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Enough Arnold? Cognitive Technology and the Future of Humanity

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Enough Arnold? Cognitive Technology and the Future of Humanity. Minds and Machines. The Coming of the Augments.

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Presentation Transcript
the coming of the augments
The Coming of the Augments
  • “GNR” technology (genetic engineering, nanotechnology, robotics technology) may soon reach the point where humans will have the ability to fundamentally change the nature of the human species.
  • TWO (or more) VARIETIES OF PERSONS MIGHT COME TO EXIST:
  • HUMANS -- AUGMENTS
some worries
Some Worries
  • Could lead to destructive techno-race
    • Rifts in society
      • Horizontal: ‘techno-poor’ vs ‘techno-rich’
      • Vertical: generational gap
    • Today’s technology is outdated tomorrow
      • … and the pace of ‘progress’ will only accelerate
    • Our children become a commodity / product
      • Designer Babies
      • ‘Playing God’
further worries
Further Worries
  • Loss of Free Will
    • Parents ‘designed’ us
  • Loss of Personal Identity
    • ‘Specs’ are known: Loss of self-exploration, self-motivation, or self-fulfillment
  • Maybe free will and personal identity are an illusion
    • Right now I don’t worry about that
    • But new technology may throw this in our face
the singularity
The Singularity
  • Some people believe that the pace of technological change will reach such a rate that we have to become cyborgs to even make sense of this new technology
    • If we are able to create a being that’s smarter than us, imagine what that being could create
  • Best-known proponent: Ray Kurzweil
    • In “The Singularity is Near”, he predicts this will happen somewhere mid 21st century
three questions bound together1
Three Questions Bound Together
  • Will implies Can – If we will stop it, then that must mean we can
  • Can does-not-implyOught- If we can stop it, does that mean we should? And if we cannot, does that mean we should not?
    • Those are Ought-from-Is fallacies!
    • Maybe doom is inevitable
  • Subtle variant: if we cannot stop it, should we therefore not try and stop it?
three questions bound together2
Three Questions Bound Together
  • S: We should stop the “Age of Augments” from coming into being
  • C: We can stop the “Age of Augments” from coming into being
  • W: We will stop the “Age of Augments” from coming into being
should we can we will we stop the age of augments
Should we … Can we … Will we …Stop the “Age of Augments”?

S C W T TTTT F T F T T F F

F T T

F T F

F F T F FF

Which combination is

the “correct one?”

related questions
Related Questions:
  • The “Theoretical Enough” Questions:
    • Is there ever a point beyond which technological progress no longer implies:
      • Individual/Personal progress
      • Societal progress
      • Species progress
related questions1
Related Questions:
  • The “Species” Questions:
  • Do we have the RIGHT to ensure that we remain the dominant species on Earth?
  • Do we have the OBLIGATION to ensure that we remain the dominant species?
  • If a new and superior species of Augments comes into being, do humans have the RIGHT to remain as a (non-dominant) species?
related questions2
Related Questions:
  • The “No Child Left Behind” Question:
    • Assume a civilization of Augments becomes the dominant civilization on Earth
  • Should you as a parent be morally OBLIGATED to have your child undergo augmentation (become an augment) to ensure that she/he will be able to compete successfully with her/his peers?
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