Free Essay

Loves

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By poll
Words 1293
Pages 6
Dino Chavez, 1501114
M. McKenzie
English 1302, Period 4
21 May 2011
Human versus Machine In today’s world full of exponential technological growth, it is only a matter of time until the world irreversibly changed to conform to this technological growth. The present growth and apparent future growth due in part to the rise in popularity of biomedical engineering. But what exactly is biomedical engineering and how is it causing our world to show substantial growth in technology? Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. Because it is a highly interdisciplinary field, as one (inner) field of biology, medicine, or engineering expands, so does biomedical engineering. All of this technological growth does, however, pose a question: Will the vast technological growth cause a change in mankind? The rise in popularity of biomedical engineering will lead to machine taking over mankind or human immortality and dissolution of human identity. With the rise of biomedical engineering present, machines are making their presence. Lev Grossman states: “So if computers are getting so much faster, so incredibly fast, there might conceivably come a moment when they are capable of something comparable to human intelligence.” With the incredible power that is continually contributed to computers and other machines, is there a limit to how powerful machines will become? Without a limit to the amount of memory and power imputed into machines, “there's no reason to think computers [will] stop getting more powerful.” Computers, not being limited developmentally, will continue to increase in intelligence without bound. At this rate, the computers will, without a doubt, become more intelligent than humans. “Their rate of development would also continue to increase, because they would take over their own development from their slower-thinking human creators” (Grossman online). With the continual increase of intelligence in machines, "[t]here is no question that one of the most likely things that will happen in the next [forty] years is that machine and human intelligence will come much closer together," Justin Rattner, chief technology officer of Intel stated at Intel Developer Forum (Shiels online). Rattner also noted that the “rate of technology advancements is accelerating at an exponential rate, and machines could even overtake humans in their ability to reason, in the not so distant future.” Rattner’s keynote speech included a video presentation by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil: "That machines will be more intelligent than humans is not a question of if or when it will happen. The real question is: What will it take for us to make it happen?" Kurzweil claims (Shiels online). On the other hand, rather than these technological innovations causing machine to overtake humans, the innovations have the possibility allow humans to achieve immortality. Kurzweil claims that humans may be capable of becoming immortal in as little as twenty years’ time. Through nanotechnology, an increased understanding of how the body works, understanding of genes, and computer technology, which are all accelerating at an incredible rate, human immortality is reaching a point where scientists can easily grasp it (“Keynote” online). Before humans reach a point where immortality is easily achieved, other technologies are present which have the ability to prolong life and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Although Kurzweil’s claims of fully-functional artificial organs being able to replace dysfunctional organs seem farfetched, “he reminds us that artificial pancreases and neural implants are already available.” Kurzweil asserts: “I and many other scientists now believe that in around [twenty] years we will have the means to reprogram our bodies’ stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, ageing. Then nanotechnology will let us live forever. . . Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively” (“Keynote” online). In addition to gaining the ability to be immortal, Proteus Biomedical is in the process of fully creating and marketing “smart pills” which will be able to monitor peoples’ health (Quittner online). Kurzweil also states that it may be possible, in the near future, to transplant or copy human brains and/or consciousnesses for robots, essentially making the donor immortal (Grossman online). He has made the claim that, theoretically, “we could all be cyborgs in [twenty] years” (“Keynote” online).
With these assertions, however, comes the question of human identity dissolution. Will all these technological innovations turn humans into machines (cyborgs)? Or will being a cyborg be the equivalent of being human? Will these innovations lead to total dissolution of human identity as humans lose what essentially makes them human? By technology closing the bridge between humans and machines, it is completely plausible that humans will lose their identities and become one with machines. Kurzweil asserts that humans will become machines: “If we want to go into virtual-reality mode, nanobots will shut down brain signals and take us wherever we want to go. Virtual sex will become commonplace. And in our daily lives, hologram like figures will pop in our brain to explain what is happening. . . So we can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs” (“Keynote” online). This world will be a world where humans and machines will stand hand-in-hand, where both will essentially be the other. With the ever-expanding technology humans have attained and will continue to attain through the rise in popularity of biomedical engineering, the human race will be inevitably changed as machines may reach a point where they will be able to overtake humans, humans may achieve immortal status, and the dissolution of human identity may be apparent, as the bridge between humans and machines becomes nonexistent. Works Cited
Baker, Billy. "The Magic Touch." PopSci. Popular Science, 03 Mar 2006. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2006-03/magic-touch>.
"Collective Consciousness : implications for Immortality and Spiritual Freedom." Engineuring. WordPress.com, 23 Feb 2011. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://engineuring.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/collective-consciousness-implications-for-immortality-and-spiritual-freedom/>.
Fuchs, Ph.D., Victor R. "New Priorities for Future Biomedical Innovations." New England Journal of Medicine 363.8 (2010): n. pag. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://healthpolicyandreform.nejm.org/?p=11928>.
Grossman, Lev. "2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal." Time online 10 Feb 2011: 1-5. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2048138,00.html>.
"Keynote speaker and Scientist Ray Kurzweil says we are only 20 years away from human immortality."Biomedical Nanotechnology. Biomedical Nanotechnology, 30 May 2010. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://nanotechdirectory.com/tag/immortality/>.
Koch, Cristof, and Giulio Tononi. "Can Machines Be Conscious?." IEEE Spectrum. IEEE, Jun 2008. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/imaging/can-machines-be-conscious/0>.
"Mapping the Brain with Supercomputers." eGFI. N.p., 20 Jan 2011. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://students.egfi-k12.org/mapping-the-brain-with-supercomputers/>.
"New Biomedical Innovation: World’s First Whole-Body Integrated MR-PET System." The Rohan Aurora. The Rohan Aurora, n.d. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://therohanaurora.com/new-biomedical-innovation-worlds-first-whole-body-integrated-mr-pet-system/>.
"New Biomedical Microdevice Detects Cancer Faster & With Less Pain." The Rohan Aurora. The Rohan Aurora, n.d. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://therohanaurora.com/new-biomedical-microdevice-detects-cancer-faster-with-less-pain/>.
Quittner, Josh. "Proteus Biomedical." Time online 04 Dec 2008: n. pag. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1864391_1864390_1864385,00.html>.
Shiels, Maggie. "The dawn of intelligent machines."BBC News. BBC, 23 Aug 2008. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7575605.stm>.

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