Happy 158th birthday Jagadish Chandra Bose!

When visiting the Google search engine today I saw that their doodle is honoring Jagadish Chandra Bose‘s 158th birthday. I was not previously aware of him or his contributions to the world.

The man was a polymath, working with plant biology, physics, archaeology, biophysics and even wrote science fiction! He worked in early radio communications, studied microwaves, and created many tools to help with his research.

His biggest contribution came from working with plants and understanding the effects of various stimuli. He hypothesized that plants could ‘feel pain, understand affection’ and have other responses to external stimuli.

I will have to look into him and his work more in the future.

 

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog.

I’ve seen many news articles about the developments in the world of artificial intelligence and the various claims that it will either save or destroy mankind.

Of course we have the Terminator series and the Matrix to show what happens when the machines become so smart that they decide to overthrow their human makers. On the other hand we have the movie Her, where an artificial intelligence and a human have a meaningful and rich relationship, if not a slightly tragic one.

I do find the field of research fascinating, but I always keep coming back to the same question – why doesn’t there seem to be a push to increase human intelligence?

It is certainly a common theme in storytelling, where the main character is either already a genius and uses their knowledge for the betterment of everyone else (or is a ‘mad scientist’ out to destroy the world) or is a ‘average joe’ who goes from being only as smart as your average bear to being brilliant in every endeavor.

We have plenty of fictional examples of making people smarter – Flowers for Algernon, the Mentats in Dune, Eddie Morra in Limitless. All of these were based on the idea that science, through medical surgeries and / or drugs, could increase human intelligence, although usually with detrimental side effects.

We have the widely known and very popular fictional example of Sherlock Holmes. His keen observation skills and deductive reasoning would astound his future clients when he often told them things about themselves and their case within seconds of walking through his door at 221B Baker Street. He would then explain his line of reasoning, much like a magician explaining a magic trick, and show that it was pure thought and not magic that came up with the answers.

We also have plenty of real world examples of people who are polymaths – people who have a deep understanding of a wide variety of subjects – Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Isaac Asimov, Marilyn vos Savant.

So, if we have all these examples of what everyone is capable of, and an increasing push from the rise of artificial intelligence, can we make humans smarter? Id like to find out. If I fail, then at least I’m no worse off.

Come along with me on the journey.