Noting the advances in DNA sequencing and tools such as CRISPR for target editing of the human genome, Nautilus' Stephen Hsu opines that by 2050 there will probably be human beings with an IQ equivalent of 1,000, possibly working together with "sentient beings of many different types."
These two threads—smarter people and smarter machines—will inevitably intersect. Just as machines will be much smarter in 2050, we can expect that the humans who design, build, and program them will also be smarter. Naively, one would expect the rate of advance of machine intelligence to outstrip that of biological intelligence. Tinkering with a machine seems easier than modifying a living species, one generation at a time. But advances in genomics—both in our ability to relate complex traits to the underlying genetic codes, and the ability to make direct edits to genomes—will allow rapid advances in biologically-based cognition. Also, once machines reach human levels of intelligence, our ability to tinker starts to be limited by ethical considerations. Rebooting an operating system is one thing, but what about a sentient being with memories and a sense of free will?
Therefore, the answer to the question “Will AI or genetic modification have the greater impact in the year 2050?” is yes. Considering one without the other neglects an important interaction.
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