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Petros Psyllos, the 2017 Forbes edition awardee and recognized innovator under 30, shared his unconventional life and educational journey in an interview for Maksymalna Dawka Wiedzy, available in a video format at the following link:

He begins his story from early childhood, where his interest in electronics emerged even before the age of six. This fascination stemmed from the influence of his grandfather, who was an electrician and electronics enthusiast. Psyllos, even as a child, was captivated by the idea of creating something from nothing, which comes to life when powered. At a young age, he began experimenting, creating various devices, from simple lawn mowers or toy cars to more complex electronic systems. Later, his interests directed him towards computer science and artificial intelligence, primarily inspired by science fiction literature such as the works of Stanisław Lem or Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He recalls that the fascination with artificial intelligence, its capabilities, as well as potential threats, led him to pursue this direction. Inspired by the black box problem, discussions about electronic brains, and the film HAL 9000, he began exploring the world of computer science, acquiring knowledge and experience.

Personal Innovations

Petros is the founder of the Dostępność.pl laboratory. The laboratory aims to utilize modern technologies, including artificial intelligence, to eliminate limitations resulting from physical disabilities. Psyllos notes that contemporary technologies offer increasing possibilities to improve the quality of life for people with various disabilities. Examples include communication for non-speaking individuals, reading for the blind, and navigating the internet space. The Laboratory’s innovator focuses on simple yet effective solutions, such as using a regular tablet and appropriate software, to enable non-speaking individuals to regain their voice. Artificial intelligence, besides speech synthesis, can also assist in communication, which is invaluable for paralyzed individuals who currently communicate with the world around them using Morse code or eye-tracking systems.

According to Psyllos, artificial intelligence opens new perspectives, including advanced algorithms capable of describing scenes, such as the Be My Eyes app based on GPT-4. This app serves as an assistant for blind people, providing descriptions of their surroundings. Psyllos notes that this is just the beginning, and the future holds even more advanced technologies, such as brain chips that can restore senses, including vision.

Elon Musk’s Research

Asked about Elon Musk’s current research on implanting prosthetics, implants, and brain chips, Psyllos points out that research on implanting various devices into the brain has been ongoing for many years, and Musk is not a pioneer in this field. However, his innovative idea is the automation of this process, which raises controversies due to the effectiveness of experiments on monkeys. He hopes that Musk’s work on brain chip technology will continue, while also noting doubts about the effectiveness of this process based on monkey mortality statistics. He also mentions potential threats, such as privacy loss, especially if Elon Musk realizes the vision of a “brain-phone” intended to read human thoughts.

Transitioning to the possibilities of preventing privacy breaches after chip implantation, Psyllos notes that the debate on the ethics and security of artificial intelligence systems mainly focuses on ethical and security aspects, with privacy being less addressed. He emphasizes that these issues are not yet sufficiently developed, especially concerning experiments on humans, beyond disabled individuals. Speaking about ethics regarding artificial intelligence consciousness, the interviewee states that despite many definitions of this phenomenon, the question of consciousness remains open, posing a challenge for future debates and research.

Can AI Be Better Than the Human Brain?

Is it possible to build an artificial neural network with over 100 billion neurons, thereby achieving a higher level of intelligence than that of humans? Psyllos responds that using neuromorphic architectures based on chips replicating biological neurons, we are already capable of developing networks on an impressive scale. He points to investments, such as Altman’s investment in a company producing neuromorphic chips that react like biological neurons. Companies like IBM and Intel have also engaged in the development of neuromorphic technology. He emphasizes that these new architectures are more energy-efficient than traditional computer simulation methods, making them the future of artificial intelligence. He mentions progress in the Human Brain Project, which aimed to replicate the human brain within 10 years. Although a complete copy of the human brain has not yet been achieved, simpler organisms are already being replicated. Psyllos believes that with time and technological progress, copies of the human brain will also become possible.

AI Dating

The conversation also touches on the topic of romantic relationships with AI-controlled robots. Psyllos mentions existing sex robots and the movie “Her”, which depicts a company producing bodies with a built-in large language model for conversations. On the other hand, a pessimistic vision of such relationships arises, as depicted in the aforementioned film, noting that significant cognitive differences can lead to difficulties. He observes that a romantic relationship between a human and artificial intelligence probably will never replace the emotional relationship between humans. In his opinion, love is such a complex phenomenon that it cannot be reduced to a few lines of code consisting of zeros and ones. Love is an emotion that distinguishes humans from other species, and its reproduction in any other form will be extremely difficult.

The interviewee also mentions the research of Professor Kosiński, who analyzed algorithms based on social media activity capable of accurately determining sexual, political, or racial preferences based on 240 likes on Facebook. Psyllos emphasizes that AI, based on a small amount of information, can deduce more about an individual than their close ones. He presents potential threats, such as the use of data in sociotechnical, political marketing, or consumer manipulation. He notes that in authoritarian states like China, data collection and analysis can lead to digital dictatorship.

The guest also compares artificial intelligence to a knife that “once serves us to slice bread, and once to kill.” Psyllos agrees that currently, AI is a tool, but he warns of future consequences when artificial intelligence gains autonomy in decision-making. He points out the unpredictability of the goals that autonomous artificial intelligence may adopt, and emphasizes the need to secure these goals against potential clashes with human interests.

Summarizing the conversation with Petros Psyllos, one obvious conclusion arises: humanity is increasingly transitioning from natural memory to artificial, and this process is inevitable. Psyllos encourages seizing the opportunities brought by the development of artificial intelligence, emphasizing the value of acting and shaping the future. Regarding learning artificial intelligence, he points out that despite potential difficulties, it is worth making the effort to learn, as it is the key to better understanding and effective utilization of technology. He also stresses that artificial intelligence can be a good partner, serving and supporting our actions, but at the same time warns against letting it become a bad master.

Cover photography: BoliviaInteligente | Unsplash

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