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the Wookie
09-18-2003, 05:21 PM
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html

very interesting read


But now, with the prospect of human-level computing power in about 30 years, a new idea suggests itself: that I may be working to create tools which will enable the construction of the technology that may replace our species. How do I feel about this? Very uncomfortable. Having struggled my entire career to build reliable software systems, it seems to me more than likely that this future will not work out as well as some people may imagine. My personal experience suggests we tend to overestimate our design abilities

Given the incredible power of these new technologies, shouldn't we be asking how we can best coexist with them? And if our own extinction is a likely, or even possible, outcome of our technological development, shouldn't we proceed with great caution?


As Drexler explained:

"Plants" with "leaves" no more efficient than today's solar cells could out-compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough omnivorous "bacteria" could out-compete real bacteria: They could spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stop - at least if we make no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.

Among the cognoscenti of nanotechnology, this threat has become known as the "gray goo problem." Though masses of uncontrolled replicators need not be gray or gooey, the term "gray goo" emphasizes that replicators able to obliterate life might be less inspiring than a single species of crabgrass. They might be superior in an evolutionary sense, but this need not make them valuable.

The gray goo threat makes one thing perfectly clear: We cannot afford certain kinds of accidents with replicating assemblers.


Gray goo would surely be a depressing ending to our human adventure on Earth, far worse than mere fire or ice, and one that could stem from a simple laboratory accident. Oops.
matrix anyone?

this guy is pretty respected (he wrote vi :eek: )

comments?

reading towards the end, the projections are kinda scary actually.

Jeremy G
09-18-2003, 06:23 PM
within 10 years.


Possibly 5.

This guy underestimates growth of technology.

ZakkWylde969
09-18-2003, 06:29 PM
I personally think hes a little paranoid. I HIGHLY doubt that we are going to die out anytime soon due to robots or canable barteria. I'll put 5000$ on that.

Govtcheez
09-18-2003, 06:41 PM
It's not possible because Jesus made us all special

Cat
09-18-2003, 06:48 PM
I also think that replicating robots, although they may soon exist, will not be viable outside of a lab. The reason being, the materials which make up electronics must be very specific, and must have precisely controlled impurities, and the smaller the machine, the more precise must be its construction. The margin for error on silicon impurity concentrations drops as the gates become smaller and smaller.

I also doubt we will soon see the days where machines can replace humans. Machines and men think in very different ways, and even technologies like neural networks can't truly emulate the massively interconnected, asynchronous network of the brain. Machines are superior at many kinds of tasks, but very much inferior at others, and I think that will always be the case.

Heck, the human brain stem does feedback control of systems more complicated than any machine can yet handle, and the brain stem is the most primitive part of our brain.

I also tend to disagree on the fact that the complexity of a machine equalling the complexity of the brain -- the two are so fundamentally different that it makes little sense to compare the two. Further, the approach that each uses to solve a problem are completely different as well.

We've barely BEGUN to understand how our own brains work, and we think we can make a better system? I guess human arrogance scores a point, but in reality, I doubt we will ever go obsolete.

Jeremy G
09-18-2003, 07:01 PM
I think what you need to realize is technology doesn't mean replacing what already exists, but building upon and enhancing what exists. Maybe you've seen something in the news, or on ripleys or NOVA about the blind man who has glasses that "plug" into his brain to feed him visual sample of the world using black/white dots. And while its not nearly a perfect or even close match to our biological site the key point here is technology - biology interactivity. We are learning how to send the brain signals - and read signals from the brain. The first "artificial" intelligence may not be technologically based, instead technology assited by biology. It may become possible to use actual brains in processing and memory. Im not going to say human brains - as for sure that wouldn't be allowed by the governments as part of moral opposition - but perhaps rat brains, cat brains, dog brains, eventually primate brains??

The vision of a brain in a jar of water becomes more possib... plausible! as we gather more information on our own brains and how exactly they work.

Before you tell me that this is all science fiction, try to remember what was science fiction 30 years ago, that is now science FACT today..

major_small
09-18-2003, 08:01 PM
I can't see humans losing out to machines/computers any time in the near future... take a look at the thread about the brain vs. computers... a human can adapt alot better than a robot can... I highly doubt there will be a robot comperable to a human anytime too soon...

the Wookie
09-18-2003, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by Cat
I also doubt we will soon see the days where machines can replace humans. Machines and men think in very different ways, and even technologies like neural networks can't truly emulate the massively interconnected, asynchronous network of the brain. Machines are superior at many kinds of tasks, but very much inferior at others, and I think that will always be the case.

I don't think so. Neural networks are basically designed on how the brain works. To me, 30 years sounds reasonable, especially at the current rate of growth for out technology.

Neural networks are designed to conform and 'learn' from whatever data it gets. And there are plenty of people researching on ways to make this better.

Machines can't think with emotion, but they can with logic as we do, and they can do that better than we can, if not just as good

JaWiB
09-18-2003, 08:07 PM
I say just look at the past...People have been predicting stuff like this for years...Ever heard of "2001: A Space Odyssey" ? Maybe it is possible for robots to present a threat to us in the future, but it seems highly unlikely that they will even come close to replacing us...

major_small
09-18-2003, 08:13 PM
they may present a threat to us within 30 years, but i don't think it will be anything like the terminator movies predict...

even if they do come around to present a threat, they won't be able to replicate a human, and I still think a human will always have a capacity to overcome a robot...

the Wookie
09-18-2003, 08:17 PM
well if you forget everything youve heard/seen in movies.

machines only do what theyre programmed to do. so itll adapt to whatever there is. but it has no emotion. which can be a good thing and a bad thing.

and also Cat, building of those machines by other machines would probably be alot more feasable than being built by humans because of the pricision. picutrea a modern chip plant. except it being fully automated and run by software which adapts to dynamic market data to meet supply and demand, without any human feedback at all.

something like that though :)

frenchfry164
09-18-2003, 08:43 PM
Man, how many times must this topic be brought up on this forum?

MethodMan
09-18-2003, 09:18 PM
>>I think what you need to realize is technology doesn't mean replacing what already exists, but building upon and enhancing what exists

I didnt read much of this discussion, but happened to see this.

Id like to disagree with you. People who think like you are why technology doesnt expand, or get enhanced. There could be new methods which are more powerful, but people just want to expand on old techniques. That is a major setback today...

Jeremy G
09-18-2003, 11:22 PM
Originally posted by MethodMan
>>I think what you need to realize is technology doesn't mean replacing what already exists, but building upon and enhancing what exists

I didnt read much of this discussion, but happened to see this.

Id like to disagree with you. People who think like you are why technology doesnt expand, or get enhanced. There could be new methods which are more powerful, but people just want to expand on old techniques. That is a major setback today...

I intended to insert "necessarily" and "also" in my state ment to force the point that technology advancement includes enhancement. However, I was in a hurry to get out to my classes.

As for "people like me" -- you know nothing of or about me.
As for "major setback" -- Ehancements to existing technology are what are responsible for the LEAPS and BOUNDS technology has made in the past 15 years. The desktop computer thats being put to waste by your use wouldnt be able to play the games you like, or view the websites you surf with out enhancing existing technology.


tit for tat, personal attack was warranted in that last section.

ZakkWylde969
09-19-2003, 05:04 AM
I think they MIGHT make a small threat in the job world. They will never actually replace the human race. That is rediculous. They would probably do as they do today and replace people in factories for faster production and more accurate production. There isn't a soon to be race of robots ready to come whipe out the human race.

nvoigt
09-19-2003, 05:12 AM
"Don't be too proud of that technological terror you've constructed."

-Lord Vader, SW:ANH

FloatingPoint
09-19-2003, 09:27 AM
And then he said something abt the force being superior to the current tech they had..:D

Cat
09-19-2003, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by the Wookie
I don't think so. Neural networks are basically designed on how the brain works. To me, 30 years sounds reasonable, especially at the current rate of growth for out technology.

Neural networks are designed to conform and 'learn' from whatever data it gets. And there are plenty of people researching on ways to make this better.

Machines can't think with emotion, but they can with logic as we do, and they can do that better than we can, if not just as good

The fundamental difference, though, is that a computer is a discrete time, discrete amplitude (digital) system. Our brains are continuous time and continuous amplitude (analog) systems, although things like neural activity are binary events.

The neural nets of today try to simulate the TOPOLOGY of the brain, but they operate in nothing close to the same way. Artificial neural nets are, essentially, matrix multiplications potentially followed by nonlinear operations. They iterate over solutions one time-step at a time. Our brains are asynchronous -- although there are rythmic oscillations in many areas, the system as a whole does not work in snychronization with any clock signal. Our brain is much more like an analog computer than a digital one.

Now, nobody builds fully analong computers these days because they are difficult to construct, difficult to program, pretty much difficult to do much of anything with. But they're blazingly fast; even a simple analog computer built for a particular task can reach the answer before any digital computer.

They also have an incredible complexity that digital systems cannot match. Part of the reason we USE digital systems is because they are of a complexity that we can deal with.

MethodMan
09-19-2003, 02:14 PM
>>I intended to insert "necessarily" and "also" in my state ment to force the point that technology advancement includes enhancement. However, I was in a hurry to get out to my classes.

Oh right :rolleyes: , that would hold up great in court...

>>As for "people like me" -- you know nothing of or about me.

I never said I personally know you, its the people that THINK like you, learn how to quote. Dont put words into my mouth.

>>As for "major setback" -- Ehancements to existing technology are what are responsible for the LEAPS and BOUNDS technology has made in the past 15 years. The desktop computer thats being put to waste by your use wouldnt be able to play the games you like, or view the websites you surf with out enhancing existing technology.

I agree that some of the technologies are produced by enhancing existing technologies, but is also because they are accepted by the majority of the people. However, there are technologies, which COULD be better, but its pretty hard to introduce something new into an area that has existed for such a long period of time.

Xei
09-24-2003, 01:51 AM
He is obviously insane.