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AI is augmented intelligence

That wunderkind has got a chip in her head
Dateline: 12 June 2029

We used to think of AI as artificial intelligence, but that’s an old concept. Now we use it to mean augmented intelligence; natural human intelligence augmented with bioelectronics wizardry.

The average human brain has a working memory of seven items, plus or minus two. That means we can, on average, remember seven things at once; the more gifted can handle about nine. Thinking about an upgrade?

Now you can install the latest neuroprosthetic from CognitionUP and get a working memory of 20. That puts you up at the super genius level. The chip is the size of a grain of rice, and connects into your brain with 3D-printed carbon neurofibers.

Of course, not everyone wants brain surgery to become super-intelligent, but AI has been a blessing for people suffering from the after effects of stroke, traumatic accidents and congenital diseases. Their lives have been returned to normal, or better.

The problem comes in with elective upgrades, which are not strictly necessary. Now people of average intelligence are jumping up the evolutionary ladder, if they have the cash and the appetite for invasive surgery. Billionaires are buying CognitionUP for their child prodigies, widening the gap.

“What happens when the richest among us can buy more smarts?” asked neuroscientist Vivienne Ming more than a decade ago. “Will we even recognize them as fellow humans?”

Regulators have sprung into action, drafting a series of bills designed to restrict the use of AI in ‘normal’ people. But who’s to say what’s normal these days? The laws leave too many loopholes to be enforced, and China has a host of specialist surgeons with long waiting lists.

Meeting someone with AI is a bit disconcerting, but they’re easy to discover. They are so bright, they just can’t hold a conversation with us normal people! And they’ve got a chip in their head.

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Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

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