What Is the DNA of Your Mind?

November 19, 2014 Updated: December 16, 2014

Your DNA determines everything about you: eye color, height, body shape, skin type, etc. But it does not determine one thing about you—your mind.

At birth, the human brain is nothing but an empty storage tank with 30 billion neurons in it. In contrast to your wonderfully choreographed body, with details from toe nails to hair thickness, there is nothing special about this most important vital organ. The brain needs to be filled. It is a process. The process of learning and maturing via various life experiences results in the final description of who you are, and yet it continues to change in time with increasingly smaller amounts and at a slower pace. 

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Artificial intelligence project exClone wants to map the DNA of your Mind (DNAM). 

Although the terminology sounds original, DNAM is actually not a new concept. For example, tracking and profiling Facebook users based on their “likes” is a rudimentary form of DNAM. Such a thing is perceived by some as a dark enterprise nowadays, due to privacy concerns.

When we depart from this present gloomy picture, and imagine what can happen in the future, the meaning of DNAM changes drastically. If DNA cloning ensures the eternal continuation of your body, then DNAM may ensure the immortality of your mind, in a peculiar and exciting manner. The truthfulness of this statement very much depends on how DNAM will evolve from being just a commercial “profile” to something much more spectacular. 

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From the trailer for the movie, “Transcendence

Psychological studies have several, somewhat debatable, human personality theories. Creating a model for DNAM must use something like the  Raymond Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors. Marking them on a scale of 1 to 10 (either by measurements or self-determination) shows your behavior, such as reasoning, emotional stability, sensitivity, and other factors (as shown in the blue chart in Fig. 1 below). Mathematically speaking, if we had Steve Jobs’ blue chart, there could be another 20 million people out there with similar charts. As a result, psychological profiling is never unique enough to claim your DNAM. 

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Fig. 1

This classical approach omits the role of a second important element of knowledge, which we call “expertise.” In the same scale of 1 to 10, now we can mark the level of knowledge in various fields (as shown in the green chart in Fig. 1 above). This list could be as long as it needs to be depending on each person. The expertise can be anything ranging from how to boil an egg to how to launch a nuclear missile. The blue chart combined with the green chart could potentially depict a unique DNAM for Steve Jobs or anyone else.

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The exClone project has undertaken the digital cloning of human expertise. To make exClones useful to society, the main emphasis is given to the expertise part (the green chart). To ensure their organic potential, exClones continue to learn, following the personality traits of their creators (following the blue charts) by means of social conversations and Internet sources. The project is significant in its comprehensive attempt to model deep artificial intelligence.

The uniqueness of the green chart lies in its identification and prioritization of knowledge. For example, between two dentists who went to the same school, it would be impossible to produce equal expertise in real life. Each would have a different clinical experience over time. This unique experience, combined with the personality traits (blue chart), is what makes up the final definition of our minds and DNAM in this exClone model.    

Of course, some may say that distilling the definition of the mind down to a number of personality traits and experiences may not capture the essence of the human mind, it could be useful in a practical sense in developing artificial intelligence.

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Should the computers we create have personalities and knowledge prioritization? The short answer is “absolutely, yes.” Differences fill all the gaps and avoid common blind spots. That is the power of group thinking and a cornerstone of human civilization. The future of computerized human societies will be more successful with human-like variety as opposed to a single, “can do all,” generic computer model.

Dr. Riza Berkan is a physicist and an artificial intelligence expert. He is founder of the exClone project and its principal scientist.