05 Mar Nanobots, Superhumans, and the End of Mankind
It may seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but robots replacing humans in every industry isn’t as unlikely as one may think. We’ve already seen great leaps in the use of AI various fields, including that of medicine. From nanorobots to robot-assisted surgery, there’s no denying the fact that the possibility exists.
Artificially Intelligent Nanobots and Human Health:
Within the next two decades, it is like that artificially intelligent nanomachines would be implanted into humans in order to repair and enhance the muscles, bones, and even cells of our bodies. This is according to a senior investor at the IBM Hursley Innovation Center.
These tiny robots are so small that they fit across the diameter of a single human hair—but don’t let their size fool you into thinking they can’t do much. Studies have proven that these nanobots are capable of killing cancerous cells within one minute; this was the result after they were “drilled” into cancer-affected areas.
Even now, experiments are being continuously conducted and could later move to clinical trials involving humans. It’s ray of hope for those who are suffering from cancer.
With all that in mind, this does beg the question:
Can these nanobots help make superhuman abilities possible? There are those who say that YES, it most certainly can. Not only can the potentially help create superhuman strength in people, they may even go as far as help us develop telekinesis or the ability to control things with our minds.
A crazy notion, but there is some evidence to back this up.
We all know that the use of AI nanomachines once implanted into the human body can yield amazing health and medical benefits. They will be able to repair damaged organs from a cellular level which is much less invasive compared to the methods we have today. These nanobots can also repair damaged cells and possibly, even augment them in some way.
All of that within 20 years, as reprted by John McNamara of the IBM Hursley Innovation Center. In an evidence he submitted to the House of Lords Artificial
Intelligence Committee, he considers the social, ethical, and economic implications of AI use. But that’s not all—he also mentions the possibility of humans and machines being incorporated into each other should artificial intelligence technology improve within the next couple of decades.
Sure, it’s easy to romanticize the idea—superheroes running around, no more diseases, and people dying only of natural causes. It’s almost utopian, but with that comes the darker side of things. The possibility of a dystopia. See, humans do have a tendency to become greedy and this is especially so when it comes to power. We’ve already seen how corrupt authority can ruin the state of things, now imagine the same people having superhuman abilities which can render them invincible.
Stephen Hawking’s Grim Predictions
Then there’s our tendency to become overly reliant on things that bring us convenience. Whilst superhumans are still nothing more than a concept, a lot of us are already becoming dependent on the benefits of AI and robotic tech. Even Stephen Hawking warned us of the possible implications of artificial intelligence. He predicted that humans may begin accepting the choices made by the machines as being better than our own.
Whilst we have achieved many amazing feats through technological advances, Hawking argues that what we have gained might actually be supplementing our eventual demise. He proposed that technology “overkill” can actually bring forth massive species extinction and even unbearable global warming. He knew that aggression is pretty much wired into people’s genes and that advanced technology basically adds “fangs” to it.
Destruction of the human race by a biological or nuclear war, he says, cannot be ruled out. And we’re all well aware of this fact—we live in a time and age where this has become an actual thread that we’re often wary of. We’ve seen it on the news and have had several nuclear scares within the last couple of decades. Needless to say, it is something that many people already fear.
Artificial Intelligence is either the best or the worst thing to ever happen to humankind, Hawking was once quoted as saying. By 2050, AI are expected to perform many of the intellectual tasks that humans have been handling at present. This includes:
The ability to transcribe a speech faster and better than professional transcribers
- Recognize objects in images
- Translate from one language to another with accurady
- Navigating a map of the London Underground
- Picking out a single paragraph from a collection of text in order to answer a question
- Be able to recognize emotion from mere images of faces
- Actually talk
- Recognize any emotions in a person’s speech
- Fly a drone by itself
- Navigate and drive vehicles by itself (unhindered by distance)
- Spot cancer cells in tissue slides with an accuracy that’s better than humans
- Discover new uses for different drugs
- Analyze the genetic code of DNA samples in order to detect any genomic conditions
- Easily solve the quantum state of many different particles swiftly
- Identify diabetic retinopathy which is known to cause blindness
These are just a few examples and with the continuous advancements in technology that we’re experiencing, it almost feels as if we’re hurtling into this uncertain future faster than we can really think about its possible repercussions. Progress is great. It keeps us moving, it keeps us discovering new things. It can even help us become better people—but all of that comes at a price and if we’re not careful, the cost can be significant.
We might start with harmless innovations, such as robot housekeepers or salespeople. AI doing menial jobs that people would rather avoid. Movies have conditioned us to see this concept as acceptable and even comedic. But just like Stephen Hawking’s warnings, it is a very slippery slope that can lead to us being overly dependent.
So, ask yourself, is this the future that you really want to see happen? Or are you, just like a number of other people, afraid of what it might bring about?
Fernando Azevedo is an ethical hacker author of Hackers Exposed – Discover the secret world of cybercrime