Will Enhanced Humans and AI Lead to Star Wars or Terminator?

One concept that will attract a great deal of discussion in the future is the parallel development of AI (robots) and enhanced human technology.

While both will continue for a while (how long depends on if that war Hugo de Garis predicts happens or not) but it’s important to keep in mind that they are two different things. While we will enhance ourselves with internal technology, we won’t “become” robots like the ones we will also build.

As suggested in Transcendent Man, the percentage of us that is technologically enhanced will increase over time, but I don’t feel it will ever render us un-human as our brain’s conscience will remain at the core.

Star Wars has that famous line where Obi-Wan says Darth Vader is “more machine than man.” My guess is that most would still say Vader is “human” and not “robot.”

What appears to take place in Star Wars is technological enhancement of humans only when it was needed (ie Luke got a new robot hand, but only after he was injured). The exponential growth of AIs seemed to stop or always remain under human control.

In the hands of people who have thought this through and would keep humans on top, if that’s even possible (which appears to be the scenario playing out in Kurzweil’s mind) then Kurzweil’s vision could come true. However, Kevin Kelly and de Garis warn that may not be realistic. Jerks, unfortunately, will exist in the future too.

Downloading your brain’s contents onto another computer will be possible at some point—this may render us un-human. It will from a biological standpoint, but who knows what the definition of “human” could morph into?

I feel that there will be a divide between those of biological origin and the AIs that are developed. Heck, that divide exists—even to the point of racism—in Star Wars.

I’m not sure we can know that until we actually get there and see what we can and cannot transfer. Can the aspects—our conscience and feelings—that separate one human from another and all humans from other races be boiled down to 1s and 0s? That is yet to be seen. Whether or not they can may determine if we fight Terminator or are buddies with him.


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