A debate has been started on Twitter over what really constitutes the core human self, after AI expert Matt Taylor tweeted this truly horrifying picture of “what humans really look like”.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
OK, here it is…
While it may look like something that would scream “kill me!” if you ever passed it in the street (god help you if you ever pass this in the street), this horrifying network of brain and nerves is what makes up your core self - or at least according to Taylor, who works in biologically-constrained machine intelligence at Numenta.
“The core of your self is captured in this photograph. This would be conscious if it were still alive,” Taylor wrote in his tweet, which has currently been retweeted more than 1,300 times.
While many of us will struggle to get beyond the stage of thinking, “This is repulsive, please throw hydrochloric acid in my eyes immediately”, the picture has sparked fierce debate, with many questioning Taylor’s claim that the core self is made up of nothing more than the brain and central nervous system.
One user, @seymiotics, argued that while the rest of the body may not hold our intelligence, it is still vital in our understanding of the outside world.
“The rest of our body isn’t just for locomotion, it serves as an important part of perception and action. this leaves out of course that you can’t, in reality, spirit sombody’s CNS/PNS out of their body and into a jar,” he argued.
Taylor responded: “Everything a human has ever learned during its life is encapsulated in this creature on the table. If it were alive somehow, it would think, it would still have a sense of self, and it would still be human, even if it were no longer experiencing the world in the same way.”
What this all boils down to is the question of whether we could, in theory, remove someone’s consciousness from their body, and put it into something else, a bit like in Netflix’s Altered Carbon.
However, the only truly intelligent take is this: