Human consciousness is beginning to merge with machine capability, also known as man machine. Scientists at Harvard Medical School, Ben Gyori, and Peter Sorger are attempting a new approach through computer-human collaboration that has the possibility of explaining complex cancer treatments. If these two scientists are successful, it could change how cancer patients are treated in the future.
The Cancer Cell
ErbB signaling pathways when experiencing dysregulation are the cause of a variety of cancers. ErbB is a family of proteins containing four receptors structurally related to the epidermal growth factor. Peter Sorger has spent years studying this pathway by using a variety of approaches. His goal is to understand the biological process controlling the ErbB pathway in cancer cells to be able to make predictions on likely causes. This is the challenge at the heart of man machine collaboration; to understand what is happening inside a cancer cell or any cell.
Through their studies, Sorger and Gyori have found the cancer drug; melanoma loses its effectiveness for treatment over time. This ineffectiveness is related to increased activity of two genes. What exactly is directly affecting the genes to pinpoint which cells they want additional cancer drugs to target is one of their big questions. Of course, this issue is what leads them to interact their consciousness, or knowledge, with that of the computer’s capabilities.
Man And Machine Think Together
Sorger and Gyori can type a new idea into the computer concerning interactions among proteins. This is based on their data and intuition. The computer instantly takes the team’s thinking and creates hundreds of new equations to improve the previous model of the activities inside drug-treated cells. It won’t predict all relevant observations from cancer cells. What it will do are give the researchers another idea to work with. The process starts again, and the team will look at two different proteins and input this information into the computer. This process continues until the computer turns out an exact prediction on how to prevent some cases of melanoma recurrence.
Combined Insights Of a Man Machine
When the insight of the team is combined with the computer, it creates a model enabling them to unravel the intermediate steps of cause and effect. It allows the team to go from all their data and jump right to the understanding. This understanding isn’t where the technology of man merging with machines end. There are significant breakthroughs in other areas where computers are using our consciousness thought to improve our quality of life.
Shared Understanding Between Man And Machine
The shared understanding between Sorger and his computer is as astounding as the seamless mingling of software and wetware with another scientist, Greg Clark at the University of Utah. He has been able to return a synthesized sensation to a person’s virtual touch through chips embedded in their arm. A man who lost his arm in a near-fatal accident years ago has a chip planted in a part of his arm that remains on his torso. Moreover, the chip communicates with the computer.
When the man is asked to move his arm, an image on the computer also moves. The image of a human hand appears and moves in sync to how the man is moving his arm. Clark asks him to reach out and touch a door appearing on the screen. When the man guides his virtual hand to touch the door, he is amazed. With the new software, he is able to feel the wooden surface neurologically. New software that uses an assortment of electrical connections between a second chip and the nerves running from the man’s arm to his brain, he can experience touch he has not been able to for years.
New Generation Of Capabilities Are Emerging
Technological creations are beginning to emerge that can only be explained as strange yet exciting. The immense power of digital systems with the capacity to experience human insight and intuition has us poised to embark into an incredible new territory. There are some; however, that do not feel this is territory we as humankind are ready for a man machine hybrid. These skeptics fear we will find ourselves in subservience to robot overlords.
Impact Of Robotics And Artificial Intelligence
Concerned critics of the new technology of man merging with machines fear the impact it will have on employment opportunities. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows people are less enthusiastic and more worried with the integration of biology and technology. Despite these critics’ worries, one has to look at how these technological advancements have improved our lives. Breakthroughs in national security have led to some of the most advanced materials in chip technology. Programs are going to continue to open as the technological frontier grows, and it will lead humans to a better union with our machines.