“having artificial body parts, especially electromechanical ones.“
“having ordinary human powers increased by the aid of bionic devices.“
To some degree humans already utilize devices such as their phones to serve as artificial body parts, in a far less invasive sense than stereotypes often associated with the term bionic. Some see invasive modifications in our future, but we see a distinctly different possibility for extending human capacities.
The human brain is a collection of neurons which operate together to produce more intelligent results than any single neuron or cluster of neurons could alone. Similarly, groups of humans can work together in ways which produce more intelligent results than any individual group member could alone. This emerging field is the focus of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, and systems designed to facilitate various forms of this are called “Collective Intelligence Systems” (or Collective Superintelligence Systems).
Collective Intelligence Systems by definition produce Superintelligence, and the performance of that superintelligence is influenced by factors such as a group’s proficiency at achieving agreement and coordinating the division of labor among members. Of course these systems look nothing like the Borg hiveminds of science fiction, but rather mirror the appearance of normal user-friendly software systems. Even the most basic of these systems is capable of both improving intelligence and reducing bias.
The most basic systems have no memory, no sum of experience, and no emotions, such as the Swarm Intelligence used by Unanimous AI in 2016 to beat experts at predicting the Kentucky Derby, using only amateurs’ input. When you add both a memory, using a kind of graph database, and emotions these systems gain the ability to accumulate knowledge and wisdom, as well as making the resulting system more human-analogous by shaping it with emotions from each member. Both the emotional inputs and accumulated knowledge also enable various forms of debiasing to be applied which aren’t possible in systems absent those capacities.
For a single team this means that they could increase their performance, improving their teamwork in new ways over time, and reducing their bias. The cumulative knowledge could also allow some of the benefits of a retiring employee’s knowledge and wisdom to be retained, and even redeployed at scale in the years following their retirement, which could in turn serve to increase their compensation.
Where things really start to get interesting is when you apply these to teams across an organization, which in turn are nested within a meta-team, potentially alongside executives, creating a true “Bionic Company”. Much as the intelligence of an individual team increases and bias is reduced through such systems, when you scale this across a company with collective intelligence systems nested within one another the potential gains to performance and reductions to bias grow with scale.
The next step beyond such a Bionic Company involves integrating the sapient, sentient, ethically and emotionally motivated superintelligence of an Independent Core Observer Model (ICOM) cognitive architecture. Thanks to diversity of thought playing a strong role in the performance of such systems integrating one or more such machine intelligences serves to strongly increase that diversity. This also enables the sum of a company’s knowledge and wisdom to run through a cognitive architecture, effectively giving the company a massive mind with which to consider all they know, exploring problems and opportunities.
Similar steps beyond even this have been proposed for further engineering, with repeating patterns of increasing performance, cooperation, complexity, diversity, speed, and scale. Similar to old theories about AGI, this means that the first Bionic Companies will almost certainly gain an insurmountable advantage in their respective markets, quickly becoming the only viable companies. Psychological momentum once this is publicly realized will likely drive their competitors to an early bankruptcy, though this in turn could serve to drive an expansion to reemploy former competitor employees in roles offering a significantly higher quality of life than they experience today.
Within such companies every employee is a valued symbiotic part of the whole, their emotional and physical wellbeing a point of strong consideration, all of which can be iteratively improved. All of this only covers what may be possible in the 6 to 24 months following our Crowdfunding, where our first 3 product launches reside. If you want a hint of what we’re looking to beyond that my paper on The Sparse-Update Model and recent conference presentation are likely what you’re looking for. Many additional possibilities such as the integration of Quantum Computing modules for these systems are also of keen interest to us.
Whatever your interest, and whatever your industry, collective intelligence systems are something you’ll likely soon become increasingly familiar with.