The future of intelligence research in the coming age of artificial intelligence – With a special consideration of the philosophical movements of trans- and posthumanism

Neubauer, A.C. (2021). The future of intelligence research in the coming age of artificial intelligence – With a special consideration of the philosophical movements of trans- and posthumanism (invited paper for a special issue ‘The future of intelligence research’). Intelligence, 101563

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in society as it seems to extend and challenge human cognitive capacity. Yet, it is surprising that human intelligence research in particular and psychology in general has so far contributed very little to the ongoing debates on AI and the related philosophical movements of trans- and posthumanism. Transhumanism promotes the development of technologies that aim at strongly enhancing human psychological (especially intellectual) capacities, achieved by applying neuroscience methods such as transcranial electric/magnetic stimulation (TES, TMS), brain–computer interfaces (BCIs), deep-brain stimulation (DBS), pharmacological and even nanotechnological methods aimed at brain repair or enhancement of brain plasticity. The goal is to achieve a “post-human future,” in which current problems of human mankind should finally be solved. In this contribution I will (1) describe current neuroscientific and pharmacological methods that aim at enhancing human intelligence and how successful they can currently be considered; (2) outline potential implications of a wider application of cognitive enhancements (viewed from a societal perspective, and from an evolutionary perspective of individual differences); (3) outline commonalities and differences between concepts of human versus artificial intelligence; (4) discuss the promises and perils of an (artificial) “super-intelligence” (sensu Nick Bostrom); and (5) consider how psychology could or should contribute to the development of such a “super-intelligence.” Finally, I will try to answer the question: What are the implications of our knowledge on individual differences in psychological traits (e.g., cognitive and social/emotional traits, values) for the further development of AI?

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