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Technology takes over

An inside look at the imminent danger of artificial life and intelligence in a progress-obsessed society.

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It’s hard to believe that a big lump of gray mucus-y flesh is the core of human thought process and complex functions of the body. Although the brain is a touchable object, the thoughts composed inside of it are not.

Recently it seems that scientists are attempting to give consciousness a physical form too, programming computers to have the problem-solving skills and thought analysis of humans. Artificial life and intelligence is taking technology down a long path of destruction.

It’s not difficult to see this generation is one of technology; it’s everywhere. According to the article from The New York Times, “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online,” the average teenager spends seven and a half hours each day using media.

An increasing amount of people are becoming reliant on these interactions with technology. From an outsider’s view looking in, it would be easy to assume that some people are emotionally closer to their technological devices than those around them. Since when did the company of wires and plastic overcome that of flesh and blood? Children who are bullied or feel unrelatable to others often resort to video games or online interaction and begin to live in a virtual world.

Since when did the company of wires and plastic overcome that of flesh and blood?”

Artificial life and intelligence is enabling this behavior, simulating the interaction between humans, yet feeding off the mind of whoever it’s communicating with by gaining knowledge about them and using it as their own much like Cleverbot (a web application that uses artificial intelligence algorithm to have conversations with humans). This is not healthy, especially with how common it’s become among the youth.

Fear has been set in more than a few minds that someone somewhere is going to build a robot companion and it won’t be such a happy ending, mainly for humankind. Movies such as “The Terminator,” “Surrogates” and “I, Robot” have shown a reason to be afraid.

Although these films are set far in the future, society is approaching the barrier where technology, in many cases, is doing a good portion of jobs in a human’s place whether it be calculating spreadsheets on Microsoft Excel or controlling machinery in factories. Some say it’s out of laziness and others say it’s simply to make lives easier. The truth is that technology is taking over the world.

The truth is that technology is taking over the world.”

Many will argue that technology is the face of the future and if the scientific know-how is available, then it should be utilized. Another argument is that the world was just fine before technology and it will be fine without it. It is no longer necessary to speak to others in person; cellphones, online messaging and emails are obviously for virtual interaction. The further mankind plunges into technology, the smaller the world gets and the more isolated people become.

Smartphones are an extremely hot device on the market, coming up with newer and more improved ways to sit on the couch every day.  “Surrogates” is a perfect example of that, using robots to interact with each other instead of being social and communicating in person. These devices are taking virtual communication to a dangerous level, making it extremely easy to be antisocial.

It’s important to recognize this before it gets out of hand and can no longer be contained. Earth is on a technological high and the only way to go from there is up, but what could possibly be next? Don’t be surprised if scientists attempt to create a robot version of themselves like in “Transcendence” (where Johnny Depp plays a dying man and attempts to live on through a computer).

Although it may seem unlikely for movies to become real life, especially the ones about computers taking over the world, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking didn’t seem too optimistic on comedian John Oliver’s new HBO show “Last Week Tonight.” Hawking mentioned that artificial intelligence could outline enhancements in itself and eventually outsmart humans. After Oliver asked why he shouldn’t be excited about fighting a robot, the answer was chilling.

“Because you would lose,” Hawking said.

This might sound terrifying because once this happens there is no going back. It’s important to realize that it will occur eventually with the way technology is progressing as well as the risks that come with creating something possessing human sentiment along with more intellectual and potentially more physical power than an actual human. Giving it the quality of human emotions will not only give it kindness, but it will also give it greed and anger with no sense of balance between them.

Artificial life would be human-like, but not quite human. It would be somewhat like a dictionary. Containing a definition of sadness, understanding what would be considered “sad” and the appropriate way to react to it and basically imitating the emotion without genuinely feeling it. Some emotions are harmless to imitate, but the way anger can be portrayed is something very different. Like Hawking said, if you fight with a robot you will lose.

So should we be worried about robots taking over the world? Probably not. However, it might be a good idea to remain cautious about it, especially if Stephen Hawking is concerned. Scientists are working constantly to try and break the barrier between technology and the human mind, but there is much that has yet to be discovered about it’s boundaries. There will be consequences for tinkering with the laws of mankind and it would be wise to take some precaution when meddling with things as delicate as human nature.

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The student news site of Emerald Ridge High School | Puyallup, Washington
Technology takes over