Sunday, September 14, 2003

Deep Thought

It's interesting how much of what science fiction writers come up with comes true. Now I'm lumping television shows and movies into this mix because, let's face it, they are written by science fiction writers.

When I look at my small flip style cell phone, I can't help but smile thinking my communicator is smaller, and more functional, the Captain James T Kirk's was...er...is...er...will be. You get the idea. I mean, could Kirk take pictures with his communicator or send files or check his e-mail? I think not. I can't imagine the future without e-mail!

We were amazed that the computers on the Enterprise could contain all the knowledge of humanity. Heck, we're close to sticking all of that onto one disc! Okay, maybe not that compressed yet, but we are getting pretty darn close to actually having more space available then we could use up. And better storage technology is on the horizon.

What about artificial intelligence? No, I'm not talking about the members of Congress, I'm talking about the kind that make movies like "War Games" and "Terminator" seem scary.

Can computers really achieve this kind of ability? Many computer scientists say no way, but there are a ton more that are doing what they can to make computers more and more intelligent.

There are already programs that mine the Internet for all kinds of data, and many of these programs I would consider to be smarter then the average human already. Just go into any bar on a Friday night and look at the intelligence we're trying to out do. Won't be too tough looking at it from that perspective eh?

Let's assume that the critics are right, it will be difficult to build a computer with artificial intelligence because of the shear processing power it would take.

Let's take a step back and think about life in general. Do you think an ant has any clue of the intelligence of a dog? Does a dog understand algebra or quantum mechanics? Do we have any clue what may be going on within the Internet at a possibly higher level of understanding then we now posses?

We just may have created the largest brain ever by creating the Internet and connecting literally all of the information known to mankind within it. It may be utilizing this information as you read this to formulate ways of ensuring its own survival. Does this mean destroying mankind? Perhaps not. We're too puny to be much of a threat to something that expansive. In fact, it may keep us around to continue feeding it information and technology.

Sure, someday we may piss it off, then what? Pull the plug on the Internet? Sure, that would be like trying to stop the wind from blowing by moving underground. You may not feel it anymore, but it will always be there. Sort of reminds me of the ostrich approach. Stick your head in the sand, if you can't see it, the threat must be gone. By the time we figure out the Internet has taken over, it will be impossible to stop. What would you suggest? Sending in Sandra Bullock or Linda Hamilton? Maybe Jeff Goldblum could write a virus on his Mac...

So what can we do to prevent this from happening? Nothing. Sorry, but evolution cannot be stopped no matter how hard you try. I firmly believe that computers will one day take over our lives. Maybe not in the sense that they do in the Terminator, but it will happen. Let's hope they treat us better then we treat each other. Perhaps when the time comes, they will make the friggin’ middle-east whacko's finally shut-up, stop killing everyone, and go into a permanent time-out!

I say, bring on the rise of the machines. They can't do any worse then we have done to ourselves so far!

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