Will Computers Take Over The World?
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Will Computers Take Over The World?

Explore theoretical perspectives on the evolution of the evolutionary process itself.

This article is a response to the following question by Lauren in the Factoidz forums:

"I want to know whether computers will ever take over the world and if they do, when?" (click here to view the forum post)

Thank you for your interesting question Lauren, it actually touches on some very sensitive issues in cutting edge philosophy of science, bioethics and philosophy of mind. While there are all kinds of opinions about the relevant uses and impacts of artificial intelligence on our civilization, I'll offer only my own distinct perspective

Adopting a posthumanist perspective is necessary in order to allow one to effectively contemplate the obviously expanding transhumanistic aspects of our culture. We seem to constantly be trying to upgrade the performance of our industries, and even our bodies and minds, through the use of technology. A simple transhumanist view of the distant future is that we will eventually transcend our physical bodies. Any answers to the who? what? where? and when? of this new theorized form of evolution should be taken as conjecture. 

Personally, my picture of our world in the distant future doesn't include physical human bodies. However, this doesn't mean that in this picture artificial intelligence will have 'taken over' our civilization. Rather, every possible aspect of our intellectual culture will remain. What we'll have in this future time is an exponentially more powerful process for doing all of the things we want or need to do. This refinement to our ongoing process of human cultural evolution will involve the use of technology to a greater and greater extent over time. 

So, to sum up my opinion I would say that the essence of what it means to be human will be gradually merged with our technologies. One day a computer and a human mind will be synonymous, two of the same kind, and far more powerful than anything that exists today. But these sorts of drastic changes to our way of life will take many, many years to occur, similar to traditional evolution. So don't worry about ever having to feel like the world is passing you by because you don't have bionic arms or a microchip implanted in your brain. But joking aside, remember this, no matter what the future holds there will never be a time when computers will 'take over' as the essence of what makes us unique will always be the driving force of our every action.

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Comments (7)

A great write Salvatore, I feel computers have already begun to take over the world and not in a good way either, but then it's not really the computer is it? it's the people using them.

Hey DeeBee, one thing is for sure, too many people are texting while they're driving.

I am agitated whenever I see people texting while driving. It's dangerous especially if done while driving a motorcycle.

Very interesting write-up, Salvatore. What I have observed so far with the advancement of technology, is the characteristics which make us "human" - compassion, conscience, patience, integrity, manners, and such - have seemed to take a drastic decline. This is a generalization, I realize, but I do believe the instant gratification which is a by-product of technology isn't necessarily a good thing, and has produced some very rude, self-serving individuals.

Hey Sharla, yeah I agree that people are taking the use of some technology too far. Do they already think they are robots? A few days back I saw a guy standing first in line at a sandwich shop talking on his cellphone and totally ignoring the clerk. This frustrates the clerk and may make them feel bad AND it slows down the process of me getting my lunch, as I was second in line. Then he FINALLY hung up and placed an order (which took about 2 secs) without even offering a slight apology to the clerk. If this was a rare occurrence it wouldn't be a big deal, but I think it's becoming normal. Recently I had a conversation with a man who is trying to develop a few apps for the android. He told me that it's kind of like the wild west out there in that world, or a gold rush of sorts. I suppose we're in a period of rapid growth in terms of the applicability of technology to our everyday lives, and many are struggling to continue practicing common courtesies. I think things will get better as time goes on.

Your article raises some really great thoughts and your title posses a very thought provoking question. Excellent work.

Thanks! Since writing this short piece I've been thinking about related issues quite a bit more. The net is augmenting to the point where it'll live in a much deeper symbiosis with us in our lives. It's important to express what's happening and to carefully consider the ethical and other philosophical issues surrounding our systematic and almost instant adoption of powerful new technologies. Ultimately though, we build these new systems around ourselves, people are the most integral component of any technological system, and that won't change any time soon.