI chip in the brain is analogous to trying to enhance the power of an Electric Car by installing parts from a Ford Model T.

An important problem with AI that is not addressed in discussions, is that the functions and programming of installed chips are controlled by others. This technology, designed to control your neurologic functions, could disempower, and enslave you to the programming algorithms of others … manifesting George Orwell’s vision in his classic book, 1984, the control of your mind by “big brother.”

On another level, can AI truly enhance our life experiences? For example, in my mom’s later years, she remarried Phil, a retired pharmacist who once owned his own drug store. Phil was a curmudgeon, a grouchy complainer that never really had anything nice to say. However, Mom was happy, so Phil didn’t bother me because I didn’t have to live with him.

At 97 years of age, Phil was dying of terminal cancer. My mother, a devoted companion, cared for Phil’s last days of life at home. Phil was essentially “unconscious” during the last week of his life. Two days before his death, Phil’s eyes were open wide and in a state of startled revelation, he declared, “I didn’t have any fun!”

What appears to be a simple insight, emphasizes a profound realization. Human civilization is a giant “community.” Members in a community contribute time from their lives to support the community’s needs, in other words, they work. Perhaps you may be familiar with the adage, a truism, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Collaboration in a community provides its members an opportunity to have a life outside of the job. Time to experience the joys and splendor of life. We become vitalized when we experience the grandeur of Nature, or when we pursue personal happiness through romance, good food, music, literature, and cinema among other recreational pastimes.

The question is, “How much health and happiness are you experiencing?” Are you doing better than Phil? Civilization is facing an imminent and irreversible collapse in the next couple of decades (NASA), and the anxiety and stresses of today’s life are responsible for up to 90% of the world’s health crisis. While technocrats offer AI as the answer to enhancing consciousness, on the personal level does that technology provide a better “quality” of life for humans?

Perhaps before we submit to installing chips in the brain, we should first invest time in the natural ability of using our nervous system to experience the love, joy and vitality offered in our world. We simply do not need AI to benefit from the experience of peaceful quietness in watching a sunset, or strolling in the woods, or sharing a candlelight dinner with dear friends!

Personally, when it is time to make my transition into the afterlife, unlike Phil, I want to be able to leave with the satisfaction of having experienced a joyful life of “Heaven-on-Earth.”

With Love and Light,

Reprinted from Bruce Lipton's July '23 Newsletter, "Think Beyond Your Genes"

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