Arthur C. Clarke, my favorite writer, once wrote, “It is possible that we may become pets of the computers, leading pampered existences like lapdogs, but I hope that we will always retain the ability to pull the plug if we feel like it.”
Think about that for a minute, computers taking care of us as we take care of our dogs and cats. We would not have to worry about our food, drink, or our shelters. If computers ever evolved to the point where they were taking care of us, they may come to the conclusion that we are our own worst enemies. They may decide that removing our free will may be the only way to protect us as a species. I admit, these are not new thoughts, even “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov covered these thoughts. At least the movie version did, I’m not too sure about the books.
We have a long way to go before we reach that point. Yes, computers can play chess and do complicated equations, but they have a hard time navigating a room or actually understanding what a chair is and is for. Yes, progress is being made, but to make the final jump, computers may need to evolve. Silicon may not be the final stage in computers. We may need atomic computers, or even DNA computers. When we reach the next stage in the life of a computer, that’s when we may need to begin to worry. Who knew that doing things we consider easy, like walking and talking actually takes more “brain” power than chess or math. Of course, listening to politicians, you realize how much can be done with no brainpower.
What would become of us? Would we become a fat lazy species? Would we actually be happy? Would we retain the ability to pull the plug? Would we want to? Would we become as bored as the animals we keep in zoos?
Would we be neutered?