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The digital future

The scientific approach 14.09.2016 at 03:58

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Ordinary modern man creates a little less than one terabyte of data every year. But some people are superior to the average. One of such people, Duane Roy, the baby is living in Boston. He regularly produces similar amount of data for each output.

Why Dwayne creates so many bits? I must say that he is the son of Professor DeBa Roy-managing the Cognitive Machines group at the MIT Media Lab, and Professor Rupal Patel, studying speech pathology at northwestern University. Both parents Duane with great interest to study how children learn to speak. It's important to Patel, since it is included in her chosen area of research. Roy is important because he wants to use the same principles for training robots to communicate in human language. The couple realized that understanding how children acquire speech, we have not enough data. No one ever documented in detail, as are developing as they grow older their attitudes and language.

When Patel became pregnant, the couple decided to tackle this problem. To do this, the parents began to carefully record everything that happens in the first three years of life of their newborn child. Received a grant from the National science Foundation for a project the Human Speechome project ("Recoma man", by analogy with "genome"), Roy rigged his house with eleven cameras with high resolution and fourteen microphones. About a thousand kilometers of cables connect these devices with a data center located in the basement. Every day in the basement accumulates more than 300 gigabytes of information about Dwayne. Every step, any manufactured noise, just audible sound and everything he sees is recorded for scientific purposes (the cameras turn off, when the child falls asleep, and obviously can't follow him when he is outside the house).

Obviously, with such a large volume of incoming information data center, located in the basement gradually filled to the limit. That is why the older Roy have to regularly pull out of the computer's many hard drives and archive the data on a more powerful computer system that they created at work. To track what is happening with one little boy, he uses a network of expensive processors and disks capable of storing a petabyte or one million gigabytes of information. This project's title accurately reflects its essence: TotalRecall ("total Recall").

In our days, Dwayne Roy may be the exception. Life few of us are trying to record and save the video. However, as digital media and human life become more closely intertwined, a trail of electronic information of this kind will be quite familiar. We can already see how some of the device types involved in this transformation. Not long ago Google introduced Google Glass, the augmented reality system, the web camera which monitors everything in your field of vision, and a small monitor supplies you with information about what you are seeing and doing in real time. You are going to cook a pie? Glasses recognize it, will find you a recipe and show you step by step instructions. You will not know approached you? No problem – with the system of facial recognition, Google Glass will remind you of his name. While these points seem stupid. But do you remember how stupid people looked, loudly talking to yourself in the early days of mobile phones? Regardless of the success of the idea of Google Glass, the technology of this kind has a great future ahead.

these devices simplify the fixation of what is happening in our lives in the style of Duane Roy (the concept of registration life, "wearable" devices and the growing popularity of the concept of "dimensions of personality" are closely linked). At first, they will not be especially popular – because it is a clear invasion of privacy. However, the Internet is already changing our ideas about the norms of private life, encouraging people to share increasing volumes of personal information, whether diaries or the announcement of changes in marital status. We know how to end stories of this kind: someone will inevitably begin to volunteer to capture the slightest detail of his life, and there will be many websites that help in this.

this has obvious advantages. In such a fixing of life you won't forget anything: you will be quite simple to revise information about a particular experience sensory experience. And it can be good (sometimes). This will protect our lives. In the end who will cause harm to another person, if the information about any crime then gets into the air? You will receive from people all over the world tips on how to act in every situation in life (although it may quickly get bored). From time to time you may want to leave the Network, disable the device, commit your life to any sort of intimate moment or taking a bath. Most likely, they will do the majority of people (but not all). Such recording of life will become both a window and where we the world and in our bodies.

"Wearable" electronics like Nike+ FuelBand and Fitbit already tracks how many steps you've taken, how many stairs climbed and how many calories burned during the day. A device called the Scanadu Scout performs a more important task. This small drive in just a few seconds tracks and records your body temperature, pulse and oxygen level in the blood. It is also able to do an electrocardiogram and even to analyze the composition of urine. In fact, Scout is a device that could be seen only in science fiction movies like "Star trek." The data obtained will allow you to turn information about your condition in the original medical report, filled with details about all the unconscious processes that make to function our bodies. If something goes wrong, the device of this kind will immediately notify the doctors. The now common practice of a doctor visit in the framework of the annual examination will change radically. Using such devices telemedicine, doctors can keep a track of what is happening with you. If necessary, they will call you even before you talk to them. Registration of life will allow us to record in detail everything that happens in our body and outside it. But how about our very volatile experience of human thought?

We think that is described in science fiction devices, able to decipher every thought that the user is unlikely to become reality in the near future. The main problem here is that the car is difficult to teach to make sense of ordinary waves in the brain. However, there are other, powerful enough workarounds. In the last decade, scientists successfully develop interfaces "brain – machine" that allows paralyzed people to move prostheses by thought or wirelessly transfer commands to move the mouse. Some interfaces are used to communicate with people who, by conventional medical definition, are in a coma. Sometimes these interfaces are already used in toys.

These interfaces are based on the fact that, although the usual brain waves strange for a mechanical reading device, we can train your brain to make its operation more clear for the machine. This is achieved through conscious generation of specific neural signals that the car can recognize. Each interface of this kind, whether the scanner is functional MRI, which tracks blood flow in the brain, electroencephalogram, which monitors the electrical activity, or the implant is attached to a small group of brain cells – all that makes a machine, it searches pre-agreed signal and responds to it in advance programmirovaniem way. This approach has been incredibly successful. It is easy to imagine systems that allow us to use your own brain to control various devices or even send messages to each other. And this is just the beginning.

When we think, our thoughts often take the form of a sequence of words. To describe this process uses a special expression – a stream of consciousness. The existence of the stream of consciousness cannot on its own is no surprise. Words are used to communicate with other people. Not quite clear why we also use them for organizing their internal thoughts, when in the process does not involved anybody from the outside. Nevertheless, we all do it.

the point of view of the brain, the nervous signal for the interface between brain and machine is not particularly different from the words spoken aloud. In fact, brain cells only perform in certain sequences. The main difference is that instead of using this sequence of conversation with a person, we use it to talk to a machine.

There is nothing improbable in the fact that people at some point will get used to accompany your inner monologue defined specific terms, creating a real-time closed system, interacting with computers. We will thus be able to record your inner monologue.

Every sensual experience, every beat of our heart, a rumbling stomach and every thought arising in our mind, – all this, in principle, can be loaded into the computer memory. Actually registration of all of these conditions can dramatically change our lives. And it will change not only the life itself. This system will allow the records of our lives to experience ourselves. We will be able to write a complete chronicle of its existence, children and loved ones. They will remember our triumphs and regrets, our wisdom and our stupidity – the digital afterlife. If you wish, you could sell this record your life any company or share it with scientists. In the library of the future the biographical section will contain not only stories of human lives, but also their full broadcast.

Data is power

Since the inception of photography it was accompanied by a strange superstition, according to which the camera brings your picture steals a tiny piece of your soul. This idea is something there. As we just saw, a single image of a person can sometimes give power over him. Can big data power to steal your soul? The answer to this question you need to find as quickly as possible. In the old days required a lot of conscious effort to store information about our lives for posterity, so people have fixed quite a few. But we have come a long way since then, as we began to make images on cave walls. Very soon we'll be so simple to capture everything that happens to us is that many will do it without hesitation. And each time I will have to decide what to fix and what not. As a result, the saving information is transformed from a technological mystery in a moral dilemma, which concerns a huge number of things. It is better not to fix? But if we have a record of what is happening with us, who has access to it?

it is Difficult to say what will be the answers to these questions. We much easier to think about the future of technology than about the future of our own values. Take the example of Dwayne Roy. Even if the project aims to develop science, is it normal that the degree of privacy protection a year-old boy less than the President of the United States? Many people will oppose to have their life documented in this way. However, social networking is rapidly changing social norms. Now we are sharing in the Network a lot of things that are carefully guarded 20 or even 5 years ago. This may be irrelevant to children from generation Dwayne. Perhaps they will even think that I don't have a record of everything that happened to them in the first years of life, is not cool.

Consider us old fashioned, but we clear all the danger of the public record of what is happening in his private life. Of course, marketing professionals will use them in order to continue to drown us in a sea of annoying advertisements. Now the retail chain Target may use your analytical data to calculate which of his clients is expecting a baby. Once the Target coupons told information about pregnancy of a teenage girl by her unsuspecting parents. One can only imagine how unpleasant it will be unregulated access to marketing professionals and global corporations to our personal information.

However, the intervention on the part of corporations is not important, what is to be feared. You need to remember that the government can do. Already, companies like Google and Facebook open their records for the Federal government in cases, when at stake is national security. Sometimes the government is able to access this information, like this company or not. In September 2012 criminal

the new York court ordered Twitter to grant access to private messages of Malcolm Harris, one of the leaders of the Occupy Wall Street movement ("Occupy wall street"). In 2013 Edward Snowden's revelations caused considerable outrage in the country and forced President Obama to reassure Americans that nobody is listening to their phone calls. Where is the line between legitimate public interest and activities in Big Brother? It is obvious that it should exist. In a world where the government can access personal information of any person at any point in time, the resistance will be useless.

Even worse dystopia presented in that case, if the registration of thought will be technically possible. Imagine that a totalitarian government will force all residents to constantly record every thought. Citizens will be punished for refusing to do it, and private thoughts will be a thing of the past. And it's not the most frightening scenario. Imagine that the government will impose on the citizens a certain type of thinking, citizens will be required to repeat them over and over again, like schoolchildren, socialsim memorized the pledge of allegiance or the catechism. Lost in compulsory stream of consciousness, citizens will become prisoners of their own thoughts.

It can not scare. Although registration of life developed so far only in theory, already showing some steps in the opposite direction. So, the owners of 5 Point cafe in Seattle are concerned that the presence of the detection techniques of life will prevent people from doing their usual entertainment. It is obvious that the rejection of entertainment is bad for business, so the bar owners were forbidden to go there the people wearing Google Glass. Network startup called Snapchat offers its users to send messages that are deleted after a certain period of time. As registration life is becoming more and more common thing, there is a need to nezapamyatnyh places Nezavisimaia time and Nezavisimaia communication.

Our life always casts a digital shadow. Already started the battle for the big shadows over the right to own their own history and control access to it. What will be the new digital rights? A huge and fun Playground? A powerful tool of law enforcement? Moral legacy for future generations? Or the backbone of the surveillance state? This question will be the most significant moral conflict of the coming century.

the Passage from the book of Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, "Uncharted territory"