I had a mind-blowing day at the New Scientist Live expo at Excel London in September.  Irena Higgins from Google’s DeepMind AI business delivered an astonishing talk about their work to ‘solve intelligence’.  In the merge between neuroscience and computational science, I learned that whilst our brain weighs only 2% of our body mass, it consumes 20% of our body’s energy. Our brains are believed to run on 12 watts of energy, whereas IBM’s Watson (AI machine) runs on 750,000 watts! So, one practical challenge of creating human-level machine intelligence is how we handle the energy consumption.  

Robot poetOur brains are evolved to be exquisite thought-storage facilities, but, of course, the way we use our brain’s energy is changing since the arrival of Google.  A decade ago we had to store complete stories in our heads, now we just need the ‘tag’ to then Google search and locate the full answer.  So what are you using your spare brain capacity on now? Maybe some inspiring literature?!

If it has been a while since you read a poem, then it was Charles Darwin who wrote in his autobiography

If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would have thus been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

(And talking of moral, the British Standards Institute released the world’s first guidelines for ethics in robot design.)

What with Artificial Intelligence code being made openly available on OpenAI, giving an open marketplace for algorithms, we are at an interesting stage where the future is likely to change at a pace not previously seen in our lifetimes.  Like with any change, this is time for solid hands-on leadership.  Time for visible practice of our 3 Human Skills:  Emotional Intelligence, Personal Resilience, and Mental Presence. 

The robots are coming…look busy and put your clever face on

Laura x