I dont know that many things I have read have truly scared me. Horror novels have not been much more than entertaining, but this
article... I still have cold chills from it. This article portrays the scariest view into our future, and it is already begining to take place.
Why The Future Doesn't Need Us
The author of this article is Bill Joy, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems. He has created many programs that are used today,
including Vi (if you are into Linux or Unix, you'll know what this is).
I will try to summarize some parts of the article if you do not want to take the time to read it in full, but I highly
suggest that you do.
You'll be thinking about this for a long time after you read it.
He describes how serious the situation is that we are approaching. He mentions the Weapons of Mass Destruction of the 20th century were Nuclear,
Biological, and Chemical and brings it to our attention that they are minor compared to what we will be facing in this coming century. Genetics,
Nanotechnology, and Robotics will have the potential to be far more devasting as they can affect everyone
and can be created by anyone
One must not possess rare materials and such to create these WMDs, but one must only
possess knowledge... Can you imagine terrorism as this
century progresses into these new technologies??
"This is the first moment in the history of our planet when any species, by its own voluntary actions, has become a danger to itself - as well as to
vast numbers of others. "
He says another major difference between the WMDs of the previous century, and those of the next are that they can self-replicate. A bomb is blown up
only once, but one bot can become many and potentially create a situation unlike any we have ever comprehended
Nanotechnology, for those who are unfamiliar, is "The science and technology of building electronic circuits and devices from single atoms and
molecules." according to the American Heritage Dictionary. In nonotech, there will be atomic devices called replicating assemblers, which as its
name suggests, are made to self-replicate and assemble or do whatever they were designed to do. Jokingly Mr. Joy says for an assignment, "Use
nanotechnology to create a vampire; for extra credit create an antidote." Which he claims to be more than possible with nanotech.
"Nanotechnology has clear military and terrorist uses, and you need not be suicidal to release a massively destructive nanotechnological device -
such devices can be built to be selectively destructive, affecting, for example, only a certain geographical area or a group of people who are
His vision of the future of robotics, as they progress to being nearly self-conscious, is also very scary. And once an intelligent robot exists, it
is only a small step to a robot species... to an intelligent robot that can make evolved copies of itself.
"First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better than human beings can
do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary. Either of
two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over the
machines might be retained. "
There is only a limited amount of resources on Earth. If these intellignet robots, even if control is retained by humans, begin to be threatened,
especially as resources begin to deplete on Earth, they may be able to decide
not to allow us the control. Some of this may sound far-fetched,
but let the possibilities sink in for a minute.... It is more than possible at the rate we are increasing in technology today.
Bill Joy, being in the field of technology, sees all of this being common place within 30 years. This is very scary as that is well within my
lifetime. He says:
"But now, with the prospect of human-level computing power in about 30 years, a new idea suggests itself: that I may be working to create tools which
will enable the construction of the technology that may replace our species."
That really makes ya think about a lot of things... I highly suggest reading the article, it is well worth the read.