What do artificial intelligence, virtual reality and gene editing have in common?

I’m something of a transhumanist and in possession of a woefully optimistic view of where technology can take the human race in the next hundred years. A lot has happened in recent times, we have a surge in the public interest of VR, new genetic therapies which are starting to offer treatments for everything from HIV to cancer and the early stages of artificial neural networks which hold the potential to both dwarf and augment our collective intelligence.

Advances in these mediums have been made possible thanks to hardware improvements in GPUs (simple graphics cards). Thanks to their efficiency and number crunching abilities, they’re able to do more than simply create breathtaking visuals. NVidia are starting to invest more funding in chips dedicated to more efficient machine learning and pretty much all biochemistry in the digital medium ends up as physics-based simulations. The driving force for much technology tends to come from competition between various manufacturers but now we are starting to see the convergence of different areas of application, the results of which are incredibly exciting.


Don Quixote escaping into his fantasy

The visual fidelity of real-time 3D simulations is starting to surpass pre-rendered 3D movies, giving content creators far more control over the creative process. Escapism is going to be a big thing over the next few years as people seek more and more media-rich content. The psychological impact of this is something we haven’t even started to consider, we could potentially treat phobias, rehabilitate people with neurodegenerative diseases or turn ourselves into drooling junkies forever held in the confines of a psychosis like that portrayed in Don Quixote.

The onus falls to all of us to steer things in a responsible direction and focus on how we can improve the human condition. It’s something to be excited about, never in the history of our race have so many technological breakthroughs occurred in such a short space of time – and the rate at which it’s occurring doesn’t seem to be letting up.

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