PureInsight | July 26, 2004
[PureInsight.org] With each passing day we focus on the changes in science and technology. We gasp in admiration at a precise, surgical operation using laser beams (LASIK), a completely painless treatment process to achieve instant success. We are also amazed by the development of the electronic eye, a device that can transmit such highly precise and compact images to the cerebrum (brain). Newspapers headline these discoveries and humanity avidly discusses the latest technological advances and the newest inventions and products.
The writer, being involved in mechanical engineering research, notes that mechanical "vision" is a popular research topic, with interest focused on applications for automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and neural networking that are all related to major advances in the field of automation. It is apparent that such marvelous and fascinating technology has provided us with an outline of a beautiful and comfortable world future. Robots can be our servants! Nonetheless, all these technological advances point to one common denominator: humans having an easier life style would eventually lead to the degeneration of the human instinct and bodily functions.
This tendency is exceedingly dangerous. Some people with deep insights have discovered this possibility and sounded warnings. Bill Joy (3), the inventor of the operating system for the UNIX computer at Berkeley twenty years ago and later the chief scientist at Sun Microsystems Company wrote an article in the April 2000 edition of Wired magazine (Issue 8.04) entitled, "Why the future doesn't need us" that pointed out, "Our most powerful 21st-Century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology - are threatening to make humans an endangered species."(4).
A high-technology exponent putting forward such a hypothesis indicates his concern that the present humanity is relying too much on machines, which would lead to the human body's requiring to be installed with mechanical organs as they grow old. When none of the body's organs no longer function, the whole human body would be replaced with mechanical organs. By then, machine parts would finally substitute for the human body. In the past, humans' fear of technology was attributed to their not comprehending the technology well enough. It is thought that those who do not understand science are the ones who suggest that technology could lead to the extinction of the human race. Because of this no one took notice of the warnings. How many people involved in technological research in this world are as accomplished as Bill Joy? His warning cannot be ignored.
A number of scenes in films depicting the future seem quite realistic. One such example in the last few years is the well-known film The Matrix. Because humans wanted to have a comfortable life, they developed a highly intelligent computer network. Subsequently, though, the computer became too advanced and too intelligent. The world came under the control of the computer network. The humans were then imprisoned in the clutches of the computer culture, depending on the computer to provide a virtual existence. The people in the film each had a connection port at the rear of their brains. When connected to the computer network, the signals from the computer were directly transmitted to the human brain.
This illustrates to the writer an image of the pursuit getting more intense in the quest for better color, higher image quality television sets and monitors. As the development of such devices fails to satisfy human needs, would humans then connect their own brains to the computers to "enjoy" the virtual images the computer provides? This is a very real possibility, because no matter how well a display monitor can be made, the eye must process the external images before they reach the brains. There will be losses in the fidelity of the image. But if the human brain sensors [neurons, dendrites and synaptic function] were to be connected directly to the computer, the resultant display would certainly be closer to optimum. Then, by that time, the incidents shown in the film Matrix would no longer be a laughing matter. Human beings would have handed over their fate entirely to computer science and technology and be engrossed in the computer's depth of virtual reality. The human race would then degenerate to a state where the human brain remains the only human organ capable of functioning, with all the other organs atrophied and having become useless. That will leave only the human brain, which will be controlled by the computer.
(3) Bill Joy's Invention and Design: Berkeley UNIX computer Operating System, Unix Program Software vi, Sun Solaris, microprocessor architectures - SPARC, and picoJava computer language.
(4) "The Great Dangers Brought to the Human Race by the 21 Century Science and Technology" Epoch Times News Net (October 20, 2003)