The Girl from Wudang and a kick ass in our future

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By Pyr Marcondes, Senior Partner at Pipeline Capital.

I am reading – with a dedication that my son Tiago got live from the author at the book launch in NY – the fascinating and unputdownable ‘The Girl From Wudang’, by my friend (years without seeing each other, speaking very casually, which is a pity…) PJ Pereira, whose subtitle accurately foretells what the work is about: ‘A novel about Artificial Intelligence, Martial Arts and Immortality’.

The seemingly improbable composition of three such diverse themes becomes engagingly plausible, even intoxicating, from the first pages. Then we find ourselves hoping for the workday to end soon, to resume reading. A literary addiction that good books enslave us with.

I’m halfway through. And, of course, I recommend that you read it.

I won’t give spoilers, but I can’t resist revealing some excerpts, to ponder a little about certain (inevitable) things related to our future.

First of all, the sheer volume of readings that PJ did to know what he knows about AI is impressive. (He also knows a lot about martial arts, but it’s evident that his knowledge, particularly of Kung-Fu, comes from practice… and a lot of reading about it too).

I’ll spoil some footnote quotes, which practically make up a scientific work in themselves, running parallel to the fiction. From them, I’ll suppose some futures.

The first: ‘During the 2019 Em Tech, a future of technology event in San Francisco, (where PJ has lived for decades), organized by MIT’s Technology Review, video game maker Nvidia showed how Generative Adversarial Networks are being used in gaming to automatically generate realistic images that require no human supervision. They recently published a paper on that subject called “Progressive Growing of GANs for Improved Quality, Stability, and Variation – Karras, T., Aila, T., Laine, S., Lehtinen, J. – April 30, 2018 Published” during the Sixth International Conference on Learning Representations in 2018.

Some ‘pay attention’ here.

First, PJ finished his book after 5 years of writing, in 2021. Therefore, before the Generative AI boom caused by the launch of Chat GPT in 2023. Nvidia’s study is from 2018 when, even then, Generative AI was already capable of autonomous digital activities without human assistance. Do the math: that was 5 years ago.

The provocation is: imagine the next 2 years.

Keep in mind the following… any projection for more than 2 years today makes no sense, because we’ve entered the Era of Exponential Acceleration and each year now equates to a decade of previous years.

The other ‘pay attention’ is the word ‘realistic’. I’m sure the ‘realistic’ of 2018 was different from today’s. But again… imagine the ‘realistic’ two years from now.

Changing the subject, but always looking at the future, I quote another footnote from the book, which highlights a report from the specialized medical publication MedPage Today: ‘AI passes U.S. Medical Licensing Exam’.

I read the article. It begins: ‘Two artificial intelligence (AI) programs — including ChatGPT – have passed the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), according to two recent papers.’

Artificial Intelligence passing a medical test is jaw-dropping, right? It’s true that the approval came with a warning that ChatGPT delivered ‘mixed results’ at the time.

My guess about the future of this theme: the ‘results’ will no longer be ‘mixed’. In other quotes, PJ also talks about this. The evolution towards human or superior standards will be inevitable.

In another quote, we have a 2019 article (again… 2019): ‘Elon Musk’s Neuralink Says It’s Ready for Brain Surgery’. Imagine today.

I won’t go further with the quotes (and look, I didn’t even get into the theme of humans who will no longer die, a subtitle of the work and also present in the book).

This area of bio-AI-nanorobotics is already, and will be increasingly, nothing less than impressive. And one of the responsible for the most frightening advances, most likely.

I watched a series (quite average, but I saw it through to the end, called xxxx), that besides predicting the COVID-19 epidemic with absurd precision, in great detail, has as its central plot the coming of humans from the future to the 21st century, all controlled by a centralized AI, bringing with them these micro robots that cure many currently incurable diseases. The authors of the series could not have read the same article cited by PJ, as the series was recorded earlier, but they read it somewhere. The fact and the warning here, again, is the inevitable future: it will happen.

Nano-bio-robots, made of organic matter, will be used in medicine to cure, as in the series, diseases today incurable.

The girl from Wudang has very interesting things to tell us about this subject.

For my part, I did a quick search on the subject, which fascinates and scares me in absolutely equal degrees. And I found things like: ‘Not bot, not beast: Scientists create first ever living, programmable organism’, from the magazine Phys, published in 2020.

Robots with living cells. Programmable. Reality imitating fiction (or has it all mixed up)?

One more: ‘How nano robots will change medicine forever’, a video on YouTube from last year, by Dr. Ben Miles, a research doctor who talks a lot about the subject and whom you can learn more about here. The expert in bio-nanos-AI driven from the video I mentioned above is Dr. Joe Healey, whose website is this one.

In reality, it’s an endless subject. Endless for two reasons: 1) there’s a lot to see; 2) it’s just begun.

By Pyr Marcondes, Senior Partner at Pipeline Capital.

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