Voltaire wrote, "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this is what happened. The artificial gods that humans did create assumed, to varying degrees, control over large swaths of the natural and human world. But, as the Enlightenment began to reveal, this was not necessarily the case--systems based on increasingly better understood scientific principles controlled the world and all those living within it.
In Kevin Kelly's Wired article, "We Are the Web," Kelly asserts that our collective involvement in the Web is feeding its intelligence, when we consider it as a single machine and the nodes within it as the interconnected neurons analogous to the human mind. By naming the things we place on the web, by contextualizing these thing with links, by asserting their importance by our degree of chattering about one thing over another, we are teaching the Internet in a way not dissimilar from the way humans learn.
We've had a lot of fun talking about technology and we're it's going this semester. And, I think, most students' view of the future is somewhere between the dystopian horror stories and the utopian dream worlds. And that's all well and good. Everyone's entitled to their opinions. For now. But no one seems to actually be preparing for the future they see coming. Oh sure, we're learning all sorts of great skills that will help us out in the next few years. But I'm talking long term here. I'm talking ROBOT ARMY.
The U.S government has made several well publicized forays into military robot technology, most recently with their armed UAV programs. Other nations are starting to follow suit, such as South Korea and India. The prospect of an all-mechanized army, coming out of some nation in the world, during my lifetime is not terribly unlikely. And, given recent events, it's entirely likely that the army will be extraordinarily advanced and really, really miserably managed.
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