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Artificial Intelligence

Neuroscience

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1MaureenRoy
Edited: Aug 30, 2013, 8:31am Top

In 2011, Penguin published a new edition of The Key, by Whitley Strieber, in which Strieber gives a largely verbatim account of an interview he had with a stranger, touching, among many other topics, on A.I. -- how Earth's research has been lagging in this area, and specific suggestions for areas of neuroscience to investigate. Here's the book:

The Key: A True Encounter

This is an inexpensive paperback edition. For example, on page 124, the stranger gives neuroscience design tips: "Nitrous oxide will bear memory. Also, you may find ways of using superposition in very fast, very able quantum memory chips." There are other discussions of A.I. in this book, but the book lacks an index (hint to Penguin) so I will have to comb thru it later to find the other stuff.

On page 8, the author summarizes recent relevant research: "...reoxidized nitrous oxide could be used as a gate dielectric for charge-trapping non-volatile memory."

Note on publication dates: The original self-published version of The Key is copyrighted 2000. The interview that was the basis for this book occurred on June 6, 1998. The author wrote the second edition in June 2010. Research reports in the scientific literature which confirm the ability of nitrous oxide to "bear memory" appeared first in 2005. It was first reported in the scientific literature that "high-density ultra-cold atomic gases have been found to be a promising medium for the storage of individual photons in quantum memory applications." ... That confirms the interview stranger's comments that "you may find ways of using superposition in very fast, very able quantum memory chips."

On page 59, for instance, the stranger predicts the detection of intelligences outside the Earth: " Machines are already being created that communicate via entangled photons. These machines will be the first that detect the voices of other worlds."

Speaking of which, that last prediction reminds me of the noted scientist and science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke's recommendation to a SETI researcher to conduct SETI research based on "light, the better medium."

Strieber's controversial writings (such as Communion et. al.) made me reconsider the veracity of The Key, but it does include much discussion of ethics that gave me pause, such as the most succinct definition I have yet seen of sin: "Sin is the denial of the right to thrive." On the whole, the likelihood that the interview detailed in The Key actually occurred is, in my view, quite possible. The "how" is another story.

Group: Neuroscience

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