Human v2.0

2006, Technology  -   85 Comments

Human v2.0Meet the scientific prophets who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human - a human v2.0.

It's predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionise humanity - we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely.

Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to destructive ultra intelligent machines.

One thing they all agree on is that the coming of this moment - and whatever it brings - is inevitable.

Ratings: 8.31/10from 26 users.

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85 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Richard Neva

    Only God can make a man! This is all hokum!

    1. Cameron Webb

      calm down mate its not a big deal.

  2. Raphael Han

    very interesting. It is always amazing to see how technology can develop

  3. V.L.S Kira

    Anyone can fing subtitles? I didn't find anything

  4. frabhunt

    Actually, science still has little understanding of the unconscious and to "say" our brain controls it and the heart has no role is a rude assumption

  5. cosmiccryer

    Great. Haven't we already got big and bossy enough brains? An even bigger brain, with no possibility of connection to heart? That ought to work out just fine..NOT! The heart is what makes us human and tells us the difference between right and wrong. Dumasses!

    1. Michael J Descoteau

      Actually, the heart is a muscle that simply pumps blood throughout our circulatory system. It has no connection to our humanity. The brain controls our active and inactive behaviors. The decisions we make using our brain determine our humanity. Dumbass...

    2. Alexander Nietzsche

      "Dumbass" is better defined by a person who takes a literal interpretation over a theoretical one without providing flexibility in understanding a malleable concept. Decisions made by the "heart" can effectively mean that a human rationalizes with a value-based judgement system rather than a logical one. What cosmiccryer was referring to was the way humans rationalize based on humanistic objective rather than binary, logic-based life.

    3. ???

      Actually 60- 65 percent of the cells contained in the heart are neural cells, the same cells that are found in the brain. The heart is the major endocrine glandular structure of the body, producing hormones which have a huge effect on our body, brains and most importantly, minds. The heart also produces an electromagnetic field identical to that of the earth and vastly larger than that produced by the brain. This is all from a paper by Joseph Pearce who believes that accessing the intelligence of the heart may hold the key to transcendence, and also the cultural violence that threatens to destroy our world today.

    4. Hasnain Virk

      What ??????????????????? ... Heart does not have any neural cells !!!! .. Neurons are only present in brain .. heart cells are just horizontal and vertical striped tissues , like muscle cells ..

    5. Hrvoje Bai?

      human stupidity never fails to shock me

  6. Joe

    The Final frontier, Heaven on earth.

  7. David Sciortino

    what struck me most was when it was said you would need a football field of these supercomputers to represent the human brain . hmm. that is not at all impossible with govt funds. and probably is being tested as we speak

  8. jeffosirius

    imagine creating a super computer, this computer has the power of individual thought, and quantum scenario process, therefore this computer study's its environment and see,s humans as a long term danger therefore it decides to protect itself by for example sending a virus to hundreds of nuke silos all around the globe simultaneously launching all... then what you giggling bunch of stupid scientists...
    also i find it obvious that the monkeys face was not shown therefore i question what effect the monkeys mind is in, maybe its gone mad, maybe every mind in every animal/human/mammal/insect has a defense mechanism against this type of probing this type of force control.
    i would never create this type of Frankenstein technology.

    1. UHAX

      Nuclear Silos are not connected to any other systems; the scientists decided that would be a bad idea before they were ever built. No Nuclear launch systems, in any country, are connected to an external network. This is called a 'closed circuit’ the same thing applies to major utility networks, such as power, water and gas. Those stupid scientists you are referring to thought about those very basic problems a long time ago.

    2. Ben Stone

      The stationary "super computer" should foretell that without humans it would die.. go offline.. have a circuit or board go bad..

      or.. realize that.. humans haven't invented perpetual energy. so in turn, instead of "protecting" itself.. it would destroy it..

      hmmmm a technological savior maybe named.. Chipsus?

  9. Mona l

    Great topic. Bad effects, horrible drama, coverage of elements to do with AI and the Singularity are hopeless efforts.

    Sorry, Horizon. You failed. This needs to be re-done by BBC4.

  10. Khaled Aouabdia

    the day of the machine rising is coming, and no man can stop it
    it is a question of time.

  11. Alien

    If this is true then I may actually live long enough to be able to download my consciousness into the internet like I've always wanted! The future is exciting!

    1. Gordie Adams

      you might be a nerd.

  12. Yaaden Yadehe

    What humain don't understand is that if we create something more intelligent than we are , it is the end of owr liberty and at that time we can not control on it. In other words, we will be the slaves of owr creations. So keep going to invent owr future BOSS.

  13. malachiah

    I believe that we should be fine as long as we don't give machines to have free will and we are in charge of there every action, that way people can be blamed and dealt with, but if it's a machine that is in control, then there will be no way for any human to stop it. So as long as they don't have free will I would imagine that it would be fine, yes there would be bad things about it, just like with fire, fire can be used to kill, but it can also be used for amazing things that we would never have known existed and for the better of humanity. Great documentary if it wasn't aimed to make people fear the amazing abilities that we will have from this, yes there will be bad things, but there was also bad things with EVERYTHING ever invented, so as long as we take precautions we will be fine. :). God bless.

  14. Harry Hutton

    Human beings have used technology to make themselves better, greater and more powerful ever since cavemen played with fire... and this fire has also been used for harm.
    The same is true with modern innovations. The requirement for ethical guidelines and new moral guidelines for technology is as present as ever, as well as safety and security precautions for new ideas.
    The picture painted by the dark bristles of this film however... negative emotional devices such as the rather odd whispering children in the woods, dischording soundtracks, the use of lighting, choice of narrator words etc... seems somewhat aimed to set us into blind panic and intolerance, rather than developing a clear vision of the technologies we may have access to in the future, with their real potentials for medicine and development of ourselves for good.

    A misinformative documentary, although serving to highlight some illogical fears and paranoia of ourselves as humans. Hugo de Garis, I think you're a little caught up inside your own internal fantasy movie...
    There actually are genuine concerns of future technologies, but this film did not address them, nor did it address its own fearmongering constructively, rather focusing on the emotional side, causing a caustic response in many viewers towards technology. Ironic indeed that many are enjoying this on the internet!

    Cast aside fear. The future is what we make it.
    P.S. absolutely shocking that the bbc aired this.

  15. GoughLewis

    Television is reality, and reality is less than television. After a while, I started hallucinating, and developed a tumor. I believe the visions caused the tumor, and not the other way around. I believe that the growth in my head-this head-this one right here. I think that it is not really a tumor... not an uncontrolled, undirected little bubbling pot of flesh... but that it is in fact a new organ... a new part of the brain. I am the Video Word made Flesh. After all, there is nothing real outside our perception of reality, is there?

    Death to Videodrome! Long live The New flesh!

  16. yurka yurka

    Flesh is a liability, only Machine truly has purpose!

    1. Cameron Webb

      Thats a tad immature

  17. de22lano

    I AM, from the future..

    1. jeffosirius

      well then it must be crap if your back here...

  18. Ba RoccoBama

    and obviously, we should stop treating each other as such, as well.

  19. Ba RoccoBama

    is it too early to call for equal rights? for computers?? being part human, they should be treated with our same worth.....not as slaves.

  20. Alexander Svenson

    Im sorry but even an undergrad can see that we need more than a powerful serial computer and crude neuroscience (crude in the face of the awesome complexity of the brain and its capabilities) to reach the point of creating consciousness and downloading it. It will/might happen but, these visionaries have lost sight of reality. We do need them though (crap soundtrack)

  21. Albert Pina El

    It will always start out as if they are trying to help man kind but as well all know this is pure evil thinking this will effect all our children hence forth man is detetmined to destroy himself .

  22. Steve Kublalsingh

    Good doc. A bit dramatic but the information was food for thought. Only disappointing thing was that nano tech was not mentioned at all.

  23. Hexotica

    I didn't appreciate the drama (especially the kids whispering in the woods) in this doco, but I found it very interesting. I think a few of the fearful scientists in it have geeked out a bit too much and are lost in their own fantasy worlds...and that guy with the laugh just creeped me out!

  24. T

    So what we do with this? lets party...muhwahwahwahwa

  25. Drie

    Im a bit on the fence on the whole debate and here is why:
    Firstly, I feel that those who are arguing that computers can't think and can't feel etc. are only looking at the computers that we have around us now! But I think this is due to two main issues:

    1- Hardware
    2- Software

    Currently, computers have nowhere near the computational capabilities as us since their hardware is not as good. But with the advancement of hardware and certainly with quantum computing this will be possible probably within 20 years but if it takes even 50 years its still going to happen.
    However, I think the biggest issue with AI is not the hardware but the software (the code). We haven't yet sat down and tried to code a computer to think the way we think. Why would we before? Computers were seen just as tools. But now as we look forward and people start to spend their time on this we will develop software that models human thinking. Now we have to realize that up until now all software is usually set in what it does. But imagine software that could rewrite itself, that could optimize itself for its own environment. And finally, we have to realize that new programming languages might need to be developed first. I mean Imagine doing physics before Newton came around. It wasn't that the possibility of doing these calculations wasn't there, it was just that nobody had invented the proper tools (calculus) to analyze the problem.

    Now the other side is that even if we build computers that can think like us and feel through the necessary feedback loops etc. is that all we are? What about, as someone mentioned, the eureka moments? The creative insights? Where do they come from? Now some people may argue that we are just physical beings and nothing else. But how well then do we understand our physical world. If, for example, string theory is right and there many more dimensions than we aren't aware of, but maybe our brain has capabilities to interact through these dimensions that we cant even perceive. How then will we program that into a computer?

  26. ron

    ..." i love apples"...

  27. yiannis

    A positronic brain is not out of reach of science. Self awareness is not restricted to carbon based life forms. I believe we will eventually build an artificial brain that by all definitions will be a sentient being!

  28. Thompson

    Self Evolving Software leads to self evolving/building hardware. Computers will gain self awareness, its the nature of life and thats what any growing energy system is: alive.

  29. Anti Dantas

    great discussion!

  30. blinds

    these people have a SICK God complex. If these robots really do achieve intelligence "trillions of times greater than our brains" I am truly scared for our existence....especially since the people pulling the strings in this type of research are usually doing it to achieve diabolical gains....i.e. military. Are we looking forward to irobot-like conditions in the next couple of decades? Shit like this makes me not want to have children I swear. There are way too many crooked people cooking up ways to rule and ultimately destroy humanity/the planet.

  31. Pathological euphoria

    My main question is what will it cost to fill the earth with robots? (When I say robots I'm not talking the walking kind) I read recently that 40% of the world doesn't have potable drinking water and around the same percent have never spoken on a cell phone. Go figure.

  32. crs

    Just wanted to throw it out there... great discussions btw. A video I watched recently,on top doc (i want to say it was in the technocalypse series)... displayed an experiment that I thought was quite a profound. I think it was an experiment at MIT where they built very simple robots all differnent, but with mobile ability. They programmed one command, which was to move to a goal object. They turned them on and let them go... they flopped around helplessly for awhile but eventually began to move in a coordinated manner. By deduction, they learned the most effective way to reach the goal object.

    I agree that computer's will not achieve "conciousness", however I think learning is inevitable.

    As the computer intelligence field progresses, I would not be suprised to see an unexpected leap in computer evolution.

  33. andy

    this is so disgusting ..
    i want to put electrodes in these scientists brains and put them in a round room with a knife each ..and give me the controller lets see how you like that.
    Were all doomed ..lord please just kill me right now!!!!

  34. saiello

    Horizon is crap. Never used to be. It is now. Panders to lowest common denominator. Anyhoo...

    People are banging on about different methods to determine whether something can be truely intelligent, i.e. whether a machine can ever have emotions or be truely creative and how to measure these attributes. This is the wrong angle of attack. Today, the results of research into AI is so pathetic it is hardly worth mentioning. I have no doubt though that sometime in the far future there will exist machines that can emulate humans perfectly. The one question we should be asking is: "Can we ever trust a machine in the same way we can a human?". If we decide we can trust a machine, this will be the mark of human intelligence and will be a turning point for humanity if it ever happens.

    Humans trust other humans because of the way we interact with eachother. We trust other peoples judgements because they too are flesh and bone and have a history of growing up in the same environment, subject to the same stimuli and have gone through the same rites of passage, i.e. we trust other humans because they are like ourselves. 1000 years into the future, imagine machines that can perfectly emulate feelings, thoughts and actions indistinguishable from a human being. The question for those people once again will be: "do you trust it?". Would you entrust such a machine with your life? Whether you do or not will be an individual choice and won't be because the factory sticker on it says 'intelligent - passed'. For this reason, I do not believe that machines will ever have the mark of intelligence bestowed upon them by humans, simply because there will be no definitive test other than a personal one.

  35. Skye-hook

    I agree with Sam & Trivial. Everyone seeing this also needs to watch In It's Image here on topdocs! The Creation Machine seems to be pretty much smarter than we are already! It has INVENTED stuff that's in our world already! And they DO want to merge human consciousness into machines like that! They say we have no right to deny people who want to do it the chance to be immortal. I left a rather too-long comment there. lol:) My worst thought about it all is-imagine- Geo.W.Bush & his buddies becoming immortal in an electronic brain that's much, much smarter than any other humans. Almost gave me heart-failure! Combine them with a bunch of other power-mad & money-mad beasts, and think about THAT for awhile. You think they'll allow everyone to do it? lol:) Yeh, right. You think they'll then allow the worlds population to triple soon? rofl I think not. And they think it's inevitable to someday have this kind of human in a smart machine body?? Maybe.
    - An exaggeration but a funny visual- maybe there are whole ancient civilizations living in super-computer nano-tube bodies in a lil stone box in the vaults at the Vatican. lol:)
    Maybe all this technology is the natural end to all higher technology civilizations. Holy cats!
    Well, at least we'll know KINDOF what's going on. Even if it's useless to know.
    Anyway, watch In It's Image here on topdocs!

  36. TonyH

    PS. I didn't address the rest of Rorix's points because I generally agree with them; at least at this state in technology, my example was also just meant to say that on a basic level computers can do this easily, obviously many can program at a more advanced level than myself, and produce more amazing results.

    My parents informed me today of a radio interview on a Canadian radio station (Leaning towards CBC), with a robot. They said it screwed up approx. 20% of questions, and said uhm a lot, but that it was actually pretty good. I'll try to track down the name of that program unless someone finds it before me.


  37. Potter

    There is so much to overcome,when considering any machine to have the ability to equal or better that of humans.Sure they can out process and recall precised detailed data,which we easily forget,but machines will for a long while yet still require man to start and maintain its progress.We grow our brains,each cell falls into its assigned place without any thinking at all.Having said that even with restrictions of sorts.Intelligent developing machines are a reality.

  38. Kuko

    Hi guys :) Absolutely great discusion, after reading your coments I even cant summarize my own thoughts and dont know to whom to react first :)
    If you think of it, the human progress has become uncontrolably fast, we develop new technologies without stoping to think of their possible hazards which might be huge or we greatly underestimate them and I think that this is gonna destroy our kind. You cant predict what could happen when developing such a technology as AI is and I am convinced that we will not be prepared for what could happen as we always arent because of our human ignorance.
    So lets hope for the opposite...

  39. Rob

    ...daisy, daisy give me your answer do .. . . .

  40. Simon

    What is the fundamental goal of humanity? Survival?
    If that be so we need to devise a way of getting off this planet, which has a finite lifespan - anything from tomorrow to a billion-plus years. Thing is we don't know how long we have left.
    In order to do that we need to do a lot of things; extend our own lifespans to endure long periods of travel in space might be one, re-engineering our DNA to protect our bodies against gamma radiation and a myriad of other nasty stuff that exists out there could be another. Perhaps even storing our conscious minds into machines so that we might be resurrected into clones of our original biological bodies after long journeys to whatever our new destination planet(s) might be. Whatever, the solutions are limited only by our imaginations.
    Thing is we are going to need a whole heap of help to achieve these things and super-computers, in whatever forms we evolve them, are going to be, if not essential to that goal, then certainly very helpful.
    Who is to say that a human-machine hybrid is not the next stage of our evolution? If you believe Darwin, have we not evolved from another species already? If you don't believe Darwin, then I'm assuming you subscribe to the theory that species do not become more intelligent over time, which is another reason we will need superior intelligence tools to assist us.
    Anyway great debates, fantastic site (thanks Vlatko, I'm totally hooked) and despite the myriad of ethical and moral debates that will surround this topic, I can't help but feel a certain inevitability about us moving down this path. Let's hope we are evolved sufficiently to make the wise choices that lie ahead.

    PS: all this pre-supposes that Moore's Law hasn't run its course. As I understand it copper circuits have become so stretched that they can not be miniaturised any further. Anyone have any thoughts on how Moore's Law might continue ... chips made from biological material perhaps?

  41. greg

    I don't think it will be an us(humans) verse them (computers) problem; we will be the one of the same.

  42. Trivial

    Ofcourse machines can surpass all human abilities. Humans are built based of laws of nature its easy to copy all the abilities and enchanse them. Human race will be dead in 100 years, machines will try to fullfill purpose of life. Purpose of life is to search energy and use it efficently. Purpose of life is negentropy.

  43. Ordersomepizza

    Sure machines may never attain what it means to be alive and self aware, but they can be programmed to behave in a certain way. That danger is very real. Will there be a robot that hates humans? No. Will there be a robot that kills humans? Probably. That is not an impossibility.

  44. sam

    Rorix i have to disagree with completely , computers learn everything and they are programmed like we are, it's just that so far we have not programmed computers to be able to think, we have programed to do something we need such as a task or an order, the amazing thing about software is that it's just like a human brains it can learn anything, even what seems complex ,such as thinking or free can be thought
    you say in ur example that a computer cannot learn the that a crow is black, that is absulutly wrong,
    when you were a baby did you know what "black" was , no your mom had to teach you and you recorded that and learned overtime by observing with your eyes that that color is black, computers can use cameras to distiguish colors ,shapes, and now with even more advance software they can detect faces and streets just like we do so anything cannot be thought.

  45. Kyle Gee

    Computer technology is probably at a point now to duplicate the human brain. It is not out lack of technology, it is our lack of understanding of the brain. After all we do not think in 1's and 0's.

  46. Ddub

    We should be so lucky to be replaced by computers. Ones that could self replicate, innovate, and prioritize. For they would undoubtedly conquer some of our deepest most yearnings which we as humans may never be capable of doing I.E. traveling to the distant most stars in the farthest galaxy's. And, while they would travel alone, carry our legacy.

    Not my only belief just one of my ideas.

  47. Ordersomepizza

    Will machines ever take over and become the dominant force on the planet? No. Will advanced machines get a malfunction and kill a bunch of people by accident before being shut down? Probably. Happens today.

  48. Yavanna

    great doc and discussions

  49. Leon

    I'd like to make a point that we are the computers. We are the machines. In other words, they are an extended phenotype. They are simply extensions of us outside our own bodies. All machines are this. We are a tool using species. That does not make the tool another species. Any consciousness we reproduce is only our own, mimicked. Any conscious intent will be human. That can certainly be as nasty as we could ever wish for. What we are really scared of here is ourselves.

    But these guys seem to like their toys. Really cool and amusing pastimes, right boys, and the university system funds it. Of course the powers that be like this stuff, as it feeds their megalomania.

    I couldn't help but think of all the suffering people on this planet, how even a small portion of the resources devoted to these parlor games might help so many. Imagine diversion of even a portion of defense research spending, used with a little wisdom without avarice. Water, food, decent housing and education....

    I agree that the documentary was over-produced and sensationalized. It's made to sell soap, of course. Fundamentally I think the whole argument is fallacious and a bit silly. We should be focusing on real concerns and real problems, chief among them likely the fact they we don't focus on real concerns and real problems, even these "smart" guys.

    Same old same old.

  50. Ben

    Consciousness has been proved to be just a specific pattern of electrical signals in our brains. Our brian cells fire signals at such a rate in a sequence that this in turn generates our state of consciousness or awareness (we are just animals after all, we've just developed a high level of intelligence) if mapped properly scientists know there is no reason why this map can't be emulated via circuitry.

    Our belief that our Body and Spirit are separate entities ( although we all feel they are ) may not be the case according to the latest research.

    I am not saying this is correct or my belief but, I think its an interesting idea that should be put out there. After all these documentaries are here to make us think and evaluate ourselves.

    What do you think?

  51. Sergei

    Hi guys!
    Personally for me, the idea that "computers will surpass humans" rises one question:
    What is the criterion?

    Computational power? - yes, it's possible to create a computer that will recognize patterns faster than a human brain.
    Military power? - yes, we can create a computer that will destroy all humans on the Earth.
    Self-reproduction? - yes, again! It's possible to create a robot that will produce other robots from raw materials.

    But will they be alive?
    We are now trying to build supercomputers by copying our brain. It's difficult to believe that we can build an appropriate copy without thorough understanding of it. And it's beyond any doubts that we are far from understanding our brain, our soul, and life.
    I doubt that we will surpass "our creators" (Nature, God, Universe etc. I respect all these theories) in creating new life.

    P.S. It's so naive to think that one (a human one:) knows how the Universe works.

  52. Peegee

    Its funny to see that many of the posters here seem to anthropomorphise the computer. First off Computers don't care about anything, neither a purpose in life or their own preservation. Computers just don't attach a value to things like humans do. Therefore, they do not give a damn about conquering the world or saving it from the horribly immoral humans!

    So a computer has no desires or emotions and no instinct to live or reproduce. You could ofcourse try to program these, but clearly that would be a pretty stupid thing to do with the computer that handles your nuclear missiles... (grumpy missile silo == bad idea)

    An interesting question remains though, when would a computer be 'conscious'? This question may force us to rethink our own identity. We may be able to create a computer that can prove its consciousness/existence to itself and the world as well as any human could (which surprisingly, isnt really that well). But when we know that this consciousness is made up of nothing more than a bunch of logical operations performed on a large collection of data, then what does that potentially say about us?

  53. shoalinagent

    Simular debates have been had through the ages, with any advancement in technology or science or just thought, there are those who hold reservations and cling to the past. Much like Einstein who may have been the greatest thinker of all time, refused to accept the unpredictibilities of modern science. Of course our technology is capable of surpassing us. It already has in terms of speed with respect to calculations. Lets bear in mind we are all interfacing with our creations making this very discussion possible. WE exist, therefore WE can be created. If not by binary programming than certainly by other methods, it is irrational to propose that consciouss beings cannnot be created, when something as simple as forgeting to put on a 'glove' creates consciousness. Fear is what kept us from progressing for so long, is the world really so bad today? Yeah so maybe people are zombies sitting in front of facebook and the like missing out on simple pleasures outdoors. Its still better than salvaging meat, and warring with other tribes just to survive. I am a chronic back pain sufferrer, if there is a possibility that I can interface with a machine and have full mobility with no pain then wire me up lads!! Because playing with my children without the restrictions I currently have is far more important than fear of what essentially does not yet exist or pose a threat. And might I add this site is brilliant, no more waiting around for a decent doco to appear on cable!! Isnt technology beaut? lol.

  54. sadhikar

    Most of the arguments here has revolved around the fact that if AI will ever have "consciousness"?.But i believe this subject wouldn't remain elusive to human-beings forever. Given the fact that human-brains are something that we cannot comprehend or understand has become obsolete now.Scientist will penetrate the brain of the baby with electrodes and try to understand how it evolves or develop the ability to detect right and wrong. When they have achieve this feat, they will apply that with the supercomputers and this would finally open the Pandora's box of troubles. To understand this, one would just have to look at the movie "2001: A space Odyssey". While we tend to contend that the machines will be always at the will of human beings, i think this is a dangerously naive thinking. If the machines only develop the ability to like or dislike things that would lead to dangerous repercussions. What if the machine think it's wrong from the part of the human-beings to enslave them and make them do the things against their will. This could certainly ticked 'it' off and 'it' could develop a "grand plan" to destroy the human-civilization. While this may sound a far-fetched idea and utterly impossible but as a conscious human-being one would also want to put aside the fact that "anything is possible". While this mind-bothering thing may not happen now but this could be the reality in the year 4000 or beyond/earlier than that. I guess we are just selfish to think only for our generations. I bet the scientist who are uncovering the brains and those working to build the super-quantum computers are just-working to get the Nobel-prize or some fame while contending the fact if anything wrong is to happen he/she wouldn't be here then. I am happy for the fact that Science has developed so many things that wouldn't be possible if it weren't there, but as a self-conscious human-being i am equally concerned about the life of the future generations.

  55. Anthony P

    I dont think you guys are thinking about how big a jump it is from unconsciousness to consciousness it took us hundreds of thousand of years of evolution for humans to develop a rational thinking species and you guy think a computer will surpass us in 20 years and of course murder us all. take a step back and think about what your saying. Your saying that in 20 years human being intelligence will surpass there creator, become smarter than the very system that created us. Humanities biggest problem is in this very argument. We think were GODS humans have no idea that we are like birds, bees, plants, fish, insects, etc we think that we are beyond or greater than the system that created us.We are a cog in a machine. a steering wheel in a prius cant make a hovercraft. You guys just sound silly a computer will never surpass us. when we eventually become extinct to will be because of homo-superior not some reject fax-machine from a matrix film. serious and love this site and i know you guys are smarter than to believe this Star Trek supernerd conspiracy crap.

  56. erick

    computers are better than human beings: computers can't hurt annimals by itselves

  57. hmm

    human vsn2.0 better not run on windows..or else I'll be real disappointed!

  58. Andrew

    That guy at 39:56 sounds like a maniac :o

  59. Naso Sipsi

    That was awesome! and I'll I will say is this. There was a time when the universe started with a single hydrogen atom and some motion. Look where we are now. The possibilities are endless.

  60. David

    I didn't like the documentary, it's very simplistic and quite dramatic. Especially the cheap asian-horror-flick connotations with the whispering girl.

    I do strongly recommend reading Kurzweil's book The Singularity is Near. Eric Drexler's book Engines of Creation might be a good read, too.

    There's a lot of debate of whether Strong AI can be indeed a reality. We already have functional AI. Kevin Kelley of Wired Magazine thinks we can't, but most of us do. It's just a matter of time before the Turing Test is completed. And we can't really stop technology. But we can adapt to it and regulate to it. I think for all it's doomsday scenarios, nuclear weapons have shown we can handle very, very dangerous entities. Why shouldn't we be able to cope with Stong AI? In fact, it might be better if the Strong AI copes with us, instead. Considering how aggressive we are as a species. We could need a tone-down and a harmonisation.

  61. Vlatko

    Thanks Cliff.

    1. Omar Molina Pinto

      thanks again!

  62. Cliff

    Awesome. I really love to see how many intelligent, heated but civil discussions go on here.

    All hail Vlatko for creating one of the greatest sites on the internet! :)

  63. Rorix

    While I agree that computers that are self-aware and can think may be created sometime in the future, I don't think it will happen anytime soon. Conciousness is a problem that has been troubling philosophers and scientists since time immemorial. Before anyone can create a self-aware machine, science must discover the secret to our own self-awareness.

    I would also like to stress the comprehension problem. While a computer may soon be able to use deductive logic, it must also be able to understand a concept to be able to think. A good example of this problem is the 'Deep Blue' supercomputer. While Deep Blue plays a good game of chess, it doesn't really know anything about the game. It doesn't know what a knight or a rook is, it has no idea that chess even exists. Like any computer, it's essentially a giant calculator.

    What about innovation? The mechanisms in the brain responsible for imagination and creativity are still not understood (though there are many theories on the subject).
    Innovation is absolutely essential for technological advancement, could a computer have a 'Eureka!' moment?

    My basic argument is this:
    While computers have become very powerful very quickly, every computer ever created has been basically the same. All a computer does is manipulate numbers. Nowadays they can do it on a massve scale, but computers haven't really become 'smarter' in any meaningful way - human beings have become better at telling them how to manipulate ones and zeroes.

  64. Der Oberst


    This is a great discussion :).

    I'd like to add my 2 cents:

    Intelligence....... Intelligence....... Intelligence.......
    Earths creatures have developed intelligence for a single purpose which is to survive/endure the struggle for existence.

    Homo Sapiens Sapiens, although it is not the fastest or strongest or biggest or most plentiful being on earth has its place on the very top of the food chain, dominating the whole planet,everywhere, primarily because it is (by far) the most intelligent of all.

    If we were to create a "true" AI, with this I mean an intelligence capable of learning etc.,improving i.e evolving autonomously, things would go their logically consequent way. It would control/enslave or annihilate us, just as we have controlled/enslaved/annihilated all other beings on this planet that have been in our way.

    I believe that we should not advance in such fields, its too dangerous.

    Only Gods should give birth to Gods.
    Imperfect beings such as man can only give birth to abominations.

    Best Regards,
    Der Oberst

  65. Jonathan R

    I'm definitely with Ray Kurzweil on this topic... In rorix's general statement 'Computers cant think' his example is mostly referring to the human ability for pattern recognition. An ability that your average PC or Mac is not phenomenal at yet. However if you research the topic you will find that there have been huge advances in 'computers that think' using advanced pattern recognition & reaction software. For example Ray's device that reads for the blind

  66. CMcF

    We are bio-organic machines nothing more. We like to think of ourselves as some sort of special creature, the paragon of creation/evolution if you will and we find it difficult for us to conceptualize something above ourselves that isn't a God. I on the other hand believe that we are just another stop in the road and that somewhere down the line something more advanced will come along if it hasn't already.

    If we have developed conciousness I see no logical reason to suppose that machines that we are building based on how the Brain works will not eventually become brain-like. Think about how fast technology evolves. They are saying that by 2029 we'll have this technology, that's 20 years away. Think of what the world was like 20 years ago and then consider that we are developing new and more powerful technologies at exponentially faster rates.

    The important point here is that "we" (humans) are attempting to develope these new technologies, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but there has not been too much that once we have set our minds to it we have not been able to accomplish. Fire, tools, civilization, weapons of mass destruction, lasers, exploration, flight, space travel. If we can concieve of it we seem to have an uncanny ability to move these mere concepts of our imagination into reality. I see no reason why computers would be any different. I think another important question raised is that we often don't stop to think if the technology that we are developing is actually beneficial in the long term.

    Also a thinking machine without emotions is actually scarier than one with emotions. They would have no quams about "doing something" about overpopulation or similar issues. Or how about the (a)moral quandry of developing emotionless bio-engineered soldiers?

    To be honest I think some of you have missed the point in a certain sense here. I do not think technology should be feared but we should question where we are going with it. I certainly don't want Monsanto screwing around with this stuff.

    Allow me to respond to your points Rorix to further illustrate my meaning,

    1. You say "Computers cannot think." Google thinking computers. Maybe they can't right now but they will. Soon. I also contest that a computer could not deduce the colour of a crow based on your criterea. Perhaps not your everday PC, but I'm sure a Mac could do it. Seriously, though I'm quite sure there is a computer out there that could do it.

    2. I contend that computers will become self aware at some point. I am also of the opinion that we are already slaves to our technology.

    3.Again an emotionless thinking machine would be MORE frightening than one with emotions. Don't forget that while there would be no anger and contempt there would be no compassion as well.

  67. Bryanadams

    Hi All,

    I think one thing our technology cannot surpass is self concious and emotions like love, fear, anger etc. Computer in future will learn new things on its own like child thats not too diffcult, it already happened if you see the documentry 2057 The City of future.


    Raja Subbiah

  68. Hunter.seekerX

    Also I do not think we will 'download' our minds but possibly interact to a certain point via mind/machine/computer interface such that the current paradigm of the mind will expand using the 'virtual' capacity available... that the majority of 'us' will live on even if the body dies.

    What is necessary always when embracing more advanced information technology is to protect two way interaction, to allow dialogue and avoid the broadcast.

    Already the masses submit to the whirl of propaganda information they have no way or time to verify themselves. The bible and Latin priests are good historical examples. New technology will just enhance power of control and speed of conflict.

    Privacy will be a thing of the past, freedom as we know it obsolete, and strength the processing power of the mind.

    ... or not, even so we will see a little clearer yet...

  69. Max

    May be complexity will give rise to thinking.

  70. chocolate starfish

    now i generally agree with rorix.
    computers are designed to follow orders that we type in or click. that's their jobdescription, their purpose.
    they could aquire all the information in the universe and still wouldn't become self-aware.

    the necessary condition to achieve consciousness is the ability to learn. and learning is something completely different than just gathering data and calculating.
    children naturally learn and aquire knowledge by themselves, process it and shortly after becoming able to speak become aware of themselves.
    that's the step we aren't yet able machines and computers to program to, the thing that doesnt come naturally for them: independently gather information that's useful for developing a conscious intellect.

  71. Rorix

    Computers will not surpass the human brain anytime soon. Hyper-intelligent machines are no threat to humanity. Here's why:

    1 - Computers cannot think. A computer can process a lot of information, but it has no understanding. Tell a computer that all crows are black, your pet 'Croaky' is a crow, ask it what colour Croaky is. It will not be able to tell you.

    2 - Computers are not self-aware. The ability to have free will is closely tied to self-awareness. Until a concious computer is created, computers will still be our slaves.

    3 - Computers do not have emotions. The idea that a thinking, self-aware machine would exterminate humans is ridiculous. A computer would be incapable of feeling contemptuos or angry toward anything.