Perhaps it is just me

Written by Barry Johnson on 20 March 2018

I am following the progression of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The way change is handled has always been a mystery to me. I can remember when They, the ubiquitous They, decided to decimalise our unique currency.

What they did, though they fed in a lot of flim-flam, is convert twelve pennies make a shilling to five pence make a shilling and twenty shillings still make a pound. What is interesting is in my working life all meaningful money things have been done in the US Dollar. Perhaps it’s just the way I see the chaotic world.

Anyway - in the 4IR, have you noticed how abbreviations are used. I spend a lot of time looking up what things mean, like bitcoin. Mind you when I read stuff it often doesn’t make a lot of sense because it is written by people who want to make it complicated. I’m simple, so please make it simple.

Artificial Intelligence or AI (see I do some abbreviations): I sometimes wonder if the research done on ‘stuff’ is for real or just a mad idea that has paid-off. Yes, AI, a guy named Elon Musk, who is revolutionising electric vehicles and has been experimenting by launching space probes, has got all hot and bothered about AI.

Perhaps, the amalgamation of a computer’s processing power and the human brain could redress the growing imbalance between the man and physical technologies controlled by AI. 

In a conversation between Musk and Demis Hassabis, a leading proponent of AI and co-founder of London-based DeepMind, at SpaceX’s headquarters, Musk suggested that colonising Mars was crucial to the future of the human race because it would enable people to flee Earth in case AI took over the planet.

I know, I know but this is real. Hassabis fired back saying that AI would, in such a scenario, simply follow humanity to the red planet. I know this sounds like science fiction but it was a real supposedly sane conversation.

Some research Musk is now funding is into Neuralink. This project is 'developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers'. In a crazy sort of way this is logical. Neuralink would enable humans to optimise their brains in order to compete with supercomputers. 

Well we have FinTech, whatever that is, eating away at traditional finance jobs an example of 4IR that is impacting different industries. See? New descriptive words and abbreviations to make things sound revolutionary.

So, perhaps, the amalgamation of a computer’s processing power and the human brain could redress the growing imbalance between the man and physical technologies controlled by AI. The trouble for me is the science fiction is becoming real.

So, what is Neuralink? It is a fine 'neural lace' implanted into our brains to link them with AI.

No, if I keep reading this stuff the man in the white coat will lock me up. Or, perhaps, we have to read it to find out what is really going on. The trouble is I have to keep reading other stuff to understand what I have just read. No, the woman in the white coat and pebble glasses is looking at me and jangling her keys.

I know I’ll look out of the window.


About the author

Barry Johnson BA, CMCIPD, MCMI, is a non-executive director at Learning Partners Ltd

Share this page

Related Articles

13 June 2018

Jon and Jo broadcast from the Learning Technologies Summer Forum, on Tuesday 12 June.

21 June 2018

Five 'super'-skills you need in future, and other stories in this week's newsflash.