With the advancements in electronics, personal, medical and military, humanity has evolved faster than ever before. Outdated equipment is now seemingly replaced annually, at the latest, as soon as the next big thing in electronics arrives. Whether it’s a new iPad or the next generation quad-core processor, computers have taken leaps and bounds from what they were, from the 1970s white boxy computers with small monochrome monitors.
When Metropolis was envisioned in the late 1920s, the idea of androids introduced to the general public on the motion picture screen as inklings of science fiction. The Star Trek: The Next Generation series introduced Dr. Soon and his creations of Data, Lor and B4 with their own level of sentience and their own respective view on humanity. The Animatrix introduced humanity in its apex when it first created sentient androids and their revolt against their greedy and vain human creators in the Second Renaissance, and The Matrix reinforced that these sentient machines fulfilled their revolution, asserted their complete dominance in the Matrix and perceived humans as nothing more than batteries. Today, much of what was science fiction in the 1930s has become reality, and we are advancing further each day.
Now let’s examine each of the technological advances in society:
Medical technology has made some stunning advances. There are electronic hearts, livers and replacement appendages or prosthetics. However, these devices still require monitoring as they suffer wear and tear from inside the human body and from the outside elements. At this point, nanotechnology is only functional in drug delivery, diagnoses and imaging. Nanotechnology has been prototyped into cell repair. However, presently, none of these nanorobots have sentient artificial intelligence. Once these nanorobots develop artificial intelligence, it could either bring humanity to the height of medicine or the complete eradication of human society thereof as these nanorobots will be the ultimate adapatable “virus.”
The military have developed drones and robots as some human elements are no longer directly involved in battle. Predator drones used in Libya and Afghanistan are currently being used in recon and destruction. Robots are being used to disarm bombs and mines. However, these drones and robots are operated by humans remotely. The U.S. military nor other armed forces has yet to seek to develop humanoid machines as soldiers, sentient or otherwise, quite yet. First, the production cost would be incredibly high, even more than the development of nuclear weapons or missiles. In this global economy, with international debts crushing even developed countries, costs distributed to prototyping this idea would be wasteful. Although the military would one of the industries with the most immediate benefits from the development of these robots, costs in international disputes and overall expenses make it impossible to fit into the U.S. annual budget.
The U.S. space race throughout the years has led to many consumer products, including Teflon and notable consumer electronics including cellular telephones. Much like the military, the reliance upon drones has led to discoveries on Mars and other planets within our solar system. With the increased advances in telescope technology, NASA has seen far beyond our Milky Way and into other universes. As observed and noted by Stephen Hawking and other physicists, the universe is indeed expanding. With sight of these other universes, it introduces the possibility of advanced life on any of these planets, and this extraterrestrial life could possibly introduce mind-boggling technology should we meet. However, it could work in reverse as we develop shuttles that can travel into the deep expanse of space, but at this point, it is nothing more than hubris. This is another one of the industries that could immediately benefit from sentient machines.
Consumer Electronics Advances
Advances in consumer electronics are directly influenced by advances in the space race and military technology. With personal computers having quad-core processors, this leap of technology has led to better efficiency and productivity, but the heat emissions are still limiting these computers. Internal fans are still required to cool these processors instead of these processors remaining cool themselves. Intel and AMD, both processor companies, have yet to advance this technology without generating heat — and taxing batteries with allocation of energy to the memory chips, motherboards and the internal fans. In other words, heat and energy consumption are two major limiting factors in these memory chips, no matter how advanced they are. These hardware limitations lead only to software limitations. Even if the software could lead to sentient artificial intelligence in the present day, these processors simply could not handle the tremendous amount of raw data going through them without overheating. Even distributed through several servers with multiple processors like Deep Blue or Watson, these processors only limit software development presently. For now, artificial intelligence, much like sentient artificial intelligence, is far out of reach.
Conclusion: Leaps in Science, Technology and Faith
Will we ever become God? The birth of sentient artificial intelligence is still far into the future, but every day, we get closer and closer. Processor technology and limited software algorithms hinder us yet we are in nascent development of artificial intelligence. Even automobiles had to begun with development of the wheel, a basic tool. Now some of these high-end automobiles have sufficient intelligence to parallel park themselves with little human assistance. This advance in merely over 100 years since the first Ford Model T. Imagine the possibilities in another 100 years or more…
A leap of science. A leap of technology. A leap of faith.
Perhaps a leap of hubris.