Augmenting Human Intellect

Posted on 11. Sep, 2015 by in univ200wonderpeople


“This is an open plea to researchers and to those who ultimately motivate, finance, or direct them, to turn serious attention toward the possibility of evolving a dynamic discipline that can-treat the problem of improving intellectual effectiveness in a total sense. This discipline should aim at producing a continuous cycle of improvements–increased understanding of the problem, improved means for developing new aug mentation systems, and improved augmentation systems that can serve the world’s problem solvers in general and this discipline’s workers in particular. After all, we spend great sums for disciplines aimed at understanding and harnessing nuclear power. Why not consider developing a discipline aimed at understanding and harnessing “neural power?” In the long run, the power of the human intellect is really much the more important of the two.” by Doug Engelbart.

This is the last paragraph in the conclusion section written by Doug Engelbart.  In the conclusion, he urged the US government to spend a great amount of resources on “neural power” research, instead of spending so much money on developing lethal weapons.  In fact, Mr Engelbart was absolutely correct.  According to national priorities project, ” in fiscal year 2015, military spending is projected to account for 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion. Military spending includes: all regular activities of the Department of Defense; war spendingnuclear weapons spendinginternational military assistance; and other Pentagon-related spending.”


The data shows above indicates our government have spent more than half of the country’s financial accountability on military.  In contrast, only 3 % of them was distributed to science.  The figures are a huge difference.  In fact, most of our advanced computer systems today were researched and developed by a number of private companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Cisco…  I think if the government put science on its priority list, we would have achieved more technology breakthroughs that could enable humans to control climate change, to avoid natural disasters, to reach to other planets to find possible lives at a greater speed.


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