AHI board member Dean Ball, who has been the manager of the Hoover Institution’s State and Local Governance Initiative, will join George Mason University’s Mercatus Center  at the start of April. At Mercatus, he will be a Research Fellow focused on artificial intelligence, working with colleagues on AI policy issues. Mr. Ball will also be helping to develop its new “AI and Progress” program.

“As a longtime fan of many Mercatus scholars,” he notes, “including its chairman, Tyler Cowen, it is a particular honor to be joining this team.” Mr. Ball will continue to write his online newsletter about AI.

His latest piece for “Hyperdimensional,” titled “A Primer on Neural Technology,” discusses the science that may allow human beings to attain artificial intelligence themselves, not just use it—and says this might save a role for human labor in the economy.

Although it’s possible humans will continue to be economically competitive with artificial intelligence (or even have an economic advantage over it) indefinitely, Mr. Ball writes, AI will not remain especially expensive in the long run unless governments restrict its computational resources. And that, he warns, is a fragile approach which could be overwhelmed by some major new innovation in computing. Furthermore, such restrictions would offer a tempting economic advantage to any country that chose not to enact them.

In contrast, “a merge between man and machine is a potentially promising route.” While possibly “alleviating the economic and labor problem” AI will cause, it would also tie the interests of human beings and artificial intelligence together. The prospective merge between the human mind and AI is still considered a “curiosity” and receives insufficient discussion, Mr. Ball notes.

AI’s possible results might include an ability to generate a new level of function in the brain. A developing technology called “transcranial focused ultrasound” (tFUS) may prove especially fruitful, perhaps allowing people to induce conscious states in themselves, such as happiness or reflectiveness.

“As AI models improve,” Mr. Ball adds, humans might be able to attain an unprecedently “intense focus” that would allow them to “consume large quantities of information or achieve abnormally high levels of productivity.” Another possible development: a chip planted in the brain that would let us absorb, in seconds, the amount of information contained in an entire book, or communicate with other people telepathically.

“I expect that the line between man and technology will continue to blur. We are at the beginning of a revolution that will take decades to unfold. Much more is possible than most people realize today. We lose our sense of wonder at our peril.”