HACK’s FINAL FRONTIER!

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HACK’s FINAL FRONTIER!

There is hacking in the news of computers, email accounts, smartphones, bank accounts, PIIs, databases and the like, sending chill down the spine of us all. We live in digital world today, lots even by compulsion, nonetheless, we have to face the consequences thereof, though it is not of our making. If this was not enough, the future portends worse. We are entering in an era where it would be possible to hack humans.

Yuval Noah Harari, renowned historian, writer, thinker & public speaker connects history, society, technology & the future, in a potently fascinating manner. He asked a question in one of recent public speaking engagements, what does it mean to hack a human being? “It means to create an algorithm which understands you better than you understand yourself and can predict your choices & manipulate your desires and make decisions on your behalf.” In order to do this, one would feel that the algorithm needs to know you perfectly. That is not the case. As human beings don’t know themselves to a very high degree, being better than human beings would suffice. Which is not a great demand on algorithms, machine learning and the like.

He says an algorithm can understand gay tendencies, where a person himself cannot. On a more a complex side, an in-depth knowledge of biology with requisite computational power will make this happen. The corporates and the governments alike get into this act. Slowly, the authority shifts from the human beings to algorithms. We are seeing it happen everyday, without any Govt. coercion; from Google search, Google Maps, Netflix or Amazon, the algorithm is the decision maker. Its not facilitation or technology becoming an enabler.

Emotions; anger, fear, tension, the very preserve of human beings will be understood better by the algorithms than fellow human beings & would be a better responder. Fear & hope in an election was so professionally exploited by Cambridge Analytica. Cognition is cracked, conciousness is on way. Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing wrapped in algorithm with psychology at it’s base and huge data with integrity, handled by immense computational power, will do the magic.

CAN WE STILL GIVE DIRECTIONS TO OUR ALGORITHMS OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY ROUND.

Sanjay Sahay

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