posted on May, 4 2014 @ 06:56 PM
I couldn’t agree more with Hawking. He may be handicapped from the neck down, but his mental faculties are working just fine, and his
warnings/advice to mankind is spot on. He doesn’t sugarcoat it and clearly understands the direction our tech is taking.
Believe me, I've preached and preached about the dangers of out of control technologies on this site. I’m sure I’ve turned many a stomach here by
advising caution on how we proceed in certain areas. A positive, forward-looking take on these issues is a good thing for success, so long as it’s
not naive and is tempered with intelligent consideration of potential pitfalls and blind alleys. For what it''s worth, the following are some of my
thoughts on A.I. and related tech, as well as technological development in general.
Technological development is currently accelerating at such a rate that it has raised certain concerns for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not
anti-technology at all. To the contrary, I’m very much an advocate for the advancement of the sciences and technology. Back in the Stone Age I
earned my B.S. in mathematics, and have since made a fairly decent living working in a variety of different disciplines within the computer industry.
Software design and development is my main gig, but I’ve done a bit of design and implementation work on the networking and hardware side of the
fence, as well. Medium to large scale coporate systems and networks is my main focus and platform. My entire career has been intimately tied to
advancements in technology. It’s not technology itself, though, that concerns me so much as it is whether humanity will have the wisdom and ability
to control the virtually limitless power that awaits us right around the corner. Many years ago I recognized 3 particular areas of research and
development that kinda raised a few red flags for me: robotics, genetics and information systems technology. It always seemed to me that future joint
ventures involving contributions from any/all combinations of those 3 areas could not only result in some virtually magical applications, but in some
rather frightening and dangerous ones, as well. I can clearly envision a time in the not too distant future when mankind will no longer have the
ability to control the technological monster it has created, and to a great extent, with the exception of a handful of wireheads and quantum
theorists, won’t even remotely understand it. The potential for evil and sinister exploitation of bleeding-edge technologies will be impossible to
resist for our greedy, self-serving species. Particularly our deranged, psychotic political leaders and their corporate masters. Anyway, one thing you
can probably take to the bank is that technological growth will not be slowing down anytime soon, waiting for us to catch up with it and responsibly
control it, but rather it will continue to accelerate exponentially for the forseeable future. IMO if mankind makes it for even another century or 2
without annihilating ourselves it will be out of sheer dumb luck. It just seems to me the writing is on the wall. I really hope I’m wrong. After
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Einstein said, "If I had known they were going to do this, I would have become a shoemaker."
Regarding A.I. in particular, not only will machines/robots become intelligent and aware in the near future, they will also become our friends and
companions, and sometimes our enemies. We will come to interact with them quite naturally, forming relationships with strong emotional bonds. Ha!
We’ll probably have to change our laws to allow marrying them!! The divorce rate may be pretty high, though, as it will not take long for them to
see through our shallow asses, get bored and seek a worthy partner. This is all literally right around the corner.
Advances beyond that have the potential to get a little scary, though, and I hope we carefully think through every step we take. It will not be long
before our machines will program themselves much better than we humans can program them (many already do program themselves to a limited extent), be
capable of maintaining themselves (including replacing their own parts), they will reproduce (make other machines), and evolve by improving the next
generation machine based upon faults and limitations determined through continually monitoring and recording system events. Kinda sounds like
“life”, doesn’t it? Ultimately, who is the slave and who is the master could become a cloudy issue. Time will tell.
At any rate, I think it’s conceivable that if there are higher intelligences in this universe, then it’s possible that intelligent machines may
represent at least some portion of it. Who knows, maybe intelligent machines even outnumber biological intelligences out there. After all, they
aren’t as fragile, can learn/become intelligent much more quickly than us, are less likely to destroy themselves over religious differences, and
they’re much prettier.