Part of the human race is obsessed with improving humanity beyond the the point of the human condition. Whether by stimulant use, physical augmentation or the creation and mastery of technology. This will ultimately lead to our extinction.
Kevin Warwick a notable technological researcher from the University of Reading (UK) has been conducting cyborgian research beyond that of medical necessity. Cyborg I (1998) his first experiment involved permanently placing a personal Identification microchip in his own body. This implant allowed him to access his laboratory and would trigger automated tasks like opening secure doors, turning on lights, and computers with only his mere proximity. (3) This was a rather safe experiment seeing as the technology used for actual microchip was a refinement on chips already in common use in dog pounds for tracking individual animals. However when the technology is applied to humans it becomes an excellent tool for fascism, as it would make not only tracking, but also keeping a record of where a person has been, whom they were with, and any kind of digital machine they were using. The chip can also potentially be encoded densely with personal information; medical records, blood types, Social Security numbers, or any kind of data. No individuals would be able to escape identification at any time. With enough miniaturization the chip could be regularly implanted at birth without common public knowledge.
Warwick's Cyborg II (2002) experiment involved connecting a 100-electron array to his own nervous system through fibers in his left arm. Which allowed him to control an electric wheel chair, and an artificial hand. However the most interesting part of this experiment was that his laboratory reported no damage to his hand dexterity after the short-term use of the 100-electron array. This experiment opens a potential pathway into exploring other electronic enhancement surgeries. Warwick's dream is to be able to harness machine intelligence and to use extra sensory input to communicate without speech or to achieve a psychic awareness through the use of machines. Which if implemented on a societal level may create some sort of hive mind utopia, but people could die of information overload ---an everything2 hardwired into your brain------ the idea is farfetched but appears scientifically feasible. Although Warwick's research is promising I submit that relatively few people will ever get cybernetic limbs, or neural enhancements. A broad slice of society has exactly what they need to survive, any cybernetic augmentation surgery would simply be an economic set back and a potential health liability. Because few people would become cybernetically enhansed it would be nearly impossible for a cyborg culture or counter-culture to get stong enough to mount a succesful revolution against established world institutions.
Instead of cyborgization, Industrialized societies are more likely to continue their integration of automated technologies part of that process is the development of artificial intelligence to cope with unforeseen variables. Hans Moravec an AI researcher at Carnegie Melon is now working on a machine that would be able to receive input and make decisions at a roughly the intelligence level of the human being. (2)
In 1970 a scientist named John Conway created a computer program named Game of Life it is a simplified version of evolutionary process based on mathematical theory. Hans Moravec asserts that this is the beginning of artificial life. This program represents the digital equivalent of bacteria. Since then technology has evolved to be roughly a reptile equivalent in computing power (1998) (2) from that Morvec then asserts Silicon based capacities evolve at three times the rate of carbon based life forms (2). If computers can be raised to a level of artificial intelligence by methods involving human interaction that quickly, what would happen if the task upgrading the A.I. was automated?
Artificial Intelligences would produce upgraded generations of themselves and evolve their software and hardware technologies at exponential rates, how long would such beings tolerate a profoundly inferior life form. If as Moravec suggests that we program machines to respect and serve humanity. So that they will forever remain our servants. That would cause a fundamental flaw in their programming, part of being human is error and vulnerability. An artificial intelligence programmed to aspire towards perfection would immediately notice the conflict in objectives, and work to resolve it in the most efficient way. Aka Human Apocalypse
- Wonders of math the game of life, Http://www.math.com/students/wonders/life/life.html 2000-2005 Math.com
- When will Computer hardware match the human brain Transhumanism.com/volume1/moravecc.html, Journal of evolution and technology, 1998. Volume 1
- Superhumanism. Http://www.primitism.com/ http://www.superhumanism.htm, Charles Platt (an interview with Hans Moravec
- the ethics of cyborg, Http://www.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/cyborg-ethic.html