26 Feb 2011

The beginning of the end…Of Us.

When I predicted the rise of sentient robots some 20 years ago, people gave me the looks – as if to say I was some kind of weirdo. Ahem – yes the Cap was ahead of Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and even Kevin Baldeosingh!

Yes – I’ve read ‘The Emperor’s New Mind’, ‘Shadows in the Mind’ and much of Hawking’s works. But this post is about ‘sentient life’ and the danger it spells for us.

Well read here: Automaton Know Thyself – you will see where we’re heading. As always people start barking on about pros and cons etc. I start from the other end – with what we have. What do we have? We have us!! We are the most advanced of sentient robots you can possibly find in the Universe. [Read that again.. before launching for that keyboard]. We’re organic – carbon-based sentient robots.

Leaving aside religious dogma at this time – we had the benefit of 6 billion years of evolution. Now think – how good are we? In many ways we are highly defective!! Our capacities for logical thought, adequate decision-making, and working together are terribly deficient. We dispense with logic and well worn principles whimsically. Unfortunately were I to gather the evidence it would take a few thousand pages. But stay with me for the moment.

We had all that time and the best of ‘nature’s hand’ in fashioning the most evolved machinery of thinking and movement; yet we are so deficient relative to the demands made on us in our modern society. Dare I visit things like War Crimes and Terrorism.

So think! Can man create better than himself – machines that will truly exceed all his thinking and moral faculties. Based on all I know of the human race, I have serious doubts.

Then there is another possibility – that we actually achieve the creation of sentient life that truly exceeds us in every way. This new life form determines that we are an unnecessary hindrance – in fact we’re ‘a serious risk to them and some higher universal purpose’ - and decides to get rid of us. Yes – you’re probably thinking ‘Terminator’ movies. The Cap saw all that coming when he was merely 15.

Humanity has a habit of ‘playing’ with things that it is not ready for. Sentience is not a thing to be played with! It is the most powerful force created by nature. The science of sentience is not regulated as far as I know – and the development of sentient life before we as a species are mature enough for it, jeopardises our very existence. I don’t know if that is a bad thing. Perhaps my soul belongs in a superior non-organic form, with principles and faculties far superior to my own – among beings that serve a truly higher universal purpose. The future will no doubt tell.

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