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Published:November 16th, 2008 14:45 EST
Artificial Intelligence

The Time Is Near: Artificial Intelligence

By Clinton Van Inman

Futurists adamantly remind us that the dawn of artificial intelligence is near and when this day does occur it will become the major stepping stone in human development.  Kurzweil and other trans-humanists envision that this development in computers, which they call singularity, ? will lead to a transition in human evolution when humans will become less biological and more computer like as evolution itself will transcend biology.  Personally, I think they have gotten too much of their information from Popular Mechanics. How mankind will make this transition into super-humanity and how computers becoming intelligent can directly affect the human genome trans-humanists are reticent. 

Artificial Intelligence

 

The last time I checked computers did not have any DNA.  Major advances in evolution must take place at the molecular level inside the DNA itself and no artificial gadgets or attachments of cybernetics will effect evolutionary change. Catalytic changes and augmentations in evolution are caused by catastrophes, as we are not certain what process prompts quantum leaps in the hominid genome. 

 

Yet any punctuated or gradual change in evolution is within the genetic fabric itself, and again we are talking about biology and not mechanics. I do believe, however, that evolution is a given as all things must change and adapt or become extinct, and man is no exception.  Singularity can only arise at the hands of singular individuals! But humanity`s evolutionary steps towards super-humanity will be achieved at the biological level prompted by radical changes in being in a position to control our own genetic variables instead of leaving them to chance. Designer DNA is quickly becoming a reality initiated through the Human Genome Project.  Once we take control over our own genetic heritage, through Direct or Autonomous Selection, then we can radically affect our own future in more ways than even the trans-humanists can image.  Super-humanity is not erected with tinker toys, or does it need the crutch of AI, but will come about through natural, biological means. 

 

Personally, I think that having intelligent computers will make us lazier than prompting us to become more intelligent in order to keep pace with them as trans-humanists believe.  It is disheartening for someone, even a chess champion, to lose every game of chess to a computer.  After a while even I, too, would simply give up.  Even today computers have almost out-distanced humans in every facet of operation, but let`s not forget who the programmers are. But that is another story.

 

The trans-humanists are correct in one area: the wide spread application of cybernetic organisms in the future and as well as robots.  Cybernetic organisms and advanced robots will emerge, but they will not be superhuman.  Super-humans still flesh and blood, will use these in a futuristic world scenario much resembling Plato`s Republic, Robots will become widespread and will the ncompass all levels of labor.  Cybernetic organisms, like the Borg, will provide the control and protection of the super-world.  Super-humans will be at the top.  What will they be doing?  Probably trying to figure out how to beat damn computers at chess!