Introducing Vertebra

Vertebra is a cognition research company. Our mission is to create systems that amplify human cognition and advance our understanding of machine and human intelligence.

Sep 4, 2023
By Juan Rocamonde

Vertebra is a cognition research company. Our mission is to create systems that amplify human cognition and advance our understanding of machine and human intelligence.

Humanity's trajectory

The early universe was dominated by energy: massive, energetic things ruled over less massive, less energetic things. This still is the case almost everywhere: when a comet strikes the Sun, the comet is completely destroyed, but the Sun hardly notices.

However, there is at least one exception to this cosmic pattern: since the emergence of life 4 billion years ago, Earth has been dominated by information. The development of photosynthesis in a single DNA molecule utterly transformed its entire surface and unleashed a relentless optimization process in the search for knowledge.

The overwhelming majority of all species and civilizations that have ever existed are now history. If we have managed to survive and flourish, it has been not due to chance or precaution, but only by improving our ability to create new knowledge:

  • v0. Evolution (4 billion years ago) led to the creation of intelligence: systems that store knowledge which allows them to survive in certain environments.
  • v1. Language (100,000 years ago) led to general intelligence: systems capable of creating knowledge that allows them to survive in any environment.
  • v2. Capitalism (500 years ago) enabled humans to direct knowledge creation towards accelerating technology — the knowledge of how to do more with less.
  • v3. Computation (now) is on the brink of producing artificial general intelligence.

Until the discovery of computation, humanity has created extraordinary tools that have helped us edge ever closer to the limits of our cognitive efficiency, much like an engine approaching its Carnot efficiency limit. However, this growth can only be asymptotic and thus is ultimately bounded by the total cognitive power of humanity.

Thanks to computational universality, we now know that it must be possible to create machines capable of general intelligence: machines capable of creating new knowledge, new explanations of anything that can be understood. Thus, machine intelligence is not like any other technology, as it can arbitrarily increase the total amount of cognitive power available and, as a result, mark the beginning of the infinite growth of knowledge.

Knowledge creation defines not only the history of humanity, but also our only possible future: anything that is not forbidden by the laws of physics is therefore only limited by the lack of sufficient knowledge. Thus, amplifying human intelligence with machine intelligence is the only possible way that humanity can continue to survive and flourish, on Earth and amongst the stars.

Vertebra

Vertebra is building Farlink, the mind-computer interface. The goal of Farlink is to augment human cognition by accelerating knowledge creation, catalyzing our curiosity and equanimity, and guarding our attention and mental sovereignty, rooted in the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of science and beauty.

Vertebra operates in the hard tech space, building across fundamental research questions and complex engineering problems, at the intersection of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and physics, in the worlds of bits and atoms.

Creating Farlink presents two long-term subsidiary challenges: on the AI layer, understanding the nature of intelligence, and on the human layer, solving the integration of minds and machines.

We are not simply utopian about technology. It is not simply about technology; it is also about people using technology. As a result, we follow two core tenets that guide how we design our products:

  • Transparent and inquisitive knowledge creation;
  • Decentralized and private technological power.

Looking forward

We have several exciting updates we plan to announce over the coming months. We’re assembling a world-class team of exceptionally driven, intellectually curious, and highly interdisciplinary minds. If you find our mission imperative, whether you are a scientist, engineer, artist, or investor, we're looking for you. Reach out at contact@vertebracorp.com.

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