Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Next 50 years: the birth of human machines

From a post on the blog of Alex McManus

The Birth of Human Machines
Rodney Brooks, professor of computer science and director of the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT, writes that within the next fifty years, we will adopt robot technology, silicon and steel into our bodies not to fix something but to improve it.

This is a massive, galaxy-quaking shift in history. No longer will humankind submit to Darwinian evolution. “Now,” writes Brookes, “we will have the option of participating in explicit ways in that evolution.” This would definitely take man yet another step apart from his cousins within the animal kingdom.

Brooks tells us that the widely held assumption in the field of molecular biology is that “humans are machines”. Every living system is a product of molecular interactions. In fact, writes Brooks, the thirty year goal at MIT is to so control the genetics of living systems that “instead of growing a tree, cutting it down, and building a table out of it, we will ultimately be able to grow the the table.”

Imagine a world in which we breed bacterial robots to repair or improve human bodies at the molecular level. Darwin’s revolution placed man in the animal kingdom. The 21st century may see man placed in the world of machines.

Will future generations long for the good old days when Man was just an animal?
Will “Humanity 2.0″ be characterized by self-determined evolution that resembles today’s software upgrades?

What do you think? Would you enhance your IQ, your memory, your reading speed and retention? Would you enhance your kids to give them an advantage in the world? Welcome to the future.

Crazier than my mustache in the previous post...

-J

5 comments:

Brandon said...

I think I would be all for such a procedure. A lot of people seem to think that it would imply we are playing God. And while I think that's a valid point, I also think conversely that these are the people of the same mindset of those sitting in the 21st century refusing electricity and indoor plumbing.

Think about it. Obviously this sort of thing was not in the realm of imagination during the apostles era, so for clear guidence we aren't going to find this spelled out. What we do have is that our body is a Holy Temple, that it belongs to the Lord, We are just stewards of this flesh.

that still doesn't leave us with a lot of clarity, but based on your question we have the diliema of do we use human knowledge to improve on human defects.

That brings the point that we are improving on Gods creation. I think the fault in that is they aren't taking into account the fall. I don't think any amount of technology will ever be able to bring back to Eden, we always have this little counter of life ticking down that even these biological fixes can only extend temporarily.

So long story long. If I can implant something that will take care of my basic memory lapses, or allow me to do complex calculus in my head, or even something as simple to change my body to be immune to i dunno cancer or whatever else disease then i'm all for it. Think about it, on some level we already to this with modern drugs...

just my .02

Brandon said...

...forgot...

Look at it like this...you could make a super-brandon, one that could actually get everything you and ramsey want done from me, without having to compete with my job all the time... ;)

davo said...

Can I have a Wifi-enabled internet injected into me? I love the internets, and if I could BE the internets, I would love that extra....

...oh, and yes Jeff, if you're reading this, I would obviously support Javascripts, AJAX, and be cross browser compatible between Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera. That just goes without saying.

jason said...

Well... after those three posts... I gues I'm sold...

Brandon said...

www.whereintheworldisdavo.com