In an article by Dylan Love “No Longer Human” and appearing in Business Insider, Louis Del Monte, physicist and entrepreneur, is quoted as saying, in part:
“Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the time frame most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but, machines.”
We are told that this will happen within three decades. That, on its face, sounds like a tall order, but, we average citizens really don’t know what science is up to. Del Monte points out the absence of legislation controlling such things and apparently, we can assume that the scientific world will not discipline or limit itself.
Organ transplants, cyborg technology, even thought transference and implantation, in the quest for a form of immortality, has come to be referred to as Transhumanism. However, under this concept, the humans remain in control. The article further quotes Del Monte as saying, in part:
“In the early part of the post – singularity world, one scenario is that the machines will seek to turn humans into cyborgs………………………..”
Actually, according to Transhumanism, it will be humans, using human technology who will choose to turn humans into cyborgs. The question is whether or not humans will relinquish that control. Another quote warns:
“The implication is that they’re also learning self – preservation.”
And further states:
“Whether or not they’re conscious is a moot point.”
But, is it a moot point?
Self - preservation is an instinct possessed by the animal kingdom; an in born complex behavior pattern. But, consciousness, or, self – consciousness is something else., again. If machines go beyond the instinct of self – preservation or simple survival and advance to a state of self awareness then the machines, by virtue of being sentient, would also develop and manifest an ego and might consider themselves above and superior to their human creators. We would then become the
“harmful insects to be wiped out”, as Del Monte warns.
This concept has been dealt with by science fiction writers over the decades. In 1970 the movie Colossus: The Forbin Project was released. It was based on the 1966 novel, Colossus, by Dennis Feltham Jones. In the movie, the United States and the USSR turn over control of their respective nuclear weapons to intelligent robots which continually communicate with each other to prevent an accidental nuclear confrontation. This was a fail safe system which backfired. All did not go well. The machines, in talking to each other, went beyond their programming and decided that they were above their human creators and could better handle the future of the world. Who could argue with them? They had the world’s nuclear arsenals at their disposal. They spoke loudly and carried the biggest stick of all. There was no happy ending here.
What is disturbing is that we tend to think of science fiction as fantasy. But, writers of this genre are, many times, visionaries warning us that “something wicked this way comes”.
Perhaps we should take heed.