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Newsletter editorial, Feb '12: Danger, Will Robinson!

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Newsletter editorial, Feb '12: Danger, Will Robinson!

Postby Dave » Wed 29 Feb 2012 12:46 GMT

This month's editorial was all about robots and artificial intelligence - the amazing developments that have been made in computer sophistication, and where it might all end up when machines can actually think for themselves.

So, where will it all end? Are we all going to be murdered in our beds by our own vacuum cleaners one day? Will robots get civil rights and the vote? Or will we all become part of a Borg-like part-droid, part-human culture?

Put your future vision goggles on 8-) and tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you!
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Postby Dave » Thu 1 Mar 2012 04:42 GMT

By a strange coincidence, I found out this morning that the guy who provided the voice for the Lost in Space robot, Dick Tufeld, died only six weeks ago in Los Angeles aged 85. RIP. :-(
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Postby Graeme » Thu 1 Mar 2012 04:59 GMT

If you could have an implant that made you faster, smarter, able to live twice as long or more, able to absorb information from numerous sources at once, wouldn't you be tempted? If there was one to translate different languages I'd maybe have a go. Where would it end I wonder, especially if hybrid human machines were then designing further hybrids. We already use implants for deafness and vision assistance, it's not a huge leap to go into other areas of the brain. Some scary thoughts there and lots of ethical questions would arise from pursuit of any optional hybrid implants. Interesting!
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Postby Dave » Thu 1 Mar 2012 05:33 GMT

You may have heard that someone's started down the cyborg track already, Graeme: Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, who as it happened received his first implants a decade ago this month. (We didn't realise this subject was going to be so topical when we chose it!)

http://www.kevinwarwick.com/

As you see, so far it's all pretty low-level stuff, with connections to the nervous system rather than implants in the brain. But you're right - it looks as if the ethical debate has started already. And if hybrids are using their mechanical improvements to help them design ever more capable hybrids, who knows how far things might go. Daleks, anyone?
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Postby ruggie » Thu 19 Apr 2012 13:35 GMT

Thanks, Dave. Some impressive progress there, and generally following a track less likely to encounter interference and blocking on grounds of ethics than many in that domain. But listen and watch his TED presentation...
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