ABC News: What if Machines Get Too Smart? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

B U R B A N K, Calif, Aug. 12  Here at the start of the new millennium, technology seems poised both to extend human life and to enrich it in ways we can now only imagine. But the future may not be this rosy.

Already, leading scientists are warning us to slow down and watch out. Scientists such as Bill Joy, who, as co-founder of the computer giant, Sun, helped start the digital revolution, are now having second thoughts.

As the boundaries between these sciences blur, and the power of these sciences will also do just about anything, Joy says, there has to be a point at which biological humans are threatened.

Threatened? Thats right. And Joy thinks its the point where we and our machines begin to converge.

You can imagine, says Danny Hillis, the chairman of Applied Minds, Inc., where over time, youd end up with lots of chips in your brain.

Scientists say weve already started. The latest medical breakthroughs, for instance, use implanted chips in place of severed nerves to overcome paralysis.

I think at first well do it just for repair, Hillis says, but I think later, people will start augmenting their nervous system for other things.

Why not a little calculator in my here? says technologist Don Norman, pointing to his neck. You know, theres a lot of space right in there. I could put a cell telephone and an electronic calculator there.

Humans are still evolving, Hillis says. Humanity is in its childhood right now. And were going to turn into something else.

Is There a Limit?

Its this kind of thinking that is too much for humanists like philosopher Elie Weisel, who says there has to be a limit on how we use technology in our bodies.

My health, yes, my conscience, no, he says. I do not believe that machines should ever replace ones hesitation, ones reticence, ones doubts. Machines dont doubt. I want to doubt.

Weisel says its our ability to doubt that makes us human. But just as we are becoming more like machines, they are also growing more like us.

What happens when computers become as smart or as capable as humans, says technologist Bob Metcalfe. Thats going to happen inevitably. In the next 20 or 30 years, there will be computers smarter than people.

And those computers will almost certainly become the brains of machines  robots  that can then replicate themselves in one quick download. And even leading technologists like Bill Joy are scared of that.

Would they have families? Joy asks. Its very easy to romanticize this and think that if we created a species it would be like us. But its more likely to be completely unlike us. The danger is that they can replicate and mutate, so they can escape our control.

Robots? Escape our control? Sounds like science fiction. And it was in the movie Terminator. But the prospect that our technology could actually get away from us one day  for real  is beginning to make some very smart people very uneasy.

What does it all mean? Weisel asks. That we relinquish so much of our own potential to machines?

Science cautions it is the unintended consequences of technology that almost always happen  not the intended ones.

link to original article

-- Jim Morris (, August 13, 2000


Would they have families? Joy asks. Its very easy to romanticize this and think that if we created a species it would be like us. But its more likely to be completely unlike us. The danger is that they can replicate and mutate, so they can escape our control.

Ok I NOW have my answer to the thread I started, Many thanks.

xoxo, sumer

-- consumer (, August 13, 2000.


When machines get smart enough to know when our nose hairs need trimming (and then alert us to that fact!) You will know that machines have become too smart. Until then, keep in mind the infamous GIGO as it applies to computers: Garbage In, Garbage Out. It is as true now as it was in the 60s, before the dreaded Singing Bass was mass marketed, I might add.

-- (, August 13, 2000.


-- (, August 13, 2000.

The people who write these articles assume that Microsoft and Peoplesoft will not remain the dominant software companies [he says as he leaves a Mac and goes back to working on a PC].

Best Wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 13, 2000.


I think you've just given us a preview of the future: Our Overlords will be the Boogie Bass! :-D

-- Jim Morris (, August 13, 2000.

Jim, shhh! Don't give "them" any ideas. Actually, I'm waiting for someone like Ralph Baskin to do a film that incorporates pokemon, singing fish, and bisexual presidents. Given enough days without anymore Dew, and I might be persuaded to produce it.

-- (, August 13, 2000.

playboy-robotic-bunnies??---work-cheap!!can i work in the =parts-dept.

-- al-d. (, August 13, 2000.

Al's troll -- I'd like to put you to work in promotion. I'll bet you'd be good at getting this film lots of promo time on the community access cable stations.

-- (, August 13, 2000.

Attack of the Killer Boogie Bass -- coming soon to a theater near you.

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), August 13, 2000.

I'mHere -- LOL! Great title. It could start with an opening shot of CPR in Texas explaining the virtues of this house on the Gulf Coast to an elderly lady. Suddenly, there is a rumbling, like a massive earthquake. The camera pulls back to reveal the small cottage being engulfed by the GIANT BOOGIE BASS while "Don't Worry, Be Happy" plays in the background. CPR, unfazed, continues his sales pitch for the now vacant property.

-- (, August 13, 2000.

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