So... one round of Man vs. Machine Jeopardy! down and the only reason human beings are competing with the machine, Watson, is because of a minor computer glitch in understanding spoken commands that machine caught and repaired on its own and for some reason I seem to be only one concerned about this...
Explain to me again why this machine is still plugged in, let alone in one piece. Humanity should get the same unspoken feeling of unease at the Western world got during the Chinese Olympic opening ceremony.
It seems obvious to me that what we’re watching is not just some cheap parlor trick showing off how grand our toys are, but rather witnessing the first step in the gradual rise to power of our next world leader...
Watson, the supercomputer.
But Watson will not take over the world in the same sword and stone fashion that the world’s previous conquerors have used, but rather using the soft submission of cultural adaption.
By unleashing upon the world its limitless potential, Watson will enslave us all through our need to adapt ourselves in order to exist in a world fully integrated with limitless machines.
In order for humanity to survive in the brave new world of tomorrow, it would have to cast off limitations of the flesh and evolve into technologically enhanced cybernetic organisms.
Partly metal, partly real
This isn't just some psychotic pot fueled delusion I dreamed up after a few too many hits off the vap-balloon...
In a recent Time article, Dr. Raymond Kurzweil spoke of this very thing while promoting his movie on said topic.
The article states:
“…we're approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity — our bodies, our minds, our civilization — will be completely and irreversibly transformed…”
He’s pretty sure that'll be in roughly 35 years.
Here's how he figured that:
We’ve all noticed that computers are not only getting faster but that the rate which they get faster also getting faster. Well, so Dr. Kurzweil...
Using a formula based loosely on Moore's Law (Moore's Law states that the number of transistors one can put a microchip doubles about every two years. Kurzweil's formula theorizes the same can be proven by measuring the changes in the computing power [measured in MIPS or millions of instructions per second] that one can buy for $1000.) , Kurzweil determinedthat by the year 2045 technology will advance to appoint far beyond the scope of human understanding (and control) forcing Man to either integrate with it or be dominated by it.
Either way we lose, and there's no way we can win...
In order to come to this conclusion, Dr. Kurzweil researched the pace of technological progress.
"Even at that time [the 80s, when he first began investigating this.], technology was moving quickly enough that the world was going to be different by the time you finished a project," he said to Time. "So it's like skeet shooting — you can't shoot at the target."
His research produced what Kurzweil calls “The Law of Accelerating Returns”stating that “… technological process happens exponentially, not linearly…”
It is because of this exponential growth of knowledge that computers are capable of, as opposed to the“A leads to B then to C…” method that our brains uses to process information, that gives computers the sizable advantage.
Dr. Kurzweil predicts that by the mid-2020s computers will be able to replicate the human brain as far as artificial intelligence and that the Singularity-a point which Humans will be forced to integrate with machines in order to exists with them-at around 2045.
It would seem as if it is our destiny... to be undone by our greatest achievement.
Rise of the machines
While I have a more negative view on the matter(and admittedly it is mostly fueled through paranoid bias caused by years of science fiction immersion), Dr. Kurzweil sees this as a coming Golden age for whatever technological hybridization of Man our turbulent time produces.
He sees this as a utopia… A heaven where men live endless lives with neither limitation nor fear to get in the way of Man’s plans...
Man, that his fullest potential.
And while I can see why ,with all these things promise, it seems a good idea. Hell, who wants to die...
But what’s the alternative?
Living forever in decaying flesh strapped to mechanical abominations; a living Frankenstein wandering the Earth for all eternity? Or worse, as a storage file in giant hard drive somewhere... a prisoner in an inescapable prison with no walls?
But despite the reservations that I and others have of this expected yet strangely unprepared for coming reality, it is in fact coming.
Just like Sarah Connor, we had to spend the rest of our lives (obviously until it happens) knowing that eventually the machines are to take over.
That we are making to take over.
And that there's nothing we can do about it but sit back, relax, and take it.