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IEET > Life > Innovation > Vision > Futurism > Contributors > Dick Pelletier

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The difference between people and machine will blur as we trek through the decades ahead.


Dick Pelletier
Dick Pelletier
Ethical Technology

Posted: Apr 6, 2013

As we move into the late 2030s and 2040s, the most salient scenario is that we will merge with our technology gradually, not overnight. We may not experience a single great leap like a “Singularity;” instead, we could see many small steps as we slowly become more machine-like.

AI/Robots will eventually surpass human levels of intelligence and develop ability to self-replicate, increasing intelligence with each succeeding generation. This will produce an information explosion almost beyond imagination.

Our bodies will also evolve during this time. We will use nanobots to kill pathogens and cancer cells, then go into our brain and do benign things like enhance memory. Slowly, these nanobots will become more sophisticated.

We will direct these ‘smart bots’ to convert biological neurons into powerful non-biological ones, and rewrite our brain’s ‘software’. This will allow us to connect with machines and share their super-intelligence.

Eventually, every cell in our body will become non-biological, and our silicon-based minds will not only be able to interface seamlessly with machines, but will also easily connect with one another utilizing thought communications.

As robots develop new abilities, we will incorporate those abilities into our makeup. As the years unfold, we will become more machine-like and robots more human-like, the difference between human and machine will blur.

By century’s end, the merge could be complete; we would become a single species. And although our minds and bodies will be considered non-biological, our consciousness will forever preserve our definition as a human being.

The journey into this human-machine future will take place one benign, safe change at a time, beginning in late 2030s and ending sometime during the last half of this century.

Are you ready to live in a ‘cyborg’ world? I’ll admit it would certainly take some getting used to, but should this octogenarian writer survive the decades ahead; I say welcome to our human-machine future!


Dick Pelletier is a weekly columnist who writes about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He's also appeared on various TV shows, and he blogs at Immortaltech.
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COMMENTS


Great article.  Just remember that different people will have vastly different reactions to cyborization.  My thing is synthetic neocortex extenders (SNE), where the net can become an extension of yourself.  It already works on lobsters (really).

I told my work acquaintance about the SNE, and he said that a person who had that ability would be too powerful.  I guess it is that old debate about mechanical augmentation being unfair.

Here is device that is proven to improve your intelligence (a mild electric shock applied through the skull).  http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/brain-boosting-machine-works-but-is-it-ethical





Is there a distinction between merging with machines and completely becoming machines?





Christian,

My take is that although our brain and body will be considered non-biological, our consciousness will forever preserve our definition as a human being.

Comments welcome.





I’m talking about physically.  I’m sure the minds will will be preserved and I like the whole concept of a gradual integration of non-organic components into our biology, but is that really “merging” our bodies with machines, or just slowly replacing our biology with a machine substrate?





By the way, just found this article: http://io9.com/345728/geneticists-discover-a-way-to-extend-lifespans-to-800-years

Maybe we won’t have to mechanically augment if we can live centuries with our original body.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/superman/2013/04/tdcs_and_rtms_is_brain_stimulation_safe_and_effective.single.html

OTH, this device makes you smarter, so why not?





ahh’ let us not forget ’ or for most to ‘’ realize ‘’ the consciousness is infinite *constantly reaching new dimensions of * enlightenment * depending upon the ‘’ inclination ( growth - choices ) of the ‘’ Soul ‘’ ( person ) and I am not ready to forfeit * for any emerging technology.. How can a creation be greater than it’s Creator* * : ) only = if We allow it ...





“I’m sure the minds will will be preserved and I like the whole concept of a gradual integration of non-organic components into our biology, but is that really ‘merging’ our bodies with machines, or just slowly replacing our biology with a machine substrate?


As I was taught: substrate is where the organism resides, the outside world.
The body is the container.





This happy scenario presumes that everyone is included.  Most
Americans are becoming poorer, and most of the wealth in America
belongs to a tiny fraction.  If this continues, poor Americans
won’t be able to afford machines to merge themselves with.

This happy scenario also presumes that people control the machines
they merge with—which is already very rare and getting more so.  If
you use a portable phone, that’s a computer controlled by some large
company which has the power to use it against you when it wishes.
Whoever controls the machine’s software controls what it does.  Unless
all the software in your machine is free/libre, you do not control it.
Most PCs today have functionalities (HDCP, for instance) specifically
to restrict users; the Free Software Foundation has been campaigning
against this for a decade (see DefectiveByDesign.org).

If people merge with machines like that, they will find that Big
Brother knows and controls their thoughts.





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