Thursday, July 17, 2008

Humans to merge with machines

CNN reports: [edited]

A group of experts from around the world will hold a first of its kind conference Thursday on global catastrophic risks. They will discuss what should be done to prevent these risks from becoming realities that could lead to the end of human life on Earth as we know it.

On the final day of the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference, experts will focus on what could be the unintended consequences of new technologies, such as superintelligent machines that, if ill-conceived, might cause the demise of Homo sapiens.

"Any entity which is radically smarter than human beings would also be very powerful," said Dr. Nick Bostrom, director of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, host of the symposium. "If we get something wrong, you could imagine the consequences would involve the extinction of the human species. We want to preserve the best of what it is to be human and maybe even amplify that".

Transhumanists, according to Bostrom, anticipate an era in which biotechnology, molecular nanotechnologies, artificial intelligence and other new types of cognitive tools will be used to amplify our intellectual capacity, improve our physical capabilities and even enhance our emotional well-being.

The end result would be a new form of "posthuman" life with beings that possess qualities and skills so exceedingly advanced they no longer can be classified simply as humans.

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Brett's 2p'orth: The rest of the article is worth a read, although a bit of a 'Gosh-wow' piece, it addresses an issue that is inevitable and whose ethical ramifications are complex and ambiguous.


Skep said...

I read this article a few days ago and it really struck a chord with me; we really are getting shockingly close. We've already publicised a bionic arm that acts and moves just like a real arm and hand already, just how long will it be before we can finally rid ourselves of these puny human bodies, and take a step towards the immortal?

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Anonymous said...

he there so stupid they dont want to continu with this because it will be the end of human life as we know it, its like yeah if we care we can also have taken the first step to immortality or atleast your life being extended for an extra 50 years untill your brain dead.... but against that time they will already have invented something new maybe artificial brain or something