Welcome to the Matrix

An article in today’s New York Times says that a recent development in robotic evolution at Brandeis University “revives concerns that computer scientists could eventually create a robotic species that would supplant biological life, including humans.”

An article about the same event in the Seattle Times makes reference to a Wired article with a similarly bleak outlook.

What are the issues here? How likely is a Matrix future? What’s to prevent it? What must we prevent to avoid such a future? Will there be a point beyond which the possible dangers of such advances will begin to outweigh the benefits?

[sub]*NYTimes Online requires registration, but FWIW I registered nearly six years ago with no ill effects: never an email from them, and I gave them a misspelled name and have never seen evidence that they’ve sold it.[/sub]

if the machines run on solar power, whatever you do, DON’T BLOCK OUT THE SUN!

Maybe then you’ll be doing something usefull with your life, coppertop. :smiley:

As long as the sorriest-excuse for a human player (read: Me) can still beat the smartest computer at “Go”, I don’t really think we have to worry. :smiley:

My corpse being fed intravenously to the living is honorable, if nothing else. Does wonders for my self esteem. Look how useful I’ve become!

the beauty of the thing is you might be neurologically interacting within the confines of the simulation that is The Matrix without even knowing it.

I know i am.

So you know it, or you don’t?

Demise wrote:

I always wondered: If the sun was blocked out, how did the machines grow food for the humans?

tracer, as pointed out by muppetsoup on an earlier post, the dead are fed intravenously into the living.

why depend on plants if you can go back to good old cannibalism?

because you only lose 90% of the energy through eating meat.

The Matrix was saying that the computers had a perpetual motion machine(with humans) and also skimmed off energy of it.

I however don’t think that we will be able to create something better than ourselves. Its like trying to create a perfect being as a imperfect one. Now some might be better in some areas but none will be better overall.

I tried go but I lost every time to the computer… I think… I didn’t actually know the rules.

Maybe you guys can take this hijack to MSPIMS . . .

Golly, a thread welcoming little ole me.

I don’t know what to say. You guys are the best. Thank you so much.

Asmodean wrote:

Why not?

Suppose I take the DNA from one of my cells, and alter it so that it codes for a human being that is a little bit stronger than me, or a little bit smarter than me, or that ages a little bit more slowly than me. I then create a clone from this modified DNA. I will have created something that is every bit as good as me in every aspect, and is better than me in one aspect. Have I not thus created a being that is better overall?

Well, assuming you could do that, then yes. But you only supposed it. I think intelligence is the real issue. We can already make machines that are stronger and live longer than we do. But we can barely define intelligence, let alone understand the genetic underpinnings and tinker with them in a way that would result in something smarter. Maybe we’ll figure it out. Maybe we won’t. Too soon to tell in my opinion.

Lissener, I read the Bill Joy article in Wired you referenced and didn’t find it nearly as chilling as I had hoped. He poses a bunch of wouldn’t-it-be-ghastly-if scenarios, but he doesn’t provide much evidence that these things are on the immediate horizon. He does point out that the new technologies he’s worried about (robotics, genetics, and nanotech) differ from previous technologies in that they’re self replicating, and I think he’s right in believing there’s a unique danger there. As for trying to hold off the advance of science, Bill H said very eloquently in this similar thread:


“Argue with the wind.”

If we can do it, we will.

I sincerely hope we will be eventually replaced by artificial beings of our creation. Humanity is certainly not the end-all be-all of evolution.

Actually, what I hope is that we become our own more than human descendants. It’s about time we took charge of our own evolution (well, other than sheltering our unfit).