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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Coming Merge of Human and Machine Intelligence

By Jeff Stibel
Tufts Now
Originally published May 22, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

The reason that our brains are shrinking is simple: our biology is focused on survival, not intelligence. Larger brains were necessary to allow us to learn to use language, tools and all of the innovations that allowed our species to thrive. But now that we have become civilized—domesticated, if you will—certain aspects of intelligence are less necessary.

This is actually true of all animals: domesticated animals, including dogs, cats, hamsters and birds, have 10 to 15 percent smaller brains than their counterparts in the wild. Because brains are so expensive to maintain, large brain sizes are selected out when nature sees no direct survival benefit. It is an inevitable fact of life.

Fortunately, another influence has evolved over the past 20,000 years that is making us smarter even as our brains are shrinking: technology. Technology has allowed us to leapfrog evolution, enabling our brains and bodies to do things that were otherwise impossible biologically. We weren’t born with wings, but we’ve created airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons and hang gliders. We don’t have sufficient natural strength or speed to bring down big game, but we’ve created spears, rifles and livestock farms.

The entire article is here.