Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cat Sense

Did you hear that IMB Corp simulated a cat's cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, using a massive supercomputer?* 
It’s incredible.  Time goes by and I hear these little pieces of information on the radio which indicate that massive steps in technology keep occurring.  I know the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Will computers and robots actually get smarter than we are and destroy us a la “Terminator?”’ 

The news person who I first heard this from on KNX 1070 said that luckily, most of the computer scientists working on brain-like problems are familiar with the ‘computers attack mankind scenarios,” and that they are prudent about what they will let the computers do.

I hate to sound paranoid, but are you kidding?  With religious fundamentalists blowing people and things up all over the world, there is inevitably going to be an underground group of people researching how to make robots make mincemeat out of the Western world.  Bank robbers will just use smart robots to do their work.  I am all for technology moving forward as I always write in my blogs, but it’s just a little naïve to think that the misuse of robotic intelligence will always be under control.

From an Associated Press article on the subject, it seems that researchers are trying to give intelligence to computers in order to, for example, visually recognize things that are unclear, and to figure out traffic patterns and help avoid freeways from getting ripe for accidents.  In other words, things that take some interpretation of data. I’m sure that there will be amazing uses in medicine for killing cancer cells and viruses. 

However, I also think that where there is an opportunity for misuse of a new technology, there are some who will go for it.  In my opinion, this is never a reason to stop things from moving forward.  People probably thought that desktop computers and the Internet would be a bad idea back in the 1980’s, and yet, they help us all to a degree that we can’t fully describe.  But I think society is going to really have to keep an eye on those who would like to use such powerful tools to negative ends.

Maybe if we keep working on that computer-cat, we can send him after the bad guys.

*Google News - Associated Press*